In Celebration of George Duke.

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

George Duke, Jeffrey Osbourne, Jody Watley, Tony Cornelius. Photo (c) 2013 Jody Watley

Jody Watley In Chengdu.

My trip to Chengdu was awesome, another blessing of an experience for all of us. To perform as a part of the Night of Fortune GRAMMY All-stars Concert at Chengdu Stadium in front of 40,000 fans left me speechless – until the Panda Tour which was the icing on the cake. I’m thankful to God for continuing to bless me to do what I love, on my own terms and to live a balanced life beyond ‘entertainment.’

Greeting Sign which also came with a beautiful flower bouquet. Chengdu

Greeting Sign which also came with a beautiful flower bouquet. Chengdu

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Program Cover. This is what the stage looked like. Chengdu Stadium.

John "Havic" Gregory, Jody Watley, and Rosero McCoy Rehearsal Check Chengdu Stadium June 7, 2013

John “Havic” Gregory, Jody Watley, and Rosero McCoy Rehearsal Check Chengdu Stadium June 7, 2013

I loved this moment with some of the children's chorus!

I loved this moment with some of the children’s chorus!

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The children’s chorus sang a beautiful and moving song – brought me to tears – this was evening rehearsal.

There was a great tribute to Michael Jackson with rare footage from the GRAMMY archives before the children came out for a dance tribute medley.

There was a great tribute to Michael Jackson with rare footage from the GRAMMY archives before the children came out for a dance tribute medley.

With a staffer who wanted to give me flowers.

With a staffer who wanted to give me flowers.

Chengdu, Stadium as the fans were coming in.

Chengdu, Stadium as the fans were coming in.

There were many Chinese CantoPop Stars a part of the "Night of Fortune" GRAMMY Superstars Concert.

There were many Chinese CantoPop Stars a part of the “Night of Fortune” GRAMMY Superstars Concert.

With lead Michael Jackson Tribute Performer. Chengdu Stadium.

With lead Michael Jackson Tribute Performer. Chengdu Stadium after the concert onstage in the rain!

 

Took a quick photo with my iPhone of the audience while getting set for my performance!

Took a quick photo with my iPhone of the audience while getting set for my performance!

Jody Watley (c) 2013 Chengdu, China

Jody Watley (c) 2013 Chengdu, China
With two of my favorite guys John  "Havic Gregory" and Rosero MCoy at after-party

With two of my favorite guys John “Havic Gregory” and Rosero MCoy at after-party

At Sunshine Panda Nursery on the Panda Tour, Chengdu.

At Sunshine Panda Nursery on the Panda Tour, Chengdu.

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With President of Recording Academy Neil Portnow at Cocktail Reception

With President of Recording Academy Neil Portnow at Cocktail Reception

Getting presented a custom pair of shoes by Sheme, high end shoe designer of China

Getting presented a custom pair of shoes by Sheme, high end shoe designer of China

Red Carpet Mayhem. Chengdu China Global Forum Invited Guests and Night of Fortune  Grammy All-Stars Reception

Red Carpet Mayhem. Chengdu China Global Forum Invited Guests and Night of Fortune Grammy All-Stars Reception

With  Leo "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing"  Sayer one of music's great from the 70's and Gospel powerhouse Yolanda Adams at luncheon.

With Leo “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” Sayer one of music’s great from the 70’s and Gospel powerhouse Yolanda Adams at luncheon.

More pics and video to come! In the meantime, you can read an article: HERE