b. Jody Vanessa Watley, 30th January 1959, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Jody Watley is an American Soul singer and producer.
She is, probably, best remembered as one of the three singers who comprised the Seventies and Eighties Soul group, Shalamar.
Born in Chicago, Jody was influenced by Diana Ross at an early age.
Jody first performed on stage at the age of 8 years old with family friend and godfather Jackie Wilson.
She was later spotted on the show ‘Soul Train’, on which she first appeared at the age of 14.
jody and don cornelius from soul train - 1978
Jody was selected with another Soul Train dancer, Jeffrey Daniel who were teamed up with Gary Mumford to form the first incarnation of Shalamar.
Gary Mumford was later replaced by Gerald Brown, who in turn was replaced by Howard Hewett as the lead vocalist.
Jody remained with the group from 1977 to 1983.
Shalamar released several successful albums, along with many hit singles, including ‘The Second Time Around’, ‘For The Lover In You’, ‘Take That To The Bank’, ‘Friends’ and ‘A Night To Remember’.
Jody departed Shalamar in 1983.
She then relocated to England, and recorded with several groups, including Musical Youth and The Art of Noise.
Signing to Phonogram Records Jody released two singles entitled ‘Where the Boys Are’ and ‘Girls Night Out’.
In 1985, Jody took part in Band Aid being recorded on ‘Do They Know It's Christmas’.
She returned to the States in 1986 and signed with MCA Records.
jody watley - 1987 / you wanna dance with me? - 1989 / larger than life - 1989 / affairs of the heart 1991
The self titled album ‘Jody Watley’ was released in 1987.
Jody co-wrote six of the album's nine songs, and a single ‘Looking for a New Love’ was a hit.
At the Annual Grammy Awards in 1988, Jody won the award for Best New Artist, and was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
In 1989, Jody released her second album, entitled ‘Larger than Life’, co-writing eleven of the album’s twelve songs.
In 1991, she released her third album, ‘Affairs of the Heart’, which reached number 124 on the U.S. chart, and number 21 on the R&B chart.
intimacy - 1993 / affection - 1995 / flowers - 1998 / saturday night experience - 1999
In 1993, MCA released Jody’s fourth solo album, entitled ‘Intimacy’.
The initial single was ‘Your Love Keeps Working On Me’, which reached number 26 on the R&B chart.
The U.K. listening audiences took to the song, ‘Working On A Thing Called Love’
Jody left MCA Records, and set up her own label, Avitone Records.
She then released her fifth solo album, ‘Affection’, in 1995.
The album was produced by Booker T. Jones and Angelo Earl.
She set up Avitone with the independent Bellmark Records for distribution.
In 1996, Jody played the role of Rizzo in the musical Grease on Broadway Theater in New York City, the first African American woman to play the role.
1997 saw the release of her sixth studio album, ‘Flower’.
The album featured the singles ‘Off The Hook’ and ‘If I'm Not In Love’.
In 1999, Jody reactivated her independent label, Avitone, following legal difficulties with the label.
She released her seventh studio album via Universal Japan, entitled ‘The Saturday Night Experience’, which was a collection of club music tracks.
midnight lounge - 2001 / the makeover - 2005
Her eighth studio album, ‘Midnight Lounge’ was released in 2001, marketed as ‘a blend of soul, jazz, R&B, and electronic club music’.
2005’s ‘The Makeover’ brought Jody together with 4Hero and King Britt amongst others.
In 2008, she launched an online music store.
In 2009, her label, Avitone, signed a distribution deal with the London based Alternative Distribution Alliance Global.
Jody Watley (MCA Records 1987)
Larger Than Life (MCA Records 1989)
You Wanna Dance With Me? (MCA Records 1989)
Affairs Of The Heart (MCA Records 1991)
Intimacy (MCA Records 1993)
Affection (Avitone Records 1995)
Flower (Atco Records 1998)
Saturday Night Experience (Avitone Records 1999)
Midnight Lounge (MCA Records 2002)