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.
Sony Hall New York, August 16, 2019 was phenomenal. New York is always a special place, my Mom is from Harlem,my son graduated college there and lives there. It’s also extra special to see him when I go there to work too.
I won my Best New Artist Grammy in New York’s legendary Radio City Music Hall, been inspired to write songs from the vibes of New York, filmed my ‘Friends’ video there to capture that real authentic vibe with Eric B & Rakim, club kids and beyond, trendsetting fashion shoots for Harper’s Bazaar, Saks – cover of Essence Magazine back in the day..you name it. I’ve performed in the Big Apple countless times over the span of my over 3 decade solo career and counting..this ranks as the best.
There are so many rave reviews pics and video on social media (especially Instagram) – here are two that really say it all!
Via Twitter. Love!
Jody Watley. Photography by Trudy Giordano
Jody Watley. Photography by Trudy Giordano
Jody Watley. Photography: Dara Seans
Jody Watley and John ‘Havic’ Gregory – SRL.
Jody Watley – A Music Journey, performing a few of my Shalamar classics with SRL.
Fan photo capturing a moment, Sony Hall 2019.
Real Love. Striking a pose.
I had not planned to do ‘Still A Thrill’ in this show. The setlist included rare gems like ‘Nightlife’ Soulpersonal Classic Soul mix, Saturday Night Experience, the current SRL hits, ‘Precious Love’ soul mix, ‘Skin Deep’ from ‘Midnight Lounge’ a piano and vocal only ‘Everything’, the jazz bossa nova of ‘Waiting In Vain’ and more along with classic hit staples. I ended up taking a few spontaneous requests resulting in a spirited a cappella section. Video capture by Trudy Giordano.
Jody Watley and Nate Allen Smith. Photography Trudy Giordano. Sony Hall 8.16.19
Multi-talented Nate Allen Smith, male lead – SRL. Singer, songwriter, dancer, model.
The soul collective. Jody Watley & SRL.
Jody Watley. Wattage!
Thank you to the wattage crew and everyone who came, sold-out the venue (this means so much) and made it truly a magical night of music – a night to remember full of precious love.
After New York, we were off to Atlanta for the concert with Jeffrey Osborne.
Beautiful outdoor setting. Older more reserved crowd than I’m accustomed to and as the case with older R&B audiences – there’s always an initial sense of sitting in judgment maybe skeptical of what Jody Watley was going to bring to the evening. My perception is this age demo are more of the upset I’m not longer with Shalamar though it’s been nearly 4 decades and I’ve been successfully putting it down solo for over three decades and counting – always evolving and getting better with time.
The skeptics always learn..I bring a first class, high quality soulful show with lots of style, heart and my brand of soul, full of positive messages and hits – including a couple from my Shalamar days.
Jody Watley. Photo by Bill Coker.
Photography: Norman ‘NV’ Johnson
Jody Watley – Photography: Norman ‘NV’ Johnson
Jody Watley & SRL. Mable House Barnes Amphitheater.
Up next and closing out summer 2019:
Saturday August 24, 2019 – Groove 99.3 and Pacific Concert Group Present – Summer Bash, Bakersfield, CA Stramler Park (multiple acts) – Tickets
August 31, 2019 – WorldOne Concerts Presents Rewind Funk & Soul – Thunder Valley Outdoor Amphitheater – Tickets (Multiple acts)
September 7, 2019 – Blue Note Hawaii – Jody Watley ‘UnPlugged’ – Tickets
In line with always wanting to create the right atmosphere and vibe I’m so proud to announce the addition of my friend and colleague Vikter Duplaix to join Shalamar Reloaded and I live on the Sunset Strip at The Roxy.
Vikter is an accomplished songwriter / producer not to mention a Grammy nominated Urban Alternative artist for his divine “Make a Baby” from his critically heralded ‘The Bold & The Beautiful’ release in 2008. Beyond that he’s also a renowned DJ and lifestyle event producer – a tastemaker of all groovy and good. His Kiss n Grind Events in Los Angeles are legendary in the underground scene always packed with a beautiful music loving crowd – fashionable as well I might add.
Jody Watley with Shalamar Reloaded and Vikter Duplaix promises to be a great night of an eclectic mix of sounds from soul, electronica, dance, hip hop, a splash of classic disco and hip-hop.
My career has evolved and continued as an artist, songwriter, producer and entrepreneur. I’ve endured many challenges and obstacles while holding on to being as true to myself and as authentic as I can be — not easy in this industry. As I’ve always said, I never wanted to be stuck in a box, the pop box or machinery of the industry to maintain a certain level of ultra commercial appeal. My influence continues as reflected in my bio and the range in genres reflected from my discography..winning the Best New Artist Grammy has always seemed to be a controversial, maligned and marginalized by some – for me it remains a blessing an unlikely achievement that I remain proud of and thrilled to have received ..read some of what it meant to me at the time: Billboard
The ‘Nightlife; Soulpersona Classic Soul featuring Gerald Brown (another Shalamar original), is one of the mixed that helped propel “Nightlife” to Top 5 Urban in the UK – it’s finally at iTunes after popular demand! Get it!
