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Jody Watley, singer/songwriter/producer/businesswoman, is one of the architects of 21st century pop. From her groundbreaking marriage of rap & R&B (1987’s “Friends,” a collaboration with hip-hop legends Eric B. & Rakim) to her vision-forward marriage of high fashion, street fashion and music in the ‘80s (long before it became the norm), to her fusion of jazz and underground club culture with keen pop instincts, and the ease with which she crossed and still crosses genre, Ms. Watley forged the template that is now everybody’s playbook. Winner of the Best New Artist Grammy in 1987, Jody Watley’s entire career has been about looking forward, drawing inspiration from personal heroes like Grace Jones, David Bowie, Diana Ross and jazz great Nancy Wilson – iconoclasts who were always ten steps ahead of the pack. The Chicago native’s eclectic repertoire – R&B, hip-hop, House, jazz, pop, drum & bass, ambient, spoken-word – is built on a positive vision and a strong taste for artistic and aesthetic risk. Her self-titled 1987 solo debut – a showcase for her vocal chops and songwriting skills – was a beats & grooves tribute to her club kid roots, from the underground spots she frequented as a teenager to her stardom (while still a teen) as one of the most popular dancers in the history of iconic TV show “Soul Train.” It yielded the chart topping hits “Looking for a New Love” (which launched the Jody-penned phrase “Hasta la vista” into popular vernacular, becoming so huge that Arnold Schwarzenegger jacked it for his signature line in the movie The Terminator), “Don’t You Want Me,” “Most of All,” “Some Kind of Lover” and “Still a Thrill,” whose video was the first (and as yet unmatched) time a pop star flexed their skills at waaking, the underground Los Angeles dance that is a sibling to both breakdancing and voguing. 1989’s Larger Than Life, her blockbuster sophomore album, yielded the hits “Real Love” (whose influential music video – nominated for seven MTV Video Music Awards – was her second collaboration with acclaimed film director David Fincher, the first being her sleek video for “Most of All”), “Friends,” and the sultry ballad “Everything.” They were all huge hits. Like many artists who top the charts, Ms. Watley soon found herself stymied by the limited vision of her label, who wanted to shoehorn her into formula. The albums Affairs of the Heart (1991) and Intimacy (1993) displayed her deepening songwriting skills and singing prowess, as well as her assured experimentation with layered musical textures, but label support was missing in action. The powerful, beat-driven spoken-word track “When a Man Loves a Woman” from Affairs sparked controversy for addressing AIDS and domestic violence long before they were topics of national conversation, and her skittish label turned its back on the track and album. Though Ms. Watley’s artistry continued to deepen and grow, she was hamstrung by her label’s lack of support and their adherence to the same narrow definitions of success that saw her leave iconic R&B group Shalamar at the height of its popularity in 1983. Her own definition of success centered then and now on artistic growth and freedom, not simply replicating whatever was or is hot at the moment. After breaking from the majors and starting her own label Avitone Recordings in 1995, Ms. Watley began collaborating with a Who’s Who of visionary producers and remixers, many of whom were longtime fans and jumped at the chance to work with her: 4 Hero, King Britt, Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez & Little Louie Vega, Mark de Clive Lowe, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Ron Trent, Moto Blanco, and Alex Di Ciò. Thanks to her non-stop touring, her global fan base remains as fervent as ever and they’ve made chart and club hits of Ms. Watley’s indie albums – Affection (1995), Flower (1998), The Saturday Night Experience (1999), Midnight Lounge (2001), and The Makeover (2006) – and her 2014 EP Paradise. For the past five years, the ever multi-tasking Ms. Watley has focused on both her thriving solo career and the group project “Jody Watley featuring SRL.” Much like Prince had The Revolution, NPG, and Third Eye Girl (among many other projects and aliases) as extensions or branches of his music and creativity, Jody Watley feat. SRL allows Ms. Watley another outlet for her artistic expression. SRL members Rosero McCoy and Nate Allen Smith – gifted singers, dancers, and choreographers in their own right – bring their own cool style and vibe to Ms. Watley’s trademark high-energy, all-love live performances, and the trio’s critically acclaimed concerts draw SRO crowds around the world. With musical influences that include Kaytranada, Anderson Paak, and Little Dragon, they’ve released several chart-topping hit singles in Europe, including the Alex Di Ciò remix of “The Mood.” Their forthcoming album will be a seamless mix of dance grooves, funky beats, deep House, R&B, trap, rock, and ambient ballads accented with guitar flourishes. Also in the works is Jody Watley: The Jazzy Sessions, a longtime dream project finally come to fruition. Fans were given a taste of what to expect from that forthcoming EP on the bossa nova tinged cover of Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain,” which shot to the top of the jazz charts within weeks of its release. A lilting, gorgeously melancholy take on the classic tune, the track simmers with tension between the longing of the lyrics and the lush, languid music and arrangement. Though some newer fans were pleasantly surprised that Ms. Watley pulled off a jazz tune, longtime fans saw it as simply the artistic thread being pulled forward from Ms. Watley’s show-stopping cover of Cole Porter’s classic song “After You,” from the landmark AIDS benefit recording project Red Hot & Blue, released in1990. What links “Waiting” to the rest of Ms. Watley’s far-ranging and impossible to pigeonhole catalogue (which has seen her hit the charts in every decade of her career, from 1977’s Uptown Festival album with Shalamar to 2018’s “Waiting in Vain” single) is the sincerity and honesty from which it springs. “Everything I’ve ever done has been to be distinctively Jody Watley,” says the pop icon herself, “from my first solo album through right now. Everything that I will ever do always has to be authentic to me, work that I can always be proud of first and foremost. It’s not so much about, ‘Oh, this is going to be popular,’ or ‘Oh, this is going to be a big hit.’ It’s always been so personal to me, everything that I do. And the fans can feel that. They connect with the honesty.”

