Jody Watley: Popâs Fashionista Godmother

Jody Watley: Pop’s Fashionista Godmother

The icon muses on her past, her comeback plans and why Rihanna owes her a debt of gratitude

Miles Marshall Lewis

by Miles Marshall Lewis, April 16, 2012

Jody Watley: Popâs Fashionista Godmother

Jody Watley

[for 1996’s “This Is for the Lover in You”], which they left out of Unsung. And we got together on my album for Atlantic called Flower—which they left out—that no one really knew about. But it was somewhat of a chemistry disaster. So there are other things that have happened that reminded me that some people never change.

But with regard to that, I’m still friendly with Gerald Brown. He was the second lead singer from Shalamar, but sort of like the original, because the first lead singer didn’t really last that long. Gerald is actually singing on a new song from my forthcoming work-in-progress. There’s a song I have that is kind of inspired by my love of disco-funk, they call it “future disco” now. I was listening to it and said, you know what? I should take it back to the original Shalamar, “Take That to the Bank.” You’re the first person I’ve actually told, it kind of slipped out. (laughs) The song is called “Nightlife.” It will be the first single, so that will be one of the versions of it, featuring Gerald Brown of Shalamar.

Gerald is a cool guy, he’s always been supportive over the years. No underlying shade or anything. Gerald was left out of Unsung, and he had friended me on Facebook. I asked him, “How come you weren’t in Unsung?” It bothered me. Like, if they could have the later people that nobody really knows about, no offense to them, but well, what about Gerald Brown? And he said they didn’t ask him to do it because he was comin’ with the truth. (laughs)

EBONY: What’s your timetable for the new album, Chameleon?

JW: I’ve probably been done twice. (laughs) I just continue to write and step away from it and think about it and come back to it. I think from what my idea of what Chameleon was going to be initially, it’s evolved into something that I am even more happy with, because it brings elements of my journey; makes sense for Gerald Brown to be on “Nightlife.”

Musically, it really is the full circle. I’ve always done dance music, and for the past decade I’ve done dance and electronica. I’ve had the pop thing. So it’s like different elements and they all fit together. I’m trying to finish it up. I’m like D’Angelo, still working on it. (laughs) But no, soon. My goal is summer 2012. But don’t hold me to it.

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