“Nightlife” with it’s call to “be fabulous” forget your worries – get yourself together, is really my way of encouraging a call to lift yourself up, to have fun. “It’s in the music” because it is about music where so much inspiration and energy lives as a great resource, let it use you – I do! When you’re releasing music independently, so much depends on not simply my efforts but others getting behind and supporting. There’s something to be said about that aspect in today’s commercial commerce driven marketplace – what a concept, focus on ‘the music’ and the hope to inspire others. We can change the world with one smile, one dance at a time – I know it sounds cliche but for me it’s truth.
The single moves up to #14 Pop in the UK in Music Week and #40 Hot Dance Club Play on Billboard. The single peaked at #5 Urban in the UK – which is still quite awesome. It’s not so much about charts and sales but I’m proud of this as an addition to my discography – it’s really always about moving forward and being proud the work; that’s really success. Thats said, I do love proving that a veteran woman artist, writer, producer and style diva can still hang without pandering and with a level of class and my signature authenticity. There’s a core group people working with me, supporting me because they believe ‘in the music’ and not because of financial gain. We are connected by a passion and love for the music, the arts and a time when it was really more focus on ‘music’. The work I continue to do and with the integrity I try to bring appears to inspire others which gives me confidence and hope for all of us out here still trying to do things the right way. It’s all very organic and I’m thankful to those working with me on this and of course you the ones helping to get the word out there through your actions, buying the single and sharing my posts. Thank you.
Fabulous! My daughter and son – who always encourage me as must as I encourage them and tell me I’m the best Mom in the world – which fuels me on my darkest days and always reminds me what’s most important. Thank you Count De Money (Julien and Raphael Aletti- Aletti Brothers Music) Bill Coleman of Peace Bisquit, Gerald Brown, Juanita Stephens PR, Steve Ripley at Soulfood Music, Music House UK, Craig Jones, Niven Govinden, Matt Waterhouse, Moto Blanco, Jodie Harsh, Dave Doyle, Soulpersona, Luminodisco, Claudia Cuesta of Maxi Promotion, Patrick L. Riley of ‘Life of Riley’ and Dave Higdon of Poptastic Confessions, (early blogging supporters of ‘Nightlife’) along with Okayplayer, Soulbounce, Soulculture UK, Centric TV who got behind the single early — Fabulous!! Thank you Rosero McCoy, John ‘Havic’ Gregory, Christos Garkinos of Decades Inc, Billy B., Albert Sanchez, Sandra Green, Billy Johnson at Yahoo Music, Access Hollywood, Uptown Magazine, Isoul Harris, Essence Magazine, Jet, Ebony, Soulbounce, Singersroom, Lee Bailey at Eurweb, Urbanbridgez, Wax Poetics, Wallace Butts, Van Roy, Shawn West, Brian Walmer, Vernon Sze, Steve and Laura Hall at Future Disc Systems, Bryan Rabin and Adam Bravin aka Adam Xll of Giorgio’s, Steven Willis, Harwood Lee, Christina Grady and all DJ’s and outlets supporting this effort…and anyone I forgot to mention my apologies, it’s not intentional. My hardcore fans – I love you!
Vinyl arrived today – yaaay! Details on when they’ll be at my online boutique. I have to number and sign them – limited edition Ba-By! Excited to be filming the final footage for the “Nightlife video tomorrow at my favorite place to dance : Giorgio’s!
Photo: Wallace Butts Albert Sanchez Make-up Billy B. (c) 2013 Jody Watley
This is a candid from a session just completed with Albert Sanchez captured by my best friend and assistant Wallace Butts.
Make sure to pick up my new single “Nightlife” featuring backing vocals by another original Shalamar lead Gerald “Take That To The Bank” Brown. Available at iTunes, eMusic, Google Play and other select digital retailers.
I had the pleasure to work with George Duke back in the early 80’s just after my departure from Shalamar. We recorded the song Baby Love” for a project he was working on. Ultimately, it was a stroke of luck for me that he chose not to use the song because I would have, according to the rules of the Recording Academy at the time – having a release in America as “Jody Watley, or George Duke featuring Jody Watley” would have made me ineligible for the “Best New Artist” category when my debut album was released a couple of years later in 1987. At the time he decided not to release it, I was bummed and disappointed, however fate was still on my side. Sometimes not getting what you want is actually the universe saying be patient! The experience recording with Mr. George Duke is a fond one, we had a great time at his renowned studio at his home in the Hollywood Hills. George Duke was the kind of person that made you feel at ease. I had great admiration for his countless works ranging from jazz, fusion, funk and soul. We had reconnected at the start of this year on Facebook after seeing each other at the memorial for Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius. I asked about ‘Baby Love’ and if he would send it to me, as it’s been in my head for so long but I didn’t have a copy. Happy to send it to me, he also gave me permission to post it – which I did for a short time and took it down. I reposted it today in his honor, memory and celebration. To be a tiny piece of his musical journey as well is incredibly special and I feel very blessed to have crossed his path back then and recently as colleagues.
In February, we were a part of the inaugural Soul Train Cruise and were a part of a panel sharing fond memories of Don Cornelius. His final show on the cruise had everyone dancing in the aisles as he went straight P-funk to the delight of everyone near the conclusion of his performance.
My thoughts and prayers are extended to his family and friends. George Duke now joins his beloved wife Corine of 30 years. who succumbed to cancer just last year – as well as a host of other music legends. Beautiful music. Beautiful legacy in life.
Rest peacefully Mr. George Duke, you will be missed.
George Duke, Jeffrey Osbourne, Jody Watley, Tony Cornelius. Photo (c) 2013 Jody Watley