Jody Watley, Harper’s Bazaar 10 Most Beautiful Issue (Women from 21 to 48 Talk About Their Looks and Lives), September 1989
I was in great company as the ‘The Top 10’ list also featured Academy Award winning actress Jodie Foster on the cover, other inclusions were Faye Dunaway, Whitney Houston, Susan Sarandon, Kelly LeBrock, Julia Roberts, Melanie Griffith, and Anjelica Houston.
Clothing – Rifat Ozbek
Photography Matthew Rolston
For me – though having a strong visual presentation and identity as an artist is important – your looks never define who you are as a person nor have anything to do with substance, character, talent, tenacity and perseverance. One must have something going on beyond what’s on the outside. Over the decades I’ve found in some ways with women physical appearance when others consider you ‘beautiful’ can work against you too, you almost have to work double to be taken seriously not to mention those that may resent what they see and some to their own personal biases, misperceptions and so on – it’s a double edged sword. That said, looking back it’s special to have broken through some of the barriers that often exist for black women and artists in the lexicon of beauty and fashion opening the door a bit wider for others that have followed. This was my second of 3 features in Harper’s Bazaar.
No matter what – don’t forget to be awesome not matter what you look like!
Happy 30th Anniversary “AFFAIRS OF THE HEART” released on this day 12.3. 1991 featuring the hit singles “ I Want You”, “I’m The One You Need”, and the inspirational “It All Begins With You”
“..the new album celebrates love, togetherness, commitment and communication.” – Jody Watley
“Affairs Of The Heart” was released at a difficult time in my personal life and marriage as it began to unravel in addition to MCA being sold and morphing into Universal Music Group and a new regime at the top. It was very meaningful album in my catalog as artist and songwriter, not for everyone especially those who wanted the formula and vibe of my first two albums. Ever fearless, always thoughtful about my music, art and evolution – always me.
The reception was disappointing overall in many ways though 2 of the singles did well-not blockbusters but respectable. That said I don’t regret my creative choice and to this day don’t like the notion of being predictable, stagnant. Each album from my debut through today with my most recent reflect where I am and how I feel as opposed to what will sell the most – that is not really what being an artist is about, to me.
I’ was pregnant with my wonderful son Arie and definitely had a more pared down style. Writing songs and conceptualizing for what would become 1993’s “Intimacy” album as my marriage was unraveling and my label had changed ownership – again. “Affairs of The Heart’ was also still being promoted by Universal Music Group Japan.
The A&R and promotions staff had also changed. They didn’t really love my creative direction musically however what has always been important to me is not get stuck in a box if formula and sameness -so to say I was introspective is an understatement.
Being a black girl from Chicago and seeing myself featured on Japanese magazines, British magazines and so on is something that has always been special. Rather than let these benchmarks collect dust in a garage or storage unit – I’m bringing some of them into the digital realm because it’s a part of the Jody Watley history and story that preceded the internet and social media.
I’ll have to locate the full article and feature and not just cover as well as the first time I was on the cover in 1988 for my solo debut.
I’m proud to be a part of such a monumental and important project and moment in history- there were few artists at the time willing to speak on the subject of HIV & AIDS.. even fewer was black artists. My label didn’t want me to do it because they thought my participation would give the impression that I was either gay and or had the virus. Some things are worth fighting to be a part of and for me this was one and creatively I got to do jazz!
Probably my first acoustic performance on television. This TV appearance and performance occurred while on Broadway doing the hit musical Grease! and to coincide with my Greatest Hits album. Wonderful interview. Rest In Peace Regis Philbin.
I brought leopard fabric for my dressing room couch.
Wig and microphone placement time!
Joseph Barbara as Danny Zuko – quick photo before heading to stage for Prom Sequence.
With the incredible Ty Taylor who went on the become badass soulful rocker and lead singer for internationally renowned band Vintage Trouble.
Jody Watley “Making the cover of Drama-Logue was really cool!”
