Mike Vitti takes it back to the beginning with Soul Train and Shalamar as we begin the first of three parts of our in depth conversation highlighted with the new and classic music…you will be dancing too..or getting some fly by minutes on the treadmill!
The 4th of July is a pivotal day in my life because it’s the day I quit and declared my independence from Shalamar. An original member, my often tumultuous journey with the group started in 1977 with the group along with Gary Mumford and Jeffrey Daniel promoting Uptown Festival.
Shalamar. Gary Mumford, Jody Watley, Jeffrey Daniel
The second phase came while still in my teens with Gerald Brown and Jeffrey Daniel on our recordings “Shalamar Disco Gardens” album and hit “Take That To The Bank”
Shalamar with Gerald Brown, Jeffrey Daniel and Jody Watley
And finally with Howard Hewett for the final 4 years.
Shalamar with Howard Hewett, Jody Watley and Howard Hewett after 4 tumultuous years.
Dead Giveaway- a side eye..
I wanted freedom from a myriad of things which had nothing to do with singing :: … it all came to a head the day we filmed this video “Dead Giveaway” in the UK back in 1983.
I’m only in the mask at the every end of the video for the reveal and of course the performance scenes. I didn’t want to do the video at all after a heated near physical altercation as we were about to depart for the shoot. It was the last straw for me and such a situation to never have again. Here’s to using personal freedoms to be happy to live your best life in how “you” see fit. To all of the young women and women in general in music, life, relationships, the workplace whatever it may be – who often feel powerless – reclaim your power. Own it. No one can decide that for you, though many may judge you, be willing to walk away and sacrifice if need be.
Removing yourself from unhealthy, or abusive situations and above all not being afraid to make bold choices for yourself is an empowering thing – yes it can also be easier said than done – I want you to know it can be done. My choice back then and still today is always happiness, peace of mind first and foremost-life is short so don’t waste it being miserable, mistreated, whatever it may be. Those are two principles to always live by to this day, happiness and peace of mind. Never regret or be afraid of having the balls to live your own life with joy and to stand up for yourself. Even in my younger age, no amount of threats or intimidation could have changed my mind. I left with a weight lifted and wishing everyone well.
That said — I’m also eternally grateful for the experience in those years and the ending to all of that – as well all I learned from it, along with the confidence, strength and wisdom I gained – wouldn’t change it…35 years later is a lifetime ago-blessed with so much achievement i would have never known. Most importantly in still doing me in variety of ways through the decades – add healthy, happy and with peace of mind.
For the deep cuts music appreciators – you’ll enjoy this compilation put together by Detroit’s The Progressive Underground’s Chris Campbell in celebration and support of my highly anticipated concert at the beautiful Chene Park Detroit.
As I’ve shared on on social media pages this past week, it’s a blessing to be able to be loved and appreciated consistently through the decades since the first time coming to Japan when my second solo album came out in 1989. Fast forward to 2018 – it’s still a thrill.
By the time the final concert of 2018 was ending I was moved to tears of joy and deep gratitude. Whenever I decide to retire (if I am given the blessing and opportunity to choose) I know I will miss performing and coming to Japan more than anywhere I’ve been along the way thus far
Here are a few highlights of many. Thank you to the great staff of Billboard Live Tokyo and Osaka, SRL squad, my sharp rhythm section and the incredible fans of Japan. I love you! Domo Arigato and I always pray for the next time.
Arrival. Tokyo – June 4, 2018.
Room service-Breakfast. I took a picture because the presentation was so beautiful.
Soundcheck day 1.
Ready for Act 1 of my show kicking off the music journey with some my classic solo hits with John “Havic” Gregory and Rosero McCoy.
Jody Watley and Ro — Nate dressed for SRL. Rosero is in first part of Jody section.
Photography courtesy of Billboard Live Tokyo-First
two songs of Jody Watley and then Jody Watley
I love capturing Nate on “Make That Move” a classic from my Shalamar days. The audience loves him and Nate brings so much zeal and energy to the song and performance.
I love these fan-made hand held fans I keep them all!
With the gifted and beautiful illustrator Hatsune Utsumi
With the very beautiful and kind Cheiko- we first met 18 years ago.
Entry of Billboard Live Tokyo after concert.
We asked fans to join our after show photo when we went into venue entrance.
Nate Allen Smith, SRL
Jody Watley. Art by Hatsune Utsumi
Nate Allen Smith, SRL
Backstage and ready for my close-up!
Sound checking “Waiting In Vain”
Love these guys! Hiro, Yoshinori and
The very kind Shun Naka gifted me with handmade bags.
Tokyo – We did that!
Lunch in Osaka
Jody Watley and SRL.
With John “Havic” Gregory and Rosero Mccoy
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Hand painted kimono and gift by Hatsune Utsumi
Meet and Greet.
He asked me to pose with him – and I did.
The Masato Family – Mile and Madna danced with us onstage and gifted awesome art
“Waiting In Vain” already made it to the Top 25 Billboard and has remained in the Smooth Jazz Network Top 15 in a format primarily an instrumental juggernaut. It’s been a wonderful new achievement in the Jody Watley ongoing discography of quality and eclectic music.
April 27 Jody Watley will chat with the radio legend Donnie Simpson at 4:30 EST