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 2018 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), and The Makeover (2006) – and 2014 EP Paradise.
For the past five years, the ever multi-tasking ,Watley has focused on both her thriving solo career and the group project “Jody Watley featuring SRL.” Much like Prince had The Revolution, NPG, and Third Eye Girl (among many other projects and aliases) as extensions or branches of his music and creativity, Jody Watley feat. SRL allows her another outlet for her artistic expression, and has produced two Top 5 UK Soul Chart Hits with "The Mood" and "The Passion" in 2018, while also releasing the solo jazz bossa nova single "Waiting In Vain" a surprise Top 10 Smooth Jazz Hit adding to an already eclectic and ongoing repertoire of music.
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 of her career, from 1977’s Uptown Festival album with Shalamar to 2018’s “Waiting in Vain” single) is the sincerity and honesty from which it springs.
“Everything I’ve ever done has been to be distinctively Jody Watley,” says the pop 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.”
6 Top 10 Hot 100 Singles, 15 top 40 Top 100 Singles, 13 Number 1 Dance Singles
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, SRL); Packages Jody Watley 80's and 90's only (Freestyle, Rewind and Retro Festivals) and the more niche Soul/Jazz (combo sets with a trio of musicians and her jazzier leaning catalog).
Watley's award and nominee tally include, One of Billboard Magazine's Top Female Artists of All Time, One of Billboard Magazine's Top 25 Dance Artists of All Time, Grammy's, American Music Awards, MTV Awards ("Real Love" directed by David Fincher remains one of MTV's Most Nominated of All Time), NAACP Image Award Nominee, Billboard Life Achievement In Dance Music.
Featured The Historic The Black Issue, VOGUE Italia 2008
People's Magazine 50 Most Beautiful
Harper's Bazaar Magazine America's 10 Most Beautiful
GAP, first celebrity ad campaign
LA Eyeworks, first celebrity ad campaign
Dance to Fitness, First Number 1 Fitness Video by a woman of color and recording artist
SPUR Japan, first woman of color to appear on the cover of a Japanese fashion magazine for the lauch of SPUR.
Fashion layouts include: Rolling Stone, Harper's Bazaar, Saks Fifth Avenue Fall Catalog.
Albumism: 'Flower' (1998) | Revisit retrospective tribute by TheQHBlend + listen to the album here:
Jody Watley & SRL "The Passion" Alex Di Cio Mix #17 Poptastic Confessions 2018 Year End Chart http://poptasticconfessions.blogspot.com/2018/12/17-of-2018.html
Jody Watley - "Like A Holiday" Alex Di Cio Remix Review - http://www.soulandjazzandfunk.com/news/5929-jodys-christmas-message.html
Read More Info on the release due May 18, 2018. https://jodywatley.net/2018/04/06/jody-watley-speaks-to-christian-wilkane-for-new-shalamar-multi-disc-package/
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/
Jody Watley and SRL are top additions to various charts including a Number One showing on Solar radio with an unexpected breakout hit "The Mood" Alex Di Cio Remix. https://jodywatley.net/2018/02/13/jody-watley-ft-srl-the-mood-alex-di-cio-remix-uk-radio-update-and-recap/
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
Read the updates here --- https://jodywatley.net/2018/01/17/jody-watley-and-srl-getting-the-uk-in-the-mood/
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
Watch the interview and performance on KTLA Morning News and Entertainment with Sam Rubin: Here
Article by Michael P. Coleman for Eurweb: Here
New on Soulbounce, Jody Watley Comes to Slay with her new Dancer Video: Read it Here
Dave Higdon, Poptastic Confessions: The hot new concept dance video 'Dancer' and Watley's year end concert with the new Shalamar Reloaded Reviewed: Poptastic Confessions
A repost of the perfect new year life change song, read about what you missed with Watley's entrance into the underground dance electronica era: Here
NewNowNext on Logo Reviews the hot new dance video "Dancer" : Here
"A blend of classic and new.." Patrik Henry - Bass essence.com/2015/07/20/shalamar-reloaded-jody-watley-releases-slowdance
It was truly a night full of fire with Jody Watley and the new Shalamar at Melkweg Amsterdam to a packed out: Maxazine has the details and photo gallery with photography by Eric Van Nieuwland: Click Here
Get the 411 on the new members and read the new interview with Patrik Henry Bass on Esssence.com, click to read it all here
For those who came late, Jody Watley is a name synonymous with soul, an icon of music, fashion and dance who set the defining trends of at least four or five distinctive eras of black culture—which is to say, American pop culture. Which is to say: global pop culture. Read the full article: Here
"..the fashionable hitmaker didn't just put the focus on her many individual talents, but also brought along Shalamar Reloaded to revisit those often overlooked beginnings.." Read the full review: ChicagoConcertReviews.com
"If you grew up in the era of cultural identity, sexual exploration, political uprise.." Read the compelling feature: Chicago Defender
Jody Watley Attends Paul Smith Hosts Photography Exhibition: Chris Stein - Negative; Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk. See the photo gallery and article on LA Weekly by Lina Lecaro - Here
Read and listen to the interview with Sweden's DJ Souly of Soulinterviews.com : HERE
New in-depth interview talking trendsetting career, longevity, tradeamark business, the new reloaded SHALAMAR and more : Here
Dave Higdon of Poptastic Confessions Review: http://poptasticconfessions.blogspot.com/2015/03/jody-watley-and-shalamar-reloaded-in.html
“Jody Watley is an iconic figure in the entertainment industry, who continues to shine in music. Watley’s independent-minded and free-spirited personality has earned her the respect from so many people in fashion, style, music, and video production. The Grammy-award winning vocalist broke many musical barriers, especially being the first R&B/Pop singer to collaborate with a rapper on the song, “Friends,” featuring Eric B & Rakim. Known for her funky style in music and dance, Watley pays homage to her roots on her latest EP, Paradise.”…. Read the full interview - Here
Jody Watley Concert Review from 2/18/2015 sold-out performance at BB King's New York on Soultrain.com - Read it HERE
Jody Watley Paradise is Here, Chats with Emmy Wnner LeGrande Green http://www.getboldtoday.com/084-jody-watley-paradise-is-here/
Various archived press for the hit single 'Nightlife', and more. Here
Opener for Tony Toni Tone
Pala Jam, Jody Watley with S.O.S Band, Evelyn Champagne King
Jody Watley & Shalamar Reloaded Special Performance
An Intimate Evening of Love, Jazz and Soul.
Jody Watley - An Intimate Evening of Love, Jazz and Soul.
Opener for Jeffrey Osbourne
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