Classics: Jody Watley -Real Love (Extended Version) (MCA)
Unhappy because she hardly got the songs she wrote to get a recording, Jody Watley came to leave Shalamar back in 1983. She would resurface 4 years after as a solo artist. This with her eponymous debut-album back in 1987 which spanned the memorable ‘Looking For A New Love’. But she would definitely get to a higher status 2 years after with ‘Larger Than Life’. With thanks to her ‘Real Love’ and ‘Friends’ singles.
Hard to resist to the appeal of ‘Real Love’ as a matter of fact. With a blowing production work by the likes of former Prince bassist André Cymone along with Jeff Lorber. Not to mention a more than convincing interpretation…
A quick look at Jody Watley‘s career tends to speak for itself. Showin’ how this talented lady has always had a clear idea as to what she wanted… If not what she didn’t! From her early days as a teen which would lead her to join Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniel as a member of Shalamar. Thus scoring classics such as ‘I Can Make You Feel Good’ and ‘The Second Time Around’. But also ‘For The Lover In You’ and ‘A Night To Remember’. This with production work by the likes of Leon F Sylvers III. To her sudden although already expected departure from the band back in 1983. Most likely due to artistic conflicts and disagreements within the group. Meanwhile having limited success getting songs she wrote recorded…
After 30 months in England, Jody returned to America, firmly decided to establish her identity as a solo artist. A goal she would soon achieve with the release of her eponymous debut album on MCA back in 1987. And, in the meantime, the memorable ‘Looking For A New Love’ (its lead single). And eventually duetting with the late George Michael on ‘Learn To Say No’ with production work by the likes of Bernard Edwards of the Chic fame.
Her follow up – ‘Larger Than Life’ – sold more than 4 million copies. Featuring gems such as ‘Real Love’. But also the influential ‘Friends’ featuring Eric B & Rakim. The first multi-format hit single which happened the formula of a Pop/R&B singer featuring a guest rapper with the custom full 16-bar verses and bridge concept.
Standing at the top, Watley nevertheless wanted to broaden her musical spectrum. Meanwhile lookin’ for more introspective themes as opposed to be seen as a Dance icon. ‘Affairs Of The Heart’, her third album, only had moderate success. She pursued this way though, releasing ‘Intimacy’ in 1993, meanwhile showing a real sensibility. Not enough though to be beating the current trends at the time geared towards the New Jack Swing sound.
Running on her own after her departure from MCA soon after the release of ‘Intimacy’, Jody went back under the spotlights in 1998. This with the release of of sixth album (‘Flower’). Including cuts such as ‘Off The Hook’ which received a remix courtesy of Masters At Work. The latter producing ‘I Love To Love’ which saw her sharing the duties with Roy Ayers 2 years after. ‘Saturday Night Experience’, the title track of her album of the likes seeing Ron Trent delivering one of his best remixes ever in 2001.
Always willing to explore new territories, Jody released her 2006 ‘The Makeover’ album with a myriad of luminaries. From King Britt to 4Hero. Not to mention Ron Trent and Mark De Clive-Lowe. This being her latest effort to date as a solo artist.
More recently, after becoming the legal registered owner of the Shalamar brand, she returned with two new partners. Although under the Shalamar Reloaded guise. A name she then shortened to SRL to avoid confusion. The band counting 3 single releases to date by the likes of ‘Slow Dance’ and ‘O.R.I.G.I.N.A.L.’. Not to mention the freshly squeezed ‘The Mood’, with a debut-album in the pipeline…