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
Great way to close out an eclectic summer concert series of shows – tonight it’s the first Jody Watley: “Unplugged” in the beautiful Blue Note Hawaii.
Via Gail Parenteau PR and Brunswick Records:
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.”
It was an cool to be a part of the “People Magazine 50 Most Beautiful Summer 1990” issue needless to say (actress Michelle Pfeiffer was on the cover). I believe true beauty radiates from the inside out and honestly having smarts is higher on my list though being in the entertainment industry there is a level of superficial so I get it. In my interviews it’s always been key to get that across, not just being a ‘pretty face.’ The feature makes mention of my godfather music legend Jackie Wilson who will finally be honored with a Star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood September 4, 2019.
In this opportunity it’s noted that I was ok with my crooked bottom teeth..they are still crooked though I could easily have them straightened. Perhaps I will before all is said and done but they don’t bother me and are a part of being distinctly me. Imperfections are a part of who we are, it’s also what I replied recently to someone trolling me on Facebook who mocked me for my bottom teeth ‘you have enough money – why don’t you get your teeth fixed, people are talking about you behind your back..” Sure, we are all works in progress and if definitely fix or work on what needs improvement if it makes you feel better about yourself – go for it but don’t let society or certain standards make you feel less than or inferior in any way. You decide – I decide.
Going with short hair was also a statement in itself and somewhat rebellious in it’s own way..it’s not about my hair but my artistry and quest to always be what and who I want to be at any given time – not who and what other’s want to define or box me into. The short hair was not received well at the time with fans, or my record label. As an artist and a human being most of all, it’s often challenging to hold on and fight to be who you are and want to be while others may only see you one way and try to keep you marginalized to their vision.
This was also around the time I was photographed by legendary Herb Ritts for the GAP groundbreaking ‘celebrity’ ad campaign ‘Individuals Of Style’ – loved this session. Herb Ritts was so kind and easy going. Any intimidation I may have felt going into the session melted away as soon as I met him. We shot in natural light on the rooftop of his Hollywood studio, I wore my own denim jeans and Doc Martens, customizing the white GAP t-shirt to suit me, just a simple snipping off of the sleeves. Peter Savic, another legend in the fashion and celebrity hairstylist..actually he’s a master of hair, an artist not just a stylist worked with Herb Ritts often but it was a first for us. Wanting to do something fresh, modern and bold but not sure what – Peter suggested short and so we agreed on the pixie cut and he knocked it out of the park! An image from this session was also used for my “Precious Love” single…as well it was around this time I was nearly booed off the stage and received heavy backlash after by my only performance on the Soul Train Awards…that’s another post entirely. I do touch upon being black and forward thinking as an artist back then, the politics of the music business .. in my work in progress memoir.
Be bold if you feel like it – be you – live your life!! Wattage!
“Skin Deep” from ‘Midnight Lounge’
Deep in the groove at Sony Hall 8.16.19
Video snippet by Landis Page