Navigating life and career. Ended 2018 having to make a difficult business decision after a year of contemplation and coming to terms with hard realizations. There are times in life personally and professionally in order to continue to grow, it’s necessary to make changes, and allow others to do the same. In the tough decisions especially for entrepreneurs or those with whom you’ve had a close relationship and the lines may have been blurred it’s even harder it will be taken personally when it’s not. Business is business and it’s wise to always keep that in mind.
Often the only person who can see a vision is you, it’s not a cold hearted thing, it’s the ongoing evolution of being and willingness to step out of comfort zones- not everyone is going to be on that same page or path. Never one to shy away from my instincts is something to never fear or avoid – no matter how difficult. Stay stagnant, rigid and stuck – or keep pushing for new levels. You never know until you try and do is also one of my life mantras.
Being able to be close to home to be there and present for my ailing Mom continues to be a priority in the midst of the music, just as it was when I was raising my daughter and son. I’ve cut back on some travel and concerts such as putting off shows in Glasgow and Manchester to make sure I’m never too far away. The process continues to push me into an even more reflective mode about life in general. One of the things my Mom has said when talking to one of her doctors on a bad day and through pain that really resonates “..no matter what, I’m happy to still be here..fighting..” – words to live by.
If you see that I’m coming to your city – don’t miss it. As an artist never been one to do a ton of dates to begin with it’s always a quality over quantity always – that keeps it fun. 2019 will include select dates, some of the schedule has had to be revised, always an experience of good vibes, memories, creating new ones and inspiration.
Stay tuned for info on upcoming new music projects as well!
I haven’t done press for ‘PARADISE’ rather, I’ve let my blog posts speak to the process, inspirations, journey etc. We did quite a lot for the single release of “Nightlife.’ It would be great to do television however it’s quite a challenge without a gossip lead in to talk about, an agent with CAA who is packaging guests (politics) – that’s the reality of the moment. I’ll be chatting with online radio show host Steven Knight on Monday September 29, 2014 at 10 PM EST talking “Paradise.” They’ve been very persistent to have me on, and we’re Twitter friends ..so there you go!
My twitter timeline went all abuzz just before I was heading out to dinner with one of my best friends Christos Garkinos last night. He’d dealt with the loss of another of his longtime closest friends for 30 years – a difficult time is an understatement. Cathy had sadly lost her hard fought battle with cancer.
There’s nothing like good fine, a quality rose’, laughter and honest talk to keep life grounded.
The first thing I read before heading out was that Jennifer Lopez acted as if she didn’t know who “Jody Watley” was after Ryan Seacrest gave ’80’s Icon Jody Watley’ some love. My first reaction of course was: The nerve. The shade. The disrespect. Girl please. This was the consensus in my timeline. After all, homage was paid to me in a shout-out in one of Jennifer Lopez songs my fans had made me aware of sometime ago “Hold You Down” with Fat Joe..a formula that Eric B and Rakim and I had successfully blueprinted as a major crossover multi-format single in 1989, I’d add. How can anyone be a judge on these shows and not know a cross section of music and origins – typical I’d say as well when it comes to black artists. I did reply with a short tweet – with a link here to the site which is full of info for those who need to ‘learn it’ – decades of it!
Anyway, after a great time at dinner, always putting and keeping life in perspective, Christos and I had a wonderful time. It was nice to see him smile and eat – he hadn’t eaten much in the past week. By the time I came home, another best friend (my longest, nearest and dearest Wallace Butts) watched the show said it wasn’t that bad and he’d retracted his post on the Idol Facebook page. He conveyed it was in the context of hoop earrings — the judges were confused. Seacrest sang a bit of of one of my numerous hits, (not including those with Shalamar) “Don’t You Want Me..” to blank stares from the judges panel. Whatever. I always look to the bright side of things and know who I am, what I’ve done and continue to do – even when others don’t. The bright side is Ryan Seacrest did say my name on his show – and it got people talking, although I’ve never been one to court controversy and sensationalism. Often that is the name of the game. I was glad I didn’t go on a full blown Twitter rant. This is a lesson to everyone. Always take a step back and never react until the facts are in when it comes to negativity in particular – and then still count to 10!
