Grammy winner Jody Watley, singer/songwriter/producer/businesswoman, is one of the architects of 21st century pop music and style aesthetics.
From her groundbreaking marriage of rap & R&B (1987’s “Friends,” a collaboration with hip-hop legends Eric B. & Rakim a pairing that is the first to garner R&B/Hip-Hop, Pop and Dance into the Top 10 in all formats) to her vision-forward marriage of personal branding of high fashion, street fashion and music in the ‘80s (long before it became the norm), the first showcasing of voguing by a major pop star, showing the relationship between high fashion and club culture, showcasing high fashion in music videos way before it was the thing to do, creating a space where B-boys, drag queens and trans people are all in harmony to her fusion of jazz and underground club culture with keen pop instincts, and the ease with which she crossed and still crosses genre, Jody Watley forged the template that is now everybody’s playbook.
In 2021 Watley was named the First Ambassador to Nashville's National Museum of African American Music, and will be inducted in the fall with an exhibition of a few of her iconic outfits. Watley was listed in Billboard Magazine as one of the Top 25 Dance Artists of All Time and in the Top 60 Hot 100 Artists of All Time.
Winner of the Best New Artist Grammy in 1987, Jody Watley’s entire career has been about looking forward, drawing inspiration from personal heroes like Grace Jones, David Bowie, Diana Ross and jazz great Nancy Wilson – iconoclasts who were always ten steps ahead of the pack. The Chicago native’s eclectic repertoire – R&B, hip-hop, House, jazz, pop, drum & bass, ambient, spoken-word – is built on a positive vision and a strong taste for artistic and aesthetic risk.
Her self-titled 1987 solo debut – a showcase for her vocal chops and songwriting skills – was a beats & grooves tribute to her club kid roots, from the underground spots she frequented as a teenager to her stardom (while still a teen) as one of the most popular dancers in the history of iconic TV show “Soul Train.” It yielded the chart topping hits “Looking for a New Love” (which launched the Jody-penned phrase “Hasta la vista” into popular vernacular, becoming so huge that Arnold Schwarzenegger jacked it for his signature line in the movie The Terminator), “Don’t You Want Me,” “Most of All,” “Some Kind of Lover” and “Still a Thrill,” whose video was the first (and as yet unmatched) time a pop star flexed their skills at waacking, the underground Los Angeles dance that is a sibling to both breakdancing and voguing.
1989’s Larger Than Life, her blockbuster sophomore album, yielded the hits “Real Love” (whose influential music video – nominated for seven MTV Video Music Awards – was her second collaboration with acclaimed film director David Fincher, the first being her sleek video for “Most of All”), as well as the sultry Top 10 ballad “Everything.”
Like many artists who top the charts, Watley soon found herself stymied by the limited vision of her label, who wanted to shoehorn her into formula of conventional hit-making. The albums Affairs of the Heart (1991) and Intimacy (1993) displayed her deepening songwriting skills and singing prowess, as well as her assured experimentation with layered musical textures, but label support was missing-in-action. The powerful, beat-driven spoken-word track “When a Man Loves a Woman” from Affairs sparked controversy for addressing AIDS and domestic violence long before they were topics of national conversation, and her skittish label turned its back on the track and album. Though Watley’s artistry continued to deepen and grow, she was hamstrung by her label’s lack of support and their adherence to the same narrow definitions of success that saw her leave iconic R&B group Shalamar at the height of its popularity in 1983. Her own definition of success centered then and now on artistic growth and freedom, not simply replicating whatever was or is hot at the moment.
After breaking from the majors and starting her own label Avitone Recordings in 1995, starting with the bold anthem "Affection" banned on certain mainstream stations because of the lyrics "It doesn't matter if you're young or old, straight or gay - everyone needs to feel loved." Jody Watley has always been at the forefront of equality and support of the LGBT community.
