New York City. Radio City Music Hall, March 2, 1988.
Jody Watley – Best New Artist 1987.
That same night, U2 won Album of The Year for Joshua Tree, Somewhere Out There won Song of The Year.
Little Richard made it one of TV’s most iconic moments in Grammy history – in an impromptu rant (a fun but true one) in that he’d never been recognized nor received any awards as The Architect of Rock & Roll. It lasted nearly 5 minutes – while all of the nominees waited in angst to hopefully hear their name.
Michael Jackson performed a rousing ‘The Way You Make Me Feel/Man In The Mirror’ and was the first person to greet me as I exited the stage in tears – he emerged with a big smile, hug and kiss saying “I’m so happy for you.” That made the night even more special..especially since there was a time in my youth I was writing him fan mail!
I shocked everyone – including me – by winning Best New Artist and have said I could have retired that night on that album in terms of a statement debut that no one predicted and to everyone who told me I’d never succeed and would regret leaving Shalamar — That day has never and will never come. I’m full of gratitude and know that regardless of the outcome of the awards ceremony I’d already won by choosing to live the life I wanted – happy no matter the obstacles.
Continuing to do the best work with as much joy and integrity possible in a challenging industry, always fearless, changing and growing as I vowed to do decades ago and to get better with time.. not to be the most popular, just to be the best I can be for me as an artist, writer, producer and human being. That year – I kicked ass, set some style trends and kept it moving on to the next and still doing the damn thing – my way.
In celebration of The GRAMMY’s weekend, this blessing came at the perfect time at that time in my life and career and the goals I had ‘back then’ and the obstacles endured. A lot of people were happy for me – a lot of people are probably still angry and confused how this triumph happened. Some artists never get to experience a moment like this – ever. My tears of joy were genuine and heartfelt-I was stunned. Remember Little Richard taking his well deserved moment to let the people know that as the ‘Architect of Rock and Roll’ he’d never been honored or the recipient of a GRAMMY. It holds a special place in my heart as well because it was New York City, radio City Music Hall and Micheal Jackson performed a riveting ” The Way You Make Me Feel/Man In The Mirror.” The music business and my peers at that time were all heavy hitters. There was so much diversity in R&B/Pop and Rock, though it was already transitioning to the next phase.
I remain full of gratitude with a passion for what I do as an artist, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur decades later – but most of all who I am as a woman/human being – to be a good person through my actions is success. Looking at this younger ambitious part of who I was back then makes me proud because despite everything going on I chose to believe in myself and step out on faith. Choosing to be happy and in control of my life – remains a constant in the woman I have since become. The love and respect of my children is everything and remaining appreciative of those who continue to support me personally as well in my music career keeps me uplifted in an often treacherous business and world. Never one to back away from a challenge, being fearless and unafraid to make mistakes, lose fans and popularity or any of those things..it’s so much more meaningful to remain authentic and proud of ‘the work.’ Commercial, under the radar, experimental, you name it, it’s all very much me..always going my own way.
Like you, this is a process of continuing to learn and grow. As always, I encourage YOU as well on this journey of life no matter what field of work you’re in. Stay and BE Fabulous!! Make NEW goals and dreams continuing forward.