Jody Watley. Blue Issey Miyake Plastic Body Mold. Performing on Soul Train 1988. I had red as well as black though I believe I had the red customized to black.
I originally wore the Issey Miyake plastic bodice on my U.K. solo single in 1984. The label didn’t believe in the project or my direction so things never got off the ground—until I returned to USA
In 1984 – London ironically not fitting their image and box of “R&B artist” the UK label wanted me to just be the girl from Shalamar and to do something similar .. I had other plans. “You have to have a vision and believe in it. It paid off for me ultimately” – Jody Watley
I was tagged in a post with the very fashion forward Zendaya rocking a Tom Ford plastic bodice this week. Gorgeous.
Full page ad Billboard Magazine, 1987 for my subsequent crossover smash debut hit – first Number 1 – AMA’s, Soul Train Awards, NAACP and Grammy nominated solo debut single “Looking For A New Love.”
The single was was of the biggest of the 1987 and the 80’s in general – a pop culture phenomenon, trendsetting style – as well with the catchphrase “Hasta La Vista Ba-by” later further popularized by Arnold Schwarznegger.
Written by Jody Watley and Andre Cymone. Produced by Andre Cymone and David Z. Photography: Victoria Pearson, Art Direction: Jody Watley & Lynn Robb. Styling: Jody Watley.
The single set the stage for one hell of a solo debut album ‘Jody Watley’ to follow. Despite my naysayers saying I’d regret leaving Shalamar, I’d fail, future in doubt as some of the black magazines wrote I succeeded then and continue to do so over 3 decades later and still on my own terms – most of all I’m happy, healthy, working and enjoying myself with my spirit and soul intact. It was never about being solo – it was to live life with joy, the greatest success. Having this all roll out this way was a gift from God and the universe – a bonus for looking after my own well being on my life’s journey. There’s so much more to say about this time, it will be in my memoir. Until then..
Thankful and full of gratitude a song of this magnitude is a part of my discography. As a note: “Looking For A New Love” also made a bit of history with the 2005 Remixes going to Number 1 on the Billboard Dance Club Play Charts, one of the first hits to become a hit again in an entirely different decade. Thanks so all the 80’s and Classics stations that keep it in rotation and shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race, Pose and beyond for the exposure to a younger generation.
What I’ve said for decades now is I hope my career and being represents to others is believe in yourself and to never be afraid to remove yourself from any situation that on the outside might look good to others – but to you it’s everything but that. You will always have doubters – just never let it be you and always be the best version of yourself – keep growing and going no matter the obstacles, often the universe will align in one way or another.
Happy 33 Anniversary — ‘Looking For A New Love”!! Timeless jam and still a damn good break up and empowerment anthem.
Stig Edgren Presents: The Colors of Christmas Tour 2019 was a whirlwind California trio of concerts with Peabo Bryson a staple and feature of the tour since it’s beginning 27 years ago, along the way the shows at one time also included Philharmonic Orchestra’s in each city and small choirs.
Peabo was joined by Oleta Adams, BeBe Winans stepping in last minute for an ailing Ben Vereen and myself. The three of us have also done the tour before – this being my third time, the first over a decade ago. The collaborative nature of the tour makes it once of the most unique concert experiences one could experience backed by a full band and additional backing vocalists.
James Ingram, an alumni of the show and close friend of Peabo as well as music director Herman Jackson, received a poignant and emotional musical medley tribute. The first night, Herman became so overwhelmed he had to leave for a minute to regain composure.
The 3 days of concerts (Palm Desert, Cerritos and San Diego) was a whirlwind and we all lamented on what a great time was had by all..one of the highlights was Oleta and I crashing BeBe’s ending of “I’ll Take You There” for a rousing reprise of the song – we were on side of the stage lost track of the set and thought our duet was next and rather than waiting for the regular timing – let’s just go now! To our surprise Peabo was on the other side of stage — saw us go out and start singing and so he joined. The audience loved the spontaneous moment as BeBe laughed and went with it. He and Oleta had a hilarious exchange at the end..she and I realized we’d come out too soon and BeBe still had his “My Christmas Prayer” to do. Impromptu moments are always special and memorable. On “Beauty & The Beast” only one show had children to join us. Parents don’t seem to bring the little ones out the way they used to.
Thanks so all who came out to see us and as always for supporting live music – there’s nothing like it.
One of the rehearsal days – filmed this with the awesome Oleta Adams.
Palm Desert. Jody Watley Season’s Greetings.
View from my suite. Palm Desert.
The beautiful McCallum Theatre, Palm Desert – first stop on the 3 day tour.
Dressing Room Door.
Green room McCallum Theatre.
Bebe Winans and I hit it off right away – and it surprised me. He was so nice and down to earth.. I should know better from my own experience of how some view me before meeting me — ‘preconceived notions.’ Because BeBe was a last minute replacement for Ben Vereen, we only had soundcheck to run through our duet for “My Favorite Things” – we had a blast singing and performing together. Photo: Soundcheck McCallum Theatre Dec. 13, 2019
Ready to begin show with Peabo Bryson final night in San Diego. Peabo was in the stairwell warming up his vocals, I told him we have to get a photo! I warmed up in dressing room – still doing what I was taught by the great Seth Riggs.
Everyone has pre-show rituals – we finally got a partial group shot before the final show at the historic Balboa Theatre in San Diego. Jody Watley, BeBe Winans, Oleta Adams.
Snow Princess Wattage. Life is a gift and a present each day – cherish it.
Sparkle and Shine!
Gown by I Luv Stevie – Chicago’s Stevie Edwards.
Rear View. Watch me walk out!
Final night was historic Balboa Theatre -San Diego, CA. It’s lovely and well maintained throughout.
This Instagram post meant so much from BeBe and a nice surprise.
4th look for ensemble finale – Joy To The World (Reprise).
Jody Watley. Peabo Bryson. Oleta Adams. BeBe Winans. ‘Joy To The World”
After show. Jody Watley Christmas T-shirt.
Thanks to Stig Edgren, musicians, backing vocalists – and all who came out to support us!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Blessings to All for 2020!
This was a big deal for me at the time in another of firsts.. my former group Shalamar had never been featured in a magazine like this. Everything about my solo debut is significant because no one predicted it or expected it.
Looking back, I see a determined, authentic and self-assured young woman no matter those who were against me and expected my demise…I’ve always believed in myself and tenacious about living my own life and being happy as much as I can.
Trendsetting style and attitude, letting black girls know we could be eclectic, ‘weird’, offbeat..whatever box you want to check off too.
Sharing this from the fan page jodywatleystyle on Instagram – Jody Watley; 1993 Us Weekly. Photography Jon Ragel. Make-up by Collier Strong. Styling Jeannine Braden and Jody Watley. Hair by Jody Watley.
‘Soul Survivor’ interview feature talking about my ‘Affairs of The Heart’ –when magazines were interested in what you had to say about your music, writers cared enough to do their homework.. and focus was not celebrity gossip or how many social media followers you had.
I believe this is 1980 for RightOn! Magazine, a feature on my style – in this case hair. This is around the time of Shalamar ‘Three For Love’ album. The style came about because of not wanting to braid to the ends because the unbraiding would be more time consuming. It was unique at the time.
Very proud of the resilience I continue to have, the woman and artist I grew to be – still trying to be the best ME I can be no matter what. I’m full of gratitude, healthy and happy fast forwarding decades later living life and going beyond what I ever dreamed initially to create new ones.
Always choose to believe in yourself and keep growing – never get stagnant or lose faith.