Watley began collaborating with a Who’s Who of visionary producers and remixers, many of whom were longtime fans and jumped at the chance to work with her: 4 Hero, King Britt, Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez & Little Louie Vega, Mark de Clive Lowe, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Ron Trent, Moto Blanco, and Alex Di Ciò. Thanks to her non-stop touring, her global fan base remains as fervent as ever and they’ve made chart and club hits of Ms. Watley’s indie and critically acclaimed albums – Affection (1995), Flower (1998), The Saturday Night Experience (1999), Midnight Lounge (2001), The Makeover (2006). EP's include Paradise released in 2014 and the conceptual "Winter Nights" released in 2020 followed by the timely single "The Healing" and 2021's collaboration with the UK's Brian Power with the nu-disco anthem "Good Good Reason."
Releasing the solo jazz bossa nova single "Waiting In Vain" in 2018 was a surprise Top 10 Smooth Jazz Hit adding to an already eclectic and ongoing repertoire of music along with two Top 5 UK Soul chart singles (The Mood and The Passion) by her former group project Jody Watley ft SRL.
What links “Waiting” to the rest of Ms. Watley’s far-ranging and impossible to pigeonhole catalogue (which has seen her hit the charts in every decade dating back to her days as an original member of the R&B/Disco trio Shalamar) and throughout her solo career is the sincerity and honesty from which it springs. "It was never my dream to be a pop music star, but rather to be an artist who bends genres and boundaries that usually exist for black women in music - my mantra has always been to change, grow and getter better.. that has created many obstacles with marketing but it's always important to be myself..a person of change." The continued change brought two new releases in 2020 the conceptual 'Winter Nights' EP which was to be a series of seasonal themed EP's until the pandemic forced a delay in further recordings. Watley did drop the timely "The Healing" in May a song written for the now on hold 'Spring' project.
“Everything I’ve ever done has been to be distinctively Jody Watley,” says the Pop / R&B icon herself, “from my first solo album through right now. Everything that I will ever do always has to be authentic to me, work that I can always be proud of first and foremost. It’s not so much about, ‘Oh, this is going to be popular,’ or ‘Oh, this is going to be a big hit.’ It’s always been so personal to me, everything that I do. And the fans can feel that. They connect with the honesty.”
As the consumate live music artist Jody Watley's ecelectic catalog offers the options: Full with her dynamic rhythm section and dancers (includes solo classics, current hits, choice Shalamar classics, etc); Multi-bill packages, festivals, and the more niche "Unplugged" experience with guitar and piano only.
FOR THE RECORD - FACTS ABOUT JODY WATLEY
• Grammy Winning Artist.
• 15 Top 40 Singles.
• Crossover Music Icon.
• Black Music Honors “Friends” featuring Eric B. and Rakim.
• The First Rap Song Collaboration.
• Billboard Top 60 Hot 100 Female Artist Of All Time.
• Crossover Top 10 On Multiple Charts.
• Top 25 Dance Artist Of All Time.
• Million Selling Fitness Video.
• Billboard Magazine.
• Lifetime Achievement Dance Artist.
• One of MTV's Most Nominated Artists for Video "Real Love" Directed by David Fincher
• Coined The Pop Culture Phrase “Hasta La Vista Ba-By.”
• 13 Number 1 Billboard Dance Singles.
• People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People.
• 6 Top 10 Hot 100 Singles.
• Fashion and Style Icon And Trendsetter.
• Unprecedented 15 Pages Saks Fifth Avenue Fall Catalog
• Appeared in First Celebrity Ad Campaign for GAP "Individuals of Style
• 3 Number 1 R&B Singles.
• First Black Woman on Cover Of Japanese Fasion Magazine.
• Harper’s Bazaar Most Beautiful Women.
• BMI Award Winning Songwriter.
• Founder of Avitone Recordings – An Independent Record Label formed by Ms. Watley in 1995 as a vehicle to support her own musical evolution outside the major label system.
• First actress to play the Iconic role of Rizzo on Broadway in the hit musical GREASE!
94.7 The Wave Interview with Pat Prescott
Watch it Now!
Deadline Hollywood - https://deadline.com/2021/06/jody-watley-biopic-ozy-talent-deal-1234784526/
Jody Watley on Fox 5 San Diego Aired October 20, 2020
October 8 Tune In!
