Jody Watley is a GRAMMY Award Winning Pop/R&B innovative music maker, songwriter, producer and style-forging pioneer in music, video, dance and fashion as recognized in VOGUE, VOGUE Italia, Harper’s Bazaar, Rolling Stone, Essence and Vanity Fair in addition to being named one of People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People. Watley has the distinction of being included in the first celebrity driven ad campaigns “Individuals of Style” for GAP and the famed “A Face Is Like a Work of Art” for LA Eyeworks. Watley established the trend of high fashion, mixed with street chic, and individuality raising the bar for the next generation of young black Pop/R&B artists decades before the industry would embrace cross marketing and branding in the mainstream.
The Chicago native is one of the first already established artists to embrace the shifting paradigms in the music business and digital platforms embracing the entrepreneurial side releasing music independently and social networking since the mid 90’s. Jody Watley continues to represent longevity, artistic growth and class.
Jody Watley ranks as one of MTV’s most nominated artists for her David Fincher directed video “Real Love” with 7 nominations. She was the first woman of color to appear on the cover of a high fashion magazine in Japan ‘SPUR’ in addition to being the first black artist or woman in the fitness arena to have a #1 million-selling video titled “Dance To Fitness.”
With an amazing 32 Top Ten Singles and 13 #1 Singles in the Pop, Dance and R&B music genres over the past three decades, 6 Hot 100 Top Ten Singles, 15 Top 40 R&B Singles from 9 albums as a solo artist – not including her Shalamar catalog (A Night To Remember, The Second Time Around, Take That To The Bank), Watley’s multi-format hit singles include such classics as “Looking For A New Love,” with it’s popular sardonic catch-phrase “Hasta La Vista Ba-by” later used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in blockbuster movie Terminator; “Don’t You Want Me” and her groundbreaking collaboration with Eric B and Rakim “Friends”, Watley is widely regarded as one of Pop/R&B’s pioneering icons.
One of the defining artists of the 80’s, Watley’s “Friends” was the first multi-format crossover smash crossover hit to introduce and pair the custom and specialized 16 bar verse with a rapper and singer in Pop music in 1989. The formula became such a popular mainstay in the commercial mainstream The GRAMMY’s added the “Rap/Sung” Category in 2002.
Known for combining beauty and style as integral aspects of her career as a recording artist and dynamic live performer, Jody’s list of accomplishments and achievements is indeed impressive: an American participant in ‘Band Aid’ the historic Sir Bob Geldof British charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, invited by special invitation to perform for a sitting President and First Lady at The White House; recipient of Billboard Magazine’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2009, nominations for NAACP Image Awards, American Music Awards and The Soul Train Awards. She’s been featured in VOGUE, ITALIAN VOGUE (including the Historic “The Black Issue in 2008), Harper’s Bazaar, Rolling Stone, Essence and named one of America’s Most Beautiful People by People Magazine. Songwriting honors from BMI are also amongst her achievements for many of her hit singles. Jody Watley also appeared on Broadway in the hit musical GREASE! as the pivotal character Rizzo.
Virgin Megastore Union Square Celebrates the Release of Jody WatleyÃs New CD Ã¬The MakeoverÃ® With A Live Performance and Q&A Session2006’s “The Makeover,” Watley’s last full length was released as an exclusive with former retailer The Virgin Megastore in a forward thinking strategic partnership; debuting as their top seller in-store where it remained for 5 weeks at #1. “The Makeover”debuted at #3 in The Top Electronic Albums at iTunes; producing 3 Top 5 Billboard Hot Dance Singles. Her cover of the CHIC classic “I Want Your Love” reached #1 in the U.S. In the U.K. the single also achieved #1 chart status on Music Week’s Commercial Pop Chart. (Click Avitone link on the page to read more). In 2001, she released the critically acclaimed “Midnight Lounge” heralded by the UK’s Blues and Soul as ‘the best album of her career,’ an ambient electronic opus continuing her less commercial leanings into the new millennium with her distinctly bold creative progression as an artist, songwriter and producer.
Jody Watley Music (BMI) contains a diverse range of titles in her publishing catalog with licensing opportunities for platforms including commercial advertising, video games, film and television.
As an entertainer Watley continues to perform selectively around the world with her dynamic live show; a unique blend of modern electronica, pop, dance and soul hits and rare grooves all in distinct Watley sound and style.
In October 2012, Jody Watley was one of the stars of “Loving The Silent Tears,” an international musical event with a cast of 16 esteemed artists from around the world directed by Tony nominee Vincent Paterson (Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cirque du Soleil) with choreography by Emmy winner Bonnie Story held at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The music was composed by Academy Award winners Al Kasha and Nan Schwartz to the poetry of humanitarian Supreme Master Ching Hai with the theme of finding one’s own peace.
June 2013, Watley’s broad range took her to China as a part of the “Night of Fortune GRAMMY All-Stars Concert” performing in front of 40,000 fans at Chengdu Stadium. Her eclectic musical palette also lent itself to collaborations with new Electro-Pop Band “French Horn Rebellion” for the winter 2012 single “Cold Enough” and the infectious and much buzzed about indie summer single “Dancing Out”, influenced by the pop sounds of the 80’s with a contemporary electro-pop twist. The video for the single premiered on Billboard.com.
July of 2013, Watley unveiled the preview of her new single “Nightlife” the shimmering electro disco stomper written and produced by Jody Watley along with Julien and Raphael Aletti (Aletti Brothers) of Count De Money for Peace Bisquit with co-production by Peace Bisquit’s Bill Coleman. “Nightlife” features backing vocals by original Shalamar male lead Gerald Brown for the full classic nod to her past as an original member of the group.
Watley made high profile summer 2013 appearances at ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans’ Mercedes Benz Superdome Superlounge, a GRAMMY All-Stars Concert in Chengdu, China at Chengdu Stadium and a standing room only concert at Washington D.C.’s historic Howard Theatre; her first concert in the city in 25 years.
November 2013 – Jody Watley’s “Nightlife” featuring another Shalamar original Gerald Brown takes her into the Top Ten in the UK peaking at #5 Urban and #6 Commercial Pop in the UK’s venerable industry publication Music Week and continued to rise on the Hot Dance Club Play on Billboard extending Watley’s singles chart streak.
Currently, the proud mother of two young adults is working on a variety of creative projects encompassing new music and literary (penning her first novel, and a memoir).
Jody Watley served two years as an elected Governor on the Los Angeles Chapter Recording Academy Board from 2009-2011. The Musicians Institute in Hollywood elected Watley to their board of Governors for a two year term in November 2012.