Jody Watley 1988 in May’s issue of Harper’s Bazaar photographed by Francesco Scavullo wearing Angel Estrada, hair by Jeff Woodley, make up by John Evans.
I’ve told the story before, but here it is again in a quick snapshot. When my publicist notified that Harper’s Bazaar wanted to feature me in the magazine with photo session in New York by the legendary fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo who has lensed some iconic images over the decades. They had no idea who he was or the additional significance.
this wasn’t a common occurrence in the music business at that time. My label did not agree to fly me to New York for this major opportunity asking me what did being in a fashion magazine have to do with selling records – forget the major exposure, the broadening of the audience, establishing me beyond music as a budding fashion icon and brand or however one wishes to look at things. I didn’t want to miss out and so I paid for my own flights and hotel to do this. Always invest in yourself if you have the means to do so.
Eventually of course major labels embraced the concept and additional prestigious PR and it became commonplace -and of course went even further with black superstar women in music like Rihanna, Beyonce, and more (Ciara, Alicia Keys) gracing the cover of high fashion magazines.
My solo debut was so monumental in a variety of ways beyond the Grammy nominations, winning Best New Artist, the hit singles and more. Always believe in yourself.
Via Steven Houseman Music Chart Facts: November 13, 1993 – 26 Years Ago Today: Jody Watley debuted at No. 100 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart with her single, “Your Love Keeps Working On Me.” This was the R&B singer’s 12th consecutive solo chart entry and despite not budging from the No. 100 spot for 2 weeks on the chart, it did climb all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart becoming her 10th solo Top 20 and 9th Top Ten Dance hit as well as her 6th Top 3. The song was written by John Barnes, Joey Diggs and Robert White.
This single from “Intimacy” continued to add more soulful rhythms and a touch of jazz into the mix. Decidedly less pop on purpose – still top notch, though my label was disappointed at the lack of crossover despite it not being that vein. To their credit, they always for the most part let me be know..with a compromise on my part here and there.
Showing a bit more skin was the label’s idea..that’s a wider ranging topic for my book covering being a woman in music and those unique dynamics.
One of my favorite television performances was “Your Love Keeps Working On Me” on The Arsenio Hall Show. Slayed it, pixie cut, bohemian, unexpected…folks weren’t ready as usual.
One of my favorite lyrics in the song is “Through you I have learned how to fly..” performing it in concert to this day my spirit gets real connected to the audience because that’s the feeling I get from the support of those supporting what I do.
Tickets on sale now for the holiday show of the season- The Colors Of Christmas. This is a classy evening of Christmas music with a few hits sprinkled in and the only time you get to see these types of onstage duets and choral performances.
One of the positive things that occurs on social media is when someone points to a release that isn’t the obvious. Such was the case today with a reminder and celebration from someone on Instagram that today my soulful and introspective “Intimacy” was released.
Very slept on – but a quality project I remain proud of. When you are an artist and songwriter not wanting to be trapped in the “Pop-star” box and machine – you have to be unafraid to grow and take what others will see as creative risks as personal and artistic growth. Very organic, bohemian .. I was even burning incense onstage, really setting the mood beyond the record. Both “Affairs of The Heart” and “Intimacy” were and are decidedly more R&B though I have never been completely embraced by that audience or part of the industry ..
Each endeavor from my solo debut through recent works always comes with a strong vision and passion of what I want to do and how I feel at the time. Goals change as I change – that’s an artist.
It’s a choice- be authentic, be bold and be happy with your choices or stay stuck in what others want you to do and be. I’ll always be about that authentic true to myself life.
If you missed it – it’s available to open your ears as it’s another that has gotten better with time.
“Working On A Groove” starts it off a very summer feel good song before the some of the stories unfold through the songs. Two R&B hits “Your Love Keeps Working On Me” the spoken word “When A Man Loves A Woman” the psychedelic funk rock “Are You The One” my makeover of “Too Shy To Say” and the house vibes of “Ecstasy” – and several ballads.. I wrote and recorded this as my marriage was unraveling, my heart was broken, it wasn’t what my record label or pop fans wanted — while asking myself so many questions-my art reflected my life at that time.
More mature, less sass and party but all heart and soul.
You’ll be surprised how rejuvenating stretching can be..at home, working out, sitting at a desk, behind a counter..whatever your job may be you can do it anywhere..good for you and a good way to begin or end a day .. or as a break midway through. Practice wellness each day.
A bit of my Tribute to George Michael from my first Jody Watley: Unplugged concert experience (accompanied by Roland Hamilton on piano and Naz Chambi on guitar.. Before I went into the song, I talked about why I selected this song from his catalog, how we met (Band Aid ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas), our duet on my solo debut and more. I really enjoyed this experience and thinking about what venue we should pitch it to for the next one.
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.
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