Tune In October 2 in the 10 am - 11 am PST Hour
Read the blog watch video: https://jodywatley.net/2020/09/23/jody-watley-surprise-appearance-on-fox-5-good-day-dc/
September 24, 2020 9:10 EST https://jodywatley.net/2020/09/23/just-in-jody-watley-will-be-on-fox-5-atlanta-september-24/
Links, Personalized Shout-Outs and More : https://direct.me/jodywatley
Tune In to KMAX TV - Good Day Sacramento Monday August 31 During The 8 AM PST Hour.
Grammy Winning Music Icon, Entrepreneur and Trailblazer Jody Watley Joins Will Downing For A Healing Conversation About Life, Sophisticated Soul, Longevity and More Stay Tuned for Airdate.
Jody Watley Joins Syleena Johnson for Music Monday at 2 PM EST on Instagram Live
If you are a SIRIUS XM Subscriber - Tune In August 16, 2020 for A Two Hour Jody Watley Takeover on Channel 50 - The Groove
Read the full feature http://www.blacknewsscoop.com/2020/08/legendary-global-musical-icon-jody.html?m=1
Jody Watley, Grammy Winning, Trendsetting Pioneer Join Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, Sheila E, Missy Elliot, MC Lyte and Many More at Black Girls Rock! Black Girls Lead Virtual Conference. The Incredibel Line-up of Panels, Keynotes, Workshops, and Master Classes Featuring Prominent Black Women will be an Unforgettable Event. https://jodywatley.net/2020/08/01/jody-watley-grammy-winning-trendsetting-pioneer-join-michelle-obama-kamala-harris-sheila-e-missy-elliot-mc-lyte-and-many-more-at-2020-black-girls-rock-black-girls-lead-virtual-conference-the-i/
Live Stream on Roland Martin Youtube 7:30 PM EST July 31
Tune in August 13, 2020 9:30 AM PST
Join me Michael Colyar Show on Instagram Live 6 PM PST // 9 PM EST August 26
9:15 AM EST - Facebook Live Jody Watley on Rolling Out July 29
Tune into the live stream on new digital progam "The Brandon Holt Show" - Watch live on Facebook and YouTube "The Brandon Holt Show" Pages
Jody Watley on Morning News and Entertainment Show 'Being A Woman" Access it on Spectrum (Silver & Gold Package), Xfinity1 (On Demand), apps ROKU, XUMO and The Black News Channel Page 7 AM PST
July 30 Tune in 6 AM PST Get Up Mornings App, GetUpErica.com and local radio check your listings
Soulbounce Review; http://www.soulbounce.com/2020/05/jody-watley-offers-up-a-musical-healing/
Facebook & Youtube Live June 12 4 PM PST / 7 PM EST Black Press USA
Soulbounce Review http://www.soulbounce.com/2020/02/jody-watley-winter-nights-stream/
Brian Power featuring Jody Watley Number 6 of 2019 on music blog 'Poptastic Confessions'
Jody Watley on UrbanMusicScene with Good Good Reason http://news.theurbanmusicscene.com/2019/05/jody-watley-brian-power-releases-new-single-good-good-reason/
Jody Watley Teams With UK's Brian Power "..a slice of modern disco heaven from start to finish.." - Soulbounce, D-Money http://www.soulbounce.com/2019/04/jody-watley-brian-power-good-good-reason-audio/
Albumism: 'Flower' (1998) | Revisit retrospective tribute by TheQHBlend + listen to the album here:
Jody Watley - "Like A Holiday" Alex Di Cio Remix Review - http://www.soulandjazzandfunk.com/news/5929-jodys-christmas-message.html
Jody Watley New Breakout Smooth Jazz Single:
Waiting In Vain Makes The Best of March: http://www.albumism.com/playlists/best-new-music-march-2018
Poptastic Confessions: Dave Higdon Review http://poptasticconfessions.blogspot.com/2018/02/waiting-in-vain-by-jody-watley.html
Jody Watley ft. SRL at the Two Position on the UK Soul Chart https://jodywatley.net/2018/03/05/jody-watley-and-srl-score-first-uk-soul-top-5-single/
Jody Watle's contemporary jazz take on the Bob Marley classic is the Most Added on the Billboard Jazz Charts for the second week in a row. Read the radio report update:
Jody Watley Makes Waiting In Vain Sound Heavenly, Read the Full Review: http://www.soulbounce.com/2018/02/jody-watley-waiting-in-vain/
