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6th February 2017

Q: A belated happy birthday – how did you celebrate?


JW: I’m still celebrating! Doing shows and being with fun people. Every day is kind of a little birthday.




Q: Listening to your three releases so far, I hear a balance of new and old styles, sounds and arrangements which blend seamlessly and your full length debut is called Bridges. Are you sending out a message here or am I reading something into it that’s not there?


JW: We collectively came up with the title because of the sound that we wanted to establish and not just in the sound either but in our concerts. It’s the diversity, it’s multi-generational. It’s like in the song, some bridges you burn and some bridges you build and we’re about building bridges and pathways to new beginnings. As you said, it does blend different sounds and styles and we all have different personalities so we thought Bridges was a great metaphor as a debut.


Q: When will it be out?


JW: It should be out this summer. We’re putting the finishing touches on it and our goal is June.


Q: What inspired the lyrics to Original and Slow Dance?


JW: For original, when we first got together, there was some backlash from the social media – especially with the guys. I’m used to it but people were writing ‘Who are they?’ and you know, Rosero (McCoy) is a renowned choreographer who worked with Michelle Obama on her fitness campaign, Prince, Justin Timberlake and many others and he’s as original as he can be then there’s us and none of us are trying to be anybody else but us. We are just trying to encourage people to be original but no matter what, people are always going to have something to say so the statement is that we are a new group – not a reboot of something from the past.


Q: I’m saddened and shocked that there was a backlash.


JW: Yeah I was. It really came from older fans who were fans of Shalamar that somehow felt very intimidated by what we were doing. I’m not trying to recreate anything, the past is the past and if you love the music that’s fantastic and I think it kind of arose from that but the thing that has been exciting for me is to see us creating a lot of new fans and a lot of Jody Watley fans totally embrace. They can see we have great chemistry together and they love the guys. Nate is a sweetheart and has become the heartthrob of the group.


Q: I love it.


JW: I’m glad you do. This is what we wanted to do as a group. No one put us together and while we’ve been working, they’ve been pushing me as well. I’m very creative but it’s refreshing to not have to think of every single thing and to bounce ideas off of each other.


Q: How involved of the recording, production and videos are you?


JW: Very! They tell me I’m the icon of the group so they don’t want to mess up anything I built (laughs) so they have a great amount of respect for me but what I want people to know is that it’s not me telling these two young men what to do. We really are a collaborative effort…though I do have the final say (laughs). They do say as well though, ‘Before you shoot it down, just listen’ and I do listen and I really haven’t. It’s cool.


Q: Did you design all your clothes for the videos?


JW: Everybody did their own. We all have our own vibes.


Q: My favourite is the black and white dress in The Mood video.


JW: Oh thank you! In that I just wanted to be the Goddess of Love. A lot of people asked why I didn’t have a love interest in that but it’s because I didn’t want one. I just wanted to be breezing through and beautiful. It was wonderful to get to film a video in Hawaii as we were doing shows down there. Again though, in this era, the videos with YouTube and things that like that are really helping to build the profile of the group. We had a great time filming them.


Jody Watley


Q: You’re a Grammy Award winning, multi-million album selling fashion icon, a stylist and dancer who acts on Broadway, runs her own record label, you are also a recipient of Billboard’s Lifetime Achievement Award and get to meet Presidents. That’s quite a CV….


JW: Yeah but I never think about it until it comes up. I’m just a young lady from Chicago who had dreams. A lot of veteran artists get very jaded and lose their enthusiasm in some ways, it becomes very routine but I always feel like I’m just starting out. I never think that I’ve done this that and the other and I think that’s why my enthusiasm continues. I’m just enjoying the journey. It’s important to be in the moment and this is the best time of my life I think. Some people talk about the good old days but I say the best days are now – we’re alive now. Memories are fantastic but if you always think the best is behind you then you’re not open to more beautiful opportunities.


Q: So at what point did the little girl from Chicago become the business woman of today - not a dancer and a singer? When did you start to learn?