Jody Watley Invites You To Get Into The Holiday Spirit

You can download, stream it, playlist it on your Spotify page if you subscribe -a perfect low key groove to get into the spirit or simply unwind at the end of the evening during the holiday season with a glass or cup of your favorite beverage.

Jody Watley On Anniversary of The Historic Band Aid Single “Do They Know It’s Christmas”

Banarama, Jody Watley, Francis Rossi (Staus Quo)

The Historic Band Aid Single “Do They Know It’s Christmas.”

November 25,1984

While living in London after departing from Shalamar in July of 1983 – planning what was next, I was fortunate to be asked to be a part of this monumental recording session and single. I received a call from Mariella Frostrup, who was the publicist for Phonogram Records U.K. at the time. Phongram was keen to sign me to a solo deal. Mariella didn’t give a lot of details about the session, just that I really needed to be there at request of Sir Bob Geldof as well who was organizing a recording session.

None of us really knew the magnitude of what it would be, we all turned up casually – some of the artists would joke they were coming from the pub or clubbing the night before.. it was all very low key when invited. One of the things that makes it so organic looking is no one was really done up for the cameras so to speak.

The result was “Do The Know It’s Christmas” the name of the group – Band Aid. Four days later it was released in the UK along with a powerful documentary and it has been played during the holiday season since. “Do They Know It’s Christmas” remains one of the biggest singles of all time in the U.K. and mega seller worldwide.

It’s an experience none of us involved will ever forget and a song that made a huge difference, setting the bar for other charity singles to follow.

I’ve said through the years, meeting George Michael and asking if he’d do a duet with me – which he did when I returned to America and signed with MCA Records recording my proper solo debut and looking back on it, it’s also notable I am the only black female artist and only 1 of 4 women in total. Some artists declined including other female from what I was told back then. To be a part of a historic single as the first thing I did after leaving and post Shalamar is such a gift.

The single went straight to Number 1, was front page news and has raised millions of dollars for famine relief and remains a milestone Christmas single despite a regrettable lyric (tonight thank God it’s them instead of you) created in the moment by the writers of the song as they have later acknowledged – the intent of the song is so very positive. Feed The World – Let Them Know It’s Christmas Time Again. That message and sentiment will always remain, help those in need.

Many of us performed the song on Top Of The Pops as well you can find it on Youtube along with original video.

Centerfold

Jody Watley Delivers Charming Christmas Animation For New Single

Grammy Award winning hit making solo artist and Style Icon referred to affectionally by fans as “The Queen of Cool” – has delivered another stunning makeover of a classic “Christmas Time Is Here” from Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” This ambient rendition will sooth your soul. Equal parts vocals and instrumental produced by Jody Watley and longtime collaborator Rodney Lee for Watley’s longtime indie imprint Avitone Recordings.

