A singer, songwriter, producer, dancer, and businesswoman, Jody Watley is an architect of 21st-century pop. From her groundbreaking fusion of rap and R&B (“Friends,” a 1987 collaboration with hip-hop legends Eric B. & Rakim that became the first single in history to enter the Top 10 charts in R&B, pop, and dance) to her innovative personal branding of high fashion, street fashion, and music, Ms. Watley created the template for the contemporary pop star’s playbook.

The winner of the Best New Artist Grammy in 1987, Ms. Watley was ranked by Billboard in 2018 as one of the top 25 dance artists of all time and among the top 60 “Hot 100” female artists of all time. The Chicago native’s eclectic repertoire—R&B, hip-hop, house, jazz, pop, drum & bass, ambient, spoken word—conveys an eagerness to take artistic and aesthetic risks. After starting her own label, Avitone, in 1995, Ms. Watley has been an outspoken proponent of equality in support of the LGBT community. Her bold anthem “Affection” was banned on some mainstream radio stations because of its gay-inclusive lyrics.

In recent years, Ms. Watley has combined her thriving solo career with eclectic collaborations, including projects with modern funk impresario Dam-Funk, electro duo French Horn Rebellion, soul-folk singer Peter Harper, and the ensemble Jody Watley Featuring SRL. This group produced two Top 5 UK Soul Chart hits with “The Mood” and “The Passion” in 2018, along with the solo jazz bossa nova single “Waiting In Vain,” a surprise Top 10 Smooth Jazz hit.


Please wait...