Enjoy Life. A few favorite quotes come to mind-Keep what is useful, and discard what is not. No one can ever make you feel inferior without your permission. Define yourself for yourself. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Life is short – live to the fullest, appreciate yourself, your family and friends.
My trip to Washington D.C. had a few twists and turns, but ended in a tremendously well received standing room only crowd at The Howard Theatre. The concert was a perfect way to put the cap on my limited engagement summer series of concerts which included The Essence Festival in New Orleans.
Jody Watley, The Howard Theatre. Photo (c) 2013: Mark Sutphin
Jody Watley Live In Concert at The Howard Theatre. Photo (c) 2013: Jay Boucher
Jody Watley LIVE at The Howard Theatre. Photo (c) 2013 DARRICK
Jody Watley by Larry Webb (c) 2013 via Facebook
With an appearance on Washington D.C.’s Fox 5 Morning Television (almost ruined by a driver that didn’t show up causing me to be late and miss my first time slot – and a last minute save by another company and driver – Uber!), all was well in the end; but I don’t like to be late and felt bad though it was out our control. In those times, we have to just roll with it, make adjustments; the ole’ keep calm and carry on mantra!
Jody Watley with Allison Seymour from Fox 5 WTTG Morning News. Photo Jody Watley Music (c) 2013
Though I had many problems with my feature in The Washington Post; among them -being referred to as ’80’s starlet’ ‘”Starlet?” I found it a bit demeaning. My continued artistic progression as an artist, songwriter and producer is consistent. I’ve remained on the charts whenever I’ve released music, though I moved away from Pop/R&B crossover a long time ago. I’m not looking for a new groove, rather continuing to make fresh grooves after decades in this business. Having had success in each decade with high charting singles is something I’m very proud of. It isn’t easy for artists to have hits, one, two, (or any for that matter) in any era. To make an initial major impact on my first two albums as a trendsetting pioneer in many aspects and then to continue on spanning decades in various genres and primarily in dance music should be notable not disposable or completely ignored. References to my looking for a ‘comeback’ didn’t come from my mouth – I despise that term, especially since it’s not fitting for me. While we’re at it, I also don’t like the term “old school”, though thankfully not included in the article. Classic, just like they refer to rock and roll – black music and artists should be given the same respect over time not relegated to some throwback nostalgia tag; unless it’s what is requested or marketed purposefully.
I’ve never left music, even with raising my children and taking time to live my life. I’m not looking for a comeback in today’s pop music climate. My next single ‘NIGHTLIFE’ is simply another step in my musical journey and evolution as a working artist. Neither am I looking for a new groove beyond a continued progression and a desire to write and release quality music while I’m still making it. The overall tone of the article was very marginalizing and reminded me why I don’t like doing interviews. A lack of homework on really knowing the subject beforehand goes a long way. I’ve learned most come with an already formed preconceived notion. Many of my fans felt the same way and posted as such under the link to the article on my Facebook page and felt that props nor respect weren’t given – rather lumping me in general terms of ‘the 80’s’ when I’m so not that – not stuck there and have continued to have success. The writer also insinuated my embrace of social media was confirmation that I was looking for a ‘comeback’, when in fact I’m just like any other savvy artist young or legacy music artist who embraces the times and appreciates the forum to connect and build the Jody Watley fan community. It’s my observation that when writing about rock stars no matter when they started or how old they are now, more reverence is given. It’s like someone taking your resume, not reading it and assuming who you are or labeling you something that you doesn’t represent what you’re about. Ironically, I read a post from author Paulo Coelho titled “Why I’m not giving that many interviews.” Paulo chooses to use his presence on social media to promote his work and tell his story.
OK, that off my chest – I’m not mad at the full page, that was earned in a solo career at 30 years now. We must always take every experience and learn from it. There’s a lesson in everything even if we can’t see it at the time. Seeing and reading the article online was one thing – however it was another deal to see it and be reminded of the traditional newspaper weekend edition – can’t be too grouchy about that. I just wish the young writer had really written a piece that brought people up to speed while considering the need to condense information reflecting some semblance of who I am as a a progressive artist and writer continuing to do things on her own terms -given the high profile nature of the piece – even if conveyed in a sentence or two.
No matter what – I’m grateful to still be here at a high level, doing what I love for my corner of the universe with a healthy mind, body and spirit – bringing joy to the people who support me through my artistry, growth and evolution.