Morning Wattage! A wonderful day to all – here’s to you!
::Current releases streaming now with an eclectic multi decade variety of Jody Watley music tops last week with Spotify being the number steaming source for my music. The following Artist chart is specific to my contemporary output from my independent Avitone label.
Be sure to subscribe as I continue to develop the channel – concert clips, behind the scenes, monthly inspirational vlog, new music videos and specially curated playlists! I really enjoyed this Unplugged concept, so pure. I look plan to bring it to a few other intimate venues in 2020.
I notice this in concert and always encourage people to put phone away and get in the moment. You can’t dance, clap your hands, enjoy the experience and who you came with if your focus is capturing the entire show in your phone. Get a few seconds, snippets and then get in the moment. Don’t miss life by trying to film every second. Just be.
Since winning the Best New Artist Grammy in 1988, I remain a voting member (all artists should be involved), have been a part of the GrammyU program serving on the Recording Academy Board of Governors serving on the Los Angeles Chapter for a few years in early 2000’s. Being a part of the academy from that perspective gave me greater understanding of how the process works. I was nominated and put on the ballot initially by a respected music writer and voted in. Later running for LA Chapter President against MC Lyte – Lyte won the vote and was terrific. This took me back to running for Class President in junior high only with less stress, I didn’t win that either, but it was great for my confidence no matter the outcome and as always – you never know unless you try and put yourself out there. It’s the journey!
Invited to return as a presenter (presented Toni Braxton Best New Artist Award in 1993) was cool as well as being a part of the Grammy Award Nominees Announcements that same year with country music star Clint Black. Awards shows are very different now so it’s nice to reflect for a second on this part of my continued journey as an artist and music peer.
I’ll be joining The Whispers (former label mates from Shalamar days) for Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Soul Fest September 28, 2019. The event is a free community event put on my Guthrie Green to support the arts and a tribute to Waymon Tisdale. More info Here : The Black Wall Street Times
I performed my first full Jody Watley “Unplugged” in the beautiful setting of Blue Note Hawaii. Each show had something slightly different and both audiences loved the show. There was candor, spontaneous humor, heart and soul.
There’s a purity to the Unplugged experience of vocals and the sparse instrumentation that gives a different vibe to the songs – still funky when needed, and emotional connections. In this concept I was able to share back stories and talk a bit more than I do in my more fast paced full show experience. The crowds sang along as I told them “pretend we are all at a campfire just singing songs..” That’s what we did, we also laughed, got reflective in moments and had a wonderful time.
The set list included my tribute to George Michael, my Top 10 Jazz makeover of Bob Marley ‘Waiting In Vain” many familiar Jody Watley classics, a few from my Shalamar days and the 2018 Top 2 UK Soul hit ‘The Mood’ joined by Nate Allen Smith of SRL. The Unplugged musicians were Roland Hamilton on piano and Naz Chambi from the Jody Watley & SRL music collective.
Jody Watley. Photography by Alan Fukushima.
Jody Watley. Photography by Alan Fukushima.
Nate Allen Smith and Jody Watley. Photography by Alan Fukushima.
Roland Hamiton, Naz Chambi – Jody Watley. Unplugged.
Jody Watley will be a guest-of-honor at the posthumous presentation of Jackie Wilson’s Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame scheduled for September 4, 2019, at 11:30 am PDT. The event will be live-streamed exclusively on www.walkoffame.com
How Jody Watley became the Goddaughter of Jackie Wilson
It was divine intervention, literally! Rev. John E. Watley Jr. was the minister of his church in Chicago, ‘Miracle Temple,’ which drew the “in-crowd” and a who’s who from the world of entertainment. Rev. Watley was also a popular gospel music on-air radio personality and programmer on WVON and later in Kansas City, MO on KPRS. Her father called her “Princess Jody” and so did the church members. He had a theatrical and larger-than-life persona that attracted singers like Aretha Franklin, Sam Cook, and Johnny Taylor.
It was at church that the Reverend Watley met Jackie Wilson. Wilson and Watley became self-proclaimed “brothers” so much so that Jody always called the singer “Uncle Jackie.” Reverand Watley and his wife, also a singer in the church who gave up a professional career to raise Jody and her brother, considered Jackie part of the family. He joyously accepted his honor of being named Jody Watley’s Godfather, although Jody always called him “Uncle Jackie.”
The family relocated from Chicago to Durham, NC and it was there one evening, the family went to see Jackie Wilson perform. Rev. Watley knew his daughter was gifted and that she was preordained to become the talent that she is today. “My father passed away way too soon at age 49, but he told me from a young age I would be a star. He called me Princess,” Jody said.
When Jackie asked me to come on stage with him, at around age 8. “It was so exciting. I was dressed in the style of the day – – – a pretty skirt, Go-Go boots, and a chic mod ponytail” Jody recalled. “I think the song we did was “ Baby Work Out” and I remember singing and dancing with Jackie Wilson! I knew how to do the mashed potato and the twist!”
“Even at such a young age, I recognized Uncle Jackie’s charisma. He truly was truly someone special, definitely ‘Mr. Excitement!’ Another remembrance that stays with me is visceral — Jackie smelled so good, he really did smell amazing!”
“Jackie was truly Mr. Excitement in every way. When I was with him, I had that feeling I was in the presence of greatness. He embodied all of the talent and musicality and style that came before him. The star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a wonderful honor for my Godfather Jackie Wilson. I wish he could have gotten the recognition and his due before he died, but I am so glad his story is being revealed.”