One of the most challenging, rewarding, fun and exhilarating experiences thus far in a variety of memorable experiences I’ve been blessed to be a part of. This show, cast and crew made it so much fun and got me through any anxiety and insecurities I had taking on the iconic role of Betty ‘Rizzo’ – and the first black woman or woman of color to play her. The toughest part was being away from my daughter and son at the time who were both school age causing me to exit the play after 3 months, both Arie and Lauren were brought out to see me and spend break time and once they returned home, it was just too hard for me to be without them. I’ve always felt bad as if I let everyone who believed in me down especially ..but my children have always come first. Since that time I did audition for a few other shows including Aida and The Color Purple (Shug Avery).
Trying to learn the hand jive and prom dance sequence almost caused me to drop out of Grease! ..I’ve never been good at learning choreography. Rewinding back I can still recall weeping in a dance rehearsal at the thought of not being able to do the role after working with acting coach and working so hard to nail the dialogue and nuance of Betty Rizzo. The choreographer and director never gave up on me. On opening night once I made it through that scene – I was good to go. Ask me to do hand jive or any of the choreography now..it’s a blank but when it was time, totally living in that moment. Life.
The role of ‘Teen Angel” while I was in the show initially was Chubby Checker (I first met him as a teen Soul Train dancer on the Jerry Lewis Tele-thon when they wanted to place dancers behind him for the show -funny story I’ll save for my memoir but one of those – you never know how your paths can cross with people down the line, so be kind. I never mentioned to him that we’d crossed paths way back when..) and then jazz great Al Jarreau who was the first person to tell me about zinc lozenges when I thought I might be coming down with a bit of a cold and hoarseness. Blessings.
Al Jarreau, Lacy Hornkul (Sandy), Jody Watley, Chubby Checker
Jody Watley. Interview Magazine. “Affairs of The Heart” 1991.
Via RnB Soul Effect TV Twitter / Instagram / Facebook: December 3rd 1991 3rd album “Affairs Of The Heart” was released.
“I Want You” is the first single from Jody Watley’s third album Affairs of the Heart. The official music video, directed by Andy Morahan, was featured on an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210.
Producer – André Cymone
Songwriters – Jody Watley & André Cymone
Billboard Hot R&B Singles #5
Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play #17
“I’m the One You Need” is the second single from Jody Watley’s third album, Affairs of the Heart.
Produced by house music pioneer, David Morales, “I’m the One You Need” constitutes Watley’s initial foray into house music (though its “Affairs of the Heart” predecessor, “I Want You”, boasted a house version). “I’m the One You Need” was Watley’s seventh Top 20 pop single in the US, and sixth Top five dance single, charting at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #6 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts, respectively.
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 #19
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Singles #23
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play #3
Producer – David Morales
Songwriters – Jody Watley, David Morales & Alec Shantzis
*Morales went on to have great commercial success with Mariah Carey.
“It All Begins With You” was the final single from Jody Watley’s third album, Affairs of the Heart. Reaching number eighty on the U.S. R&B chart.
** The single was a ‘commercial disappointment’ chart wise – however it was a success for me because I recorded it to honor my father, a minister in the Church of God and Christ and gospel on air personality – my first and biggest supporter when I was a little girl – he put it into the universe for me when he said his Princess Jody was going to be a star.
South Africa (RISA) #2
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks #48
Producer – Jody Watley
Songwriters – George Lyter, Michael OHara, Denise Rich
Executive producer: Jody Watley
On a personal note..to listen to this album in full really brought tears to my eyes, proud that I was an remain true to myself no matter what – proud of the quality and growth. Yes, a big departure from my first two albums.
Despite marriage issues and record label woes of the time – I put together a very thoughtful and soulful record. It wasn’t what the masses wanted, or even my label as it was constructed by that point – but it was the record in my heart to write, conceptualize and record as an artist not a Hot 100 pop star doing predictable songs to feed the machine. The title song really says it all about who I am as an artist and a person who loves music. “..songs of love, songs of joy, songs of hope, songs of foreverness, songs of togetherness..”
Revisit this album if you missed it the first time around the maturity may not have vibed well with high school at the time – but now that you’ve done some living it just might.
Over the years it’s been interesting to see some artists get heralded for personal statement albums, being so ‘real’, growing, being fearless and so on… when the albums become blockbusters it’s all ‘bold and brave’ — well “Affairs of The Heart” was bold and brave though not a commercial blockbuster ..really no different in a way from quitting Shalamar when I did – never one for predictable choices.
“It’s all about the way you feel in your heart.” – Jody Watley