Mervin Malone
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Mervin's 10 questions with award-winning singer/musician Jody Watley!

Aria is extremely honored to welcome one of the great musical pioneers of my youth (and my continued favorite today), Grammy-Award winning singer/musician, Jody Watley. Ms. Watley is the first celebrity participant in what will (hopefully) be a regular part of the Aria Music forum, 'Mervin's 10 questions with...'.

Thank you for inviting me to participate!

Seeing as you're a singer/musician, I'd like to begin the list with a discussion of one of your major musical influences, as well as the Grammy Awards. It's well-known to your fans that you are heavily influenced by Stevie Wonder. Indeed, in 1988, MTV featured you alongside Wonder and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan on a televised jam session, dubbed "Characters".

What Stevie Wonder full-length do you consider to be required listening?

Wow...tough one! Probably Songs in the Key of Life... Innervisons... the experimental Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants... Music of My Mind... I'd say this ARTIST is required listening — and give them those to start!

Stevie Wonder is an artist whose genius spans 4+ decades. As such, his musical output — much like that of yours and Prince's after him — must be judged in the context of each specific decade in which he has recorded. Which Stevie Wonder has most influenced you, Ms. Watley? The Motown child prodigy of the '60s; the culturally-sensitive rebel genius of the '70s; The pop/adult-contemporary star of the '80s; the urban contemporary Wonder of the '90s, or the current Stevie Wonder, {which sounds appealingly like his '70s self}?

He's a timeless artist, though I think he does too many runs now when he's singing! I simply admire that he continued to grow and do quality work — decade after decade; and he's a great humanitarian as well.

It seems I'm most influenced by male artists; I also love Prince; he's another one — a trailblazer — and he is another willing to do his music — his way, sink or swim!

What's your favorite Stevie Wonder song of all time?

Are you kidding?! That's far too difficult! "Too Shy To Say"; "As"; "If It's Magic"; "Creepin'"; Living For the City"; "All is Fair in Love" — I mean really! The term musical genius has been tossed around for many who don't come close, but I see Stevie Wonder as a true musical genius.

The 48th Annual Grammy Awards show was earlier this month; in the past, you have been featured as a presenter, nominee and winner...

Yes — I'm ready to be included again — as all of the above! Really — to perform on the show would be awesome. When I won 'Best New Artist', fellow nominee Terence Trent D'Arby performed and was also the strong favorite to win — not to mention he was on the almighty CBS Records (now SONY) — so I was positive that he'd win. They generally have a larger voting block — and more clout! But I was bummed when I found out I couldn't perform on the show...

What is your favorite Grammy performance of all time?

Janet Jackson — when she unveiled the 20" waist, circa Control. Michael Jackson, Kathleen Battle, Sting with Cheb Mami, Ella Fitzgerald — they usually have great performances — recently, John Legend was great. I wished Sly and the Family Stone could have rocked their hits without all the miscellaneous artists; it's like Stevie Wonder on the Superbowl! Really — these legends don't need any help! Well..ok.. perhaps Sly Stone was too unpredictable to go it alone!! I enjoyed Coldplay this year; also thought their song "Fix You" was worthy of a nomination...

What's your favorite Grammy win of all time?

Mine of course!!!

What's your biggest Grammy disappointment?

Nuyorican Soul should have been nominated when that record came out; it's
one of the best albums ever. Massive Attack's  Protection — I mean there
should be a Grammy Awards for the best of the underground! But really — if
someone comes up to me and they say '...your music got me through a tough
time', or that the music was a bright spot in their life, that's the best. I was stunned when Little Richard mentioned never having a Grammy the year I won; he was right — he's the architect of Rock and Roll.. Diana Ross should have one...

Now I'd like to switch gears and talk a little about you. You are an
artist who has paid her dues in the music industry and then some. You have experienced life before the camera, as part of a highly successful band and as an even more successful solo act. You've recorded eight studio albums, from your highly successful self-titled debut to the more recent "Midnight Lounge".

Of all your studio albums, which is your favorite?

It's always the one I'm working on, so right now it's The Makeover, which will be my ninth solo album; I'm SO excited about it! Midnight Lounge is a gem [I still play it]; Intimacy was before it's time — I won't go down the line, but each record has a part in my life. It's not just something I did to get paid — I put my heart into it! I'm told that's my dilemma — I take my music too personally!! But I think a true artist will do what's from the heart; I can sing all of my songs forever and not feel like 'oh man - what was I thinking?!!!' I write from my life and experiences, but what I'm most proud of is the quality I have managed to continue to raise over time...

