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1981 :: Jody Watley

January 9, 2010

1981

Meet and go out on a date(s).

Grammys, 2nd March 1988

Jody wins Best New Artist and is congratulated with a kiss backstage by Michael.

Myspace, June 25, 2009

I first met Michael in 1981 when I was in Shalamar. I used to write him fan letters in 5th grade, and had his photo taped on my wall and school locker. I have so many thoughts right now of his impact on my life and my dreams as a child – seeing another child be so famous. I was in awe of Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five.

When I won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, Michael Jackson was the first person to greet me, he ran to me out of the darkness of the stage. He’d performed ‘Man in The Mirror’ and ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ – he grabbed me and kissed me on the cheek saying softly ‘I’m so happy for you” – already emotional from my own triumph – it was momentarily eclipsed by that moment with him – I couldn’t believe it. Michael Jackson had kissed me! I’ll never forget him. His incredible legacy in music will never be diminished and will remain forever influential.

Al Sharpton was right:

“Sharpton Michael did with music what they later did in sports politics and television and no controversy will erase the historic impact…”

Myspace, June 26th, 2009

I remember seeing you and hearing you for the first time.
I remember cutting out photo’s and posters taping them to my wall.
I remember moving to Los Angeles, and talking about you so much that my parents tired of hearing me speak of you – so much so that I had to give you another name for a while.
I remember scraping up pennies to buy SOUL Magazine, and later Right On! because you were always in them.
I remember living in a cheap motel during this time, as our family had fallen on hard times, but vividly remember the inspiration I got from reading about you and looking at those pictures.

I remember looking at photo’s of your family and wondering what it was like to be a Jackson.
I remember feeling proud as I looked at your family, somehow seeing myself in you and knowing my friends felt the same.
I remember how we talked about you at school, and danced to your songs in the school gym.
I remember taping your photo to my locker and in the hollow of my desk just to keep you near.
I remember every time I would lift that desk top, I’d see your face smiling back at me.
I remember dancing, singing and dreaming to your music.
I remember crying to songs like ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, and ‘I Don’t Know Why I Love You’ in my room.
I remember the cartoon, the TV specials, singing with Diana Ross and Cher..and so much more.

I remember writing the first piece of fan mail I wrote: ‘Dear Michael’.
I remember writing to you often – as if you could hear me.
I remember thinking I was going to grow up and be Mrs. Michael Jackson.

I remember not having enough money for a concert ticket for a Jackson Five concert at The Forum in Inglewood CA.
I remember what it felt like for my family to be going through such a tough time, and how your music and that of other’s got me through.

I remember walking the perimeter of the Forum with my Mom in tears, as I could hear the music and screams of the lucky girls inside – as I was panic stricken and pacing from the outside.
I remember begging to get in to no avail to each door attendant,
I remember being desperate enough to lie and say I’d lost my ticket.
I remember my heart that night, I loved Michael Jackson.
I remember how hard my Mom tried to get me close.
I remember sobbing even more and the joy I felt when one of the door attendants finally let my Mom and I go in, as the intro of the last song of the night -’The Love You Save’ reverberated nearly drowned out by the volumes of screams from all the kids who felt just like me.

I remember as soon as we got in – the fans rushing the stage and all I had was a brief glimpse, as it seemed the entire arena shifted to the stage.
I remember how soon it was all over. Lights on. Empty stage.

I remember how I continued to love all of the other albums that weren’t as popular like ‘Skywriter’, and ‘Moving Violation’ as you and your brothers continued to grow up – as I was growing up too.
I remember how I could get completely lost staring at every album cover that had your face on it as a child.