JW: Well I’m still learning – it is a continuous process. The entrepreneurial side of me really started when I was a little girl. When I was in Jr High School, I could sew so I would make pillows and different little clothing items and sell them. I’ve always loved flowers and I would make paper mâché flowers, put a little perfume on it and sell them. I always had that and of course I was also interested in music. The song writing started at the same time: I would write poetry which turned into song writing. I started my label in ’95 which was inspired by Prince when he left Warner Brothers and started NPG. I wasn’t disgruntled with my label but I was aware that the form or record labels had changed from when I first started to them becoming more corporate. MCA which was my first solo label became Universal and it’s just like when George Michael sued CBS because it became Sony and he said ‘I didn’t sign to a software company’. That was very much a time when I thought I should take more of it on instead of waiting to get signed to another label. It’s just a continuous process.  


A couple of things from the past


Q: 25th November 1984, you are at Sarm West Studios with the elite of British Pop recording Do They Know It’s Christmas – what do you recall of that?


JW: Oh man! You know, to this day, it’s just so astounding to be a part of that. It was just everybody…Duran Duran who were my favourites, Sting…I just couldn’t believe I was in the room and that I got the opportunity. One of the funny things was that the only other women there were Bananarama and when people asked how they were I said they were horrible too me and blew cigarette smoke in my face a couple of times where everybody else was really nice. Then I reconnected with Siobhan a few years ago  - she lives in Los Angeles and we were at a disco called Georgio’s – and she was so sweet and we had a laugh about it. She said ‘Jody, we loved you. We were so hungover, didn’t know where we were blowing cigarette smoke!’ (laughs) None of us knew it would be the monumental record that it was though.


Q: Your Godfather was Jackie Wilson: what’s your favourite story he told you about the Rock ‘n’ Roll era or you have of his memory?


JW: He was the first guy to bring me on stage. I was very shy as a child and I would always be performing in my room but at that moment he saw something in me. He was great friends with my Mom and Dad and I was in the wings on the side of the stage watching him one night and he came over, took my hand and brought me on the stage and I just started dancing. I wasn’t afraid and it obviously probably changed my life but the thing I remember to this day is that he was the best smelling man I have ever known. When I think of Uncle Jackie – that’s what my brother and I used to call him – he smelt really good. He’s one of the great performers of all time, the women used to go crazy for him and I was so fortunate to have known him a little bit and for him to be my Godfather is amazing.


Q: There’s a little light that goes on in your eyes when you talk about him.


JW: (laughs) Yeah it’s pretty awesome. My Mom and Dad had a lot of friends in show business. Aretha Franklin has known me since I was a little girl and I just did her Christmas party where I sang two songs. She invited me along and ‘You really woke this crowd up’. I guess a lot of this comes from my parents and in many ways I was destined to be involved in some way in show business.


Q: Ms Watley, thank you very much.


JW: Wonderful – thank you.











Q:「Original」とか「Slow Dance」の詞は何がヒントになったのですか?















Q:私は「The Mood」の黒と白のドレスが気に入っているんですよ。

JW:そう、ありがとう!あのビデオでは、私は「愛の女神」になるつもりだったの。世間ではなぜ私に恋愛沙汰がないのかって言われるんだけど、私は一人だけに絞りたくないのよ。ただ愛のフィーリングを感じて、美しくありたいだけなの。ハワイでビデオを撮影できて最高だったわ。あそこでコンサートもしたしね。現代では、グループの実体を分かってもらうにはYou Tubeにビデオがアップされるということが役に立つわよね。ビデオを撮影するのはとても楽しいし。


Q:あなたはグラミー賞も獲得し、アルバムもマルチ・ミリオンセラーを記録し、ファッション界でもアイコンであり、スタイリスト、ダンサー、ブロードウェイの俳優も務め、ご自身のレーベルも運営されています。さらに ビルボード誌の「ライブタイム・アチーヴメント」賞も受賞され、大統領にも会われているという、八面六臂の・・・・・







Q:1984年11月25日、あなたはブリティッシュ・ポップ界のエリートたちと共にサーム・ウェスト・スタジオに居ましたね。「Do They Know It’s Christmas」をレコーディングするために。あの時の思い出は何かありますか?











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