New Music: Jody Watley Waiting In Vain http://www.rnbjunkieofficial.com/2018/02/new-music-jody-watley-waiting-in-vain.html
Read the Full Statement : https://jodywatley.net/2018/02/21/jody-watley-prevails-in-shalamar-trademark-registration-challenge/
Dave Higdon and PopTastic Confessions Recap and Review http://poptasticconfessions.blogspot.com/2018/01/happy-birthday-jody-watley.html
Jody Watley Set To Drop New Jazzy Single February 12, 2018
What's The Tee Interview with Emmy Winning Personality Rupaul and Michelle Visage
Jody Watley 2017 Music Crossover Legends Award Broadcasting on Local Television and The Bounce Network
Jody Watley ft. SRL:
Queen Mary Long Beach
The 2018 Chene Park Jazzy Nights Series welcomes Grammy® award winner and multi-platinum recording artist Jody Watley recognized as one of the most prominent visionaries of her her era and one whose influence remains a key touchstone in popular music. The concert experience features a spotlight on decades of solo hits in various genres from R&B/Pop, Minneapolis Funk, Hip Hop, Adult Contemporary, Dance, Jazzy Electronica and beyond as well as critically acclaimed new music
A mainstay on MTV with her trendsetting videos, street-chic fashion and sultry dance moves; her classic 1989 cut “Friends” carved the template for both R&B/hip-hop and pop/hip-hop fusions to come. Jody Watley's music spans 80's, 90's, 00's 10's. 6 Hot 100 Singles, 15 Top Forty Singles, 2 #1 R&B Singles, 7 Top 5 R&B singles 13 #1 Dance Singles ranking Watley by Billboard in 2016 as one of the Greatest Dance Artists of All Time, millions of albums sold.
Critics and fans alike agree 'In concert "Watley brings a full live show that is not to be missed."
This concert experience also features a segment with her much talked about new group SRL with Nate Allen Smith and renowned choreographer Rosero McCoy. The trio have been playing to sold out shows across the the United States to rave reviews with two critically acclaimed singles and video's under their belt, bringing additional fresh vitality and vibrancy and as Watley says "..an extra sexy element for the ladies!"
SRL also join Watley on Shalamar classics she originated including ("A Night to Remember" and "Take That To The Bank") as well as their own new hit material. Jody Watley continues to be one of music's most venerable and eclectic artists showing no signs of slowing down in music and live entertainment.
Also on the bill is jazz music's Mike Phillips.
Ladies pull out your hoop earrings - it's a going to be a soulful funky party!
Jody Watley ft. SRL (Formerly known as Shalamar Reloaded) https://www.cachecreek.com/entertainment/event/jody-watley-shalamar-reloaded
Harold and Jean Miner Festival Square
AQ Dance Party in Dorchester, MA. Jody Watley ft. SRL - All The Hits Disco, Soul and Pop! Spanning her Jody Watley and Shalamar catalog and new SRL hit "The Mood."
80's In The Sand
Jody Watley with Bananarama, The Bangles
Opener for Tony Toni Tone
Pala Jam, Jody Watley with S.O.S Band, Evelyn Champagne King
Jody Watley & Shalamar Reloaded Special Performance
Fresno Woodward Rotary Park
An Intimate Evening of Love, Jazz and Soul.
Jody Watley - An Intimate Evening of Love, Jazz and Soul.
New York City
Opener for Jeffrey Osbourne
Stramler Park, Bakersfield, CA
Thunder Vally Outdoor Amphitheater
Jody Watley - Unplugged
Jody Watley - Unplugged
Tulsa OK Family Festival
Jody Watley and Tony! Toni! Tone!
San Antonio, Texas
The Colors of Christmas Tour with Peabo Bryson, Oleta Adams, Ben Vereen, Jody Watley
The Colors of Christmas Tour
The Colors of Christmas Tour
Gulfport, MS Special Guest with Taylor Dayne & Lisa Lisa
Theatre at Westbury NY, Special Guest with Taylor Dayne and Lisa Lisa
Atlantic City, NJ Special Guest w Taylor Dayne and Lisa Lisa
Stockton, CA Special Guest w Taylor Dayne and Lisa Lisa