What do you like LEAST about the commercial music industry?

This question would take me forever to answer, but it would be great that kids hear more than: 'shake that thang', 'back that thang up', 'shorty this', 'push up on that'. The title track, "The Makeover (Superstar)" — I wrote it with my 12 year old niece in mind — it's the anti-shorty song. It will also appeal to adults — the message is very broad.

What do you like LEAST about being famous?

I'm just glad I'm not Angelina Jolie or someone like that!

Fame often breeds misconceptions about a person. What do you feel is the biggest misconception that people — or more specifically the media —
have about you?

I just don't like the label, "80's diva" — it makes my skin crawl!!! It's like I'm being frozen in time — and I'm so NOT frozen!!! For one, my music has continued to chart, even as recently as 2005 — be it dance, R&B or Top 40 — and ''80s diva' just seems so cheesy! I'm an artist, songwriter and producer — and again — that tag just seems so wrong! Also, I don't see this label used with artists like Cyndi Lauper, (who came out around the time I did) and countless others that continue to work and tour don't get the '80s label. My friends, business associates and I are always perplexed as to why I do, when 'Grammy Award Winning Artist Jody Watley' shoud do!!!

I understand that most people live in a bubble controlled by mass consumption
and overexposure and unless they are really plugged into music — not the charts, but searching out quality music — my growth has been overlooked by the mass media. This is part of the reason I'm calling the album The Makeover; my music has been undergoing major renovation — for years!! So, when I do interviews this time around, I can use the title as a talking point.

This concludes Aria's 10 questions with award-winning singer/songwriter, Jody Watley. As you can see, we went slightly over 10 questions, but hey — it's Jody Watley! Be on the lookout for Ms. Watley's forthcoming The Makeover release. Also, you can visit Ms. Watley at, or

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Posted at 11:01 pm by Mervin Malone

Paket Umroh Murah
December 27, 2014   01:00 PM PST
September 21, 2010   02:52 PM PDT
I just linked this article on my facebook account. It’s an interesting read for everyone.
Da Sensualist
September 13, 2009   01:36 AM PDT
Thanks for this piece about Jody Watley. I'd always liked her, but didn't start really following her until "Midnight Lounge", one of the smoothest records I've ever heard. I think she'll rise back to prominence, it's only a matter of time. But I love that she doesn't really care about that anyway.
August 17, 2008   07:25 AM PDT
Thanks for im lookin 4 a new love
May 15, 2007   12:05 PM PDT
Ms. Watley, you're the best of all time...I love your music and always will. Richard from Kansas City
April 10, 2007   11:47 AM PDT
Ms. Watley, We love U !!!
Absolutely U Still Have It !!!
Stay Strong :-)
January 24, 2007   07:00 AM PST
she has salways been underrated !
she can perform as well as madonna, sings better than her and looks better than janet...they are all great artists of thier time but jody deserved so much more success than any pop /rnb artist i know !
"name" is absolutley right...jody is constant growth...tha major companies really fucked up the music scene !
jody is the living proove for that.
December 12, 2006   05:03 PM PST
im a fan and i would love to be her friend on myspace but since i cant iwant to say i love u and ur music and i will definitely be pickin up ur new album...
June 25, 2006   06:34 PM PDT
i wish i could meet her one day.
in germany she is not well known but i was crazy for her since day one until today .she really shows real and conctant growth with every album...her voice gets better and warmer with each album and if i was babyface i woul offer her a million dollar deal for an album cause she still rocks and they would sound perfect togethet since they both have simplicity and purity in thier music!
she is well conected with her devoted fans and she is down to earth...something whats really hard to find in these se
llout tits an ass days of music.i wish jody all the best. she is one of a kind!
June 9, 2006   11:23 AM PDT
April 16, 2006   11:40 AM PDT
Great interview! From her first album all the way up to Midnight Lounge, I've been impressed by her evolution as an artist. I'm really looking forward to her upcoming project!
February 23, 2006   02:36 PM PST
hell yes! you lucky bastard!!

good job.
February 23, 2006   07:49 AM PST
Great interview with Jody! Congratulations, and I look forward to your next interview.
February 22, 2006   09:03 AM PST
The place Ms. Jody Watley holds in my heart is beyond any words I could say. Thank the cosmos for her!!

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