My trip to Washington D.C. had a few twists and turns, but ended in a tremendously well received standing room only crowd at The Howard Theatre. The concert was a perfect way to put the cap on my limited engagement summer series of concerts which included The Essence Festival in New Orleans.
With an appearance on Washington D.C.’s Fox 5 Morning Television (almost ruined by a driver that didn’t show up causing me to be late and miss my first time slot – and a last minute save by another company and driver – Uber!), all was well in the end; but I don’t like to be late and felt bad though it was out our control. In those times, we have to just roll with it, make adjustments; the ole’ keep calm and carry on mantra!
Though I had many problems with my feature in The Washington Post; among them -being referred to as ’80’s starlet’ ‘”Starlet?” I found it a bit demeaning. My continued artistic progression as an artist, songwriter and producer is consistent. I’ve remained on the charts whenever I’ve released music, though I moved away from Pop/R&B crossover a long time ago. I’m not looking for a new groove, rather continuing to make fresh grooves after decades in this business. Having had success in each decade with high charting singles is something I’m very proud of. It isn’t easy for artists to have hits, one, two, (or any for that matter) in any era. To make an initial major impact on my first two albums as a trendsetting pioneer in many aspects and then to continue on spanning decades in various genres and primarily in dance music should be notable not disposable or completely ignored. References to my looking for a ‘comeback’ didn’t come from my mouth – I despise that term, especially since it’s not fitting for me. While we’re at it, I also don’t like the term “old school”, though thankfully not included in the article. Classic, just like they refer to rock and roll – black music and artists should be given the same respect over time not relegated to some throwback nostalgia tag; unless it’s what is requested or marketed purposefully.
I’ve never left music, even with raising my children and taking time to live my life. I’m not looking for a comeback in today’s pop music climate. My next single ‘NIGHTLIFE’ is simply another step in my musical journey and evolution as a working artist. Neither am I looking for a new groove beyond a continued progression and a desire to write and release quality music while I’m still making it. The overall tone of the article was very marginalizing and reminded me why I don’t like doing interviews. A lack of homework on really knowing the subject beforehand goes a long way. I’ve learned most come with an already formed preconceived notion. Many of my fans felt the same way and posted as such under the link to the article on my Facebook page and felt that props nor respect weren’t given – rather lumping me in general terms of ‘the 80’s’ when I’m so not that – not stuck there and have continued to have success. The writer also insinuated my embrace of social media was confirmation that I was looking for a ‘comeback’, when in fact I’m just like any other savvy artist young or legacy music artist who embraces the times and appreciates the forum to connect and build the Jody Watley fan community. It’s my observation that when writing about rock stars no matter when they started or how old they are now, more reverence is given. It’s like someone taking your resume, not reading it and assuming who you are or labeling you something that you doesn’t represent what you’re about. Ironically, I read a post from author Paulo Coelho titled “Why I’m not giving that many interviews.” Paulo chooses to use his presence on social media to promote his work and tell his story.
OK, that off my chest – I’m not mad at the full page, that was earned in a solo career at 30 years now. We must always take every experience and learn from it. There’s a lesson in everything even if we can’t see it at the time. Seeing and reading the article online was one thing – however it was another deal to see it and be reminded of the traditional newspaper weekend edition – can’t be too grouchy about that. I just wish the young writer had really written a piece that brought people up to speed while considering the need to condense information reflecting some semblance of who I am as a a progressive artist and writer continuing to do things on her own terms -given the high profile nature of the piece – even if conveyed in a sentence or two.
No matter what – I’m grateful to still be here at a high level, doing what I love for my corner of the universe with a healthy mind, body and spirit – bringing joy to the people who support me through my artistry, growth and evolution.