Watch this charming visual animated short by Shawn West.

Jody Watley. Joy, Gratitude and Simple Things In Life

Often the simplest things in life bring the most joy – sunflowers always make me smile and so keeping them in the house is always a boost on days when my mood may be a bit blue.

Often rather than lamenting on what we may be missing or lacking or what we are wanting -instead try shifting focus to what we do have. Doing so is a reminder to be mindful of living with gratitude. Every day may not be good – but there is good in every day as long as we are alive. We see daily how fragile and unpredictable life can be, so now more than ever be mindful to not take things for granted, to let your loved ones know they are appreciated – it’s a simple gesture with powerful meaning.

This is a gentle reminder because though the holidays can be full of joy – it’s also a time of sadness for a variety of reasons to many.

Be kind to yourself and others as often as you can, remembering it’s the simple things in life that bring the greatest joy. The world needs more kindness and love – it all begins from within and filters out.

Thank you all for subscribing to my blog and keeping up to date with me year-round. I appreciate you – you are all like a sunflower to me.

Be a light. Wattage!

A Special Message From Jody Watley

A new massage from The Queen Of Cool Ms. Jody Watley. Watch it now – make sure to Subscribe!

Jody Watley NEW Christmas Song Out Now


Jody Watley “Christmas Time Is Here” – nAvailable at all music streaming platforms ready to be added to your holiday playlists!

Jody Watley Soothes The Soul With New Holiday Single

Grammy Award winning musical superstar Jody Watley releases new holiday song, “Christmas Time Is Here.”

She is spreading some festive cheer with the release of a jazzy rendition of the quintessential holiday song “Christmas Time Is Here” from her favorite, Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” produced by Jody Watley and Rodney Lee now available on all streaming platforms. Download it, stream, share and add as a essential for the holiday playlists.

“This is an ambient and chill rendition perfect for warm cocoa, a laid-back atmosphere and a fireplace real or virtual” says Watley of the release due on her longtime independent imprint Avitone Recordings. “I hope this is a rendition people will enjoy for decades to come. With so much chaos in the world, hopefully my rendition of ‘Christmas Time Is Here’ will sooth some souls.”

A brilliant songwriter, artist, entrepreneur, producer, and visionary has continued recording new music sharing her gift of artistry globally. 

The beautiful icon in music, video, fashion and style, often referred to by her fans as “The Queen of Cool,” is as prolific as anyone who’s ever set foot in a recording studio, and as proficient as anyone who’s ever decided to be a song lyricist. She is not only a great singer—she is a great songwriter, and great performer.

As one of the architects of 21st century pop and contemporary street style mixed with high fashion, her 1989 hit “Friends,” featuring hip hop/rap legends Eric B & Rakim, is the first pairing of pop/R&B/rap/dance to crossover into the Billboard Top 10 on multiple charts.

Watley’s vision — the trendsetting, forward thinking marriage of high fashion and street fashion with music in the 80s — long before it became the norm — along with her fusion of jazz and underground club culture — demonstrates her keen pop instincts and an ease with which she crossed, and still crosses, genres. Jody Watley forged the template that is now in everybody’s playbook.

Visit Jody Watley YouTube Channel to experience All Things Jody Watley, including concert features, interviews of the Grammy Award-winning artist and more.  

Jody Watley Brings Holiday Magic To The Season

Jody Watley is getting in the holiday spirit! The Grammy winning music global superstar is spreading some festive cheer with upcoming release of the joyful and jazzy rendition of classic holiday song “Christmas Time Is Here” from her favorite, Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” on November 17 and 18 2022 (depending on your digital platform).

“This is an ambient and chill rendition perfect for warm cocoa, a laid-back atmosphere and a fireplace real or virtual” says Watley of the release due on her longtime independent imprint Avitone Recordings. Download, stream, playlist, share!

Jody Watley Is Getting In The Holiday Spirit

Are you ready? Jody Watley is getting in the holiday spirit :: Read full feature on

Los Angeles Sentinel

Soultracks. Jody Watley Returns With New Music For The Holidays.

Jody Watley puts a joyful spin on classic Christmas tune! The Grammy winning music global superstar is spreading some festive cheer with upcoming release of the jazzy rendition of quintessential holiday song “Christmas Time Is Here” from her favorite, Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on November 17, 2022. Read more on Soultracks