I remember meeting you for the first time, and being in awe of the fate that would make such a thing happen.
I remember you and your younger sister Janet coming to watch Shalamar shows from the side of the stage with Groucho Marx glasses with the fake nose and moustache at Disneyland – peering from the side curtain.
I remember your brothers trying to hook us up, because I put ‘”Jody Watley Loves Michael Jackson” on the back of Shalamar’s ‘Three For Love’ album, underneath my photo with the caption: “Loves..”
I remember the first time I heard ‘Off The Wall’, and how much I loved it and still do.
I remember…

I remember being in the audience with my friend Jermaine Stewart at the Motown 25th..
I remember feeling the electricity that night, and your words “I like the old songs..but I like the new ones better” before you went into Billie Jean.
I remember how you changed the game of music.
I remember how you changed music video.
I remember where I was when I first saw the mini movie ‘Thriller’.
I remember how everyone anticipated your world premiere videos on MTV.
I remember all of your iconic performances on The Grammy’s and American Music Awards, and so much more.
I remember being nominated in categories with you and knowing I didn’t stand a chance.

I remember that you are the first person who greeted me after I won my own Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1988 and smile to this day because as joyous and in shock as I was…

I remember that you emerged from the darkness of back stage at Radio City Music Hall ran to me, gave me a big hug, kissed my right cheek and said in your Michael Jackson voice “I’m so happy for you”
I remember thinking how I would have never imagined that moment with someone who had such a huge impact on my life.
I remember thinking you were magical and..

I remember thinking ‘I was just kissed by MICHAEL JACKSON and how it nearly eclipsed even winning the award.

I remember how obsessed my daughter and her friends were when they were old enough to discover your music, and how many times we tried to do the choreography to Thriller, and Beat It.
I remember our family trip to Disneyland so we could see your Captain EO attraction.
I remember the joy.

I remember that the never to be seen again international success of Thriller seemed to give you so much – but the aftermath of such fame seemed to take even more.

I remember feeling angst at your trials, and saddened by the bubble your unparalled success seemed to create.

I remember thinking how lonely your life must be, and how you tried to fill the voids in ways we can’t understand.

I remember that despite your struggles thinking you are one bad ass dude. The greatest of a generation and for all time.

I remember how you have touched the world.

I remember how much I love your music, watching you dance, and listening to your distinctive voice.

I remember the influence of Jackie Wilson, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and James Brown in your work.

I remember the influence of Michael Jackson in others.

I remember these things and so much more..

I remember the shock I felt at hearing the tragic news, and the tears that followed.

I remember thinking a piece of my own childhood went with you.

I will always remember the time I had with you.

May your deepest sadness be healed. May your soul now rest peace.
Posted by Jody Watley at 9:16 AM

Jody Watley Michael Jackson Tribute video

I tried to find a way to express my heartbreak over the death of an artist I have loved since I was ten. The crowd noise in the clip couldn’t be helped – but the sentiment is there. Filmed June 28, 2009. My thoughts and prayers go to Michael’s children and family.

Myspace, 1 July, 2009

This was rough, spontaneous on June 28, 2009 in Minneapolis. The crowd is a little boisterous, but they sing along in the end – to help me TRY to salute and pay homage to Michael. I was choked up throughout – and as I talked beforehand, but my heart was in the right place :-)

I will put something together with my band to include in my concerts later this summer.

As the media in the U.S. works overtime to degrade his legacy, showing insensitivity and disrespect to his children who he was raising and and to The Jackson family (Mom, sisters and brothers) – I will continue to celebrate the impact Michael Jackson had on me and millions of others around the world.

5 August, 2009

Ending the show with a dedication to Michael Jackson with “You Wanna Be Starting Something” allowed Jody to strut off stage, exactly the same way she strutted on.

Metro, 8th October, 2009

Is it true your Shalamar band-mate, Jeffrey Daniel, taught Michael Jackson how to moonwalk and body-pop?

I watched Oprah Winfrey do a recap of her interview with Michael Jackson from 1994 recently and, when she asked him about that, he said he learned it from some black kids in the ghetto. But I’ve heard that Jeffrey gave him a few pointers too.

Did Michael return the favour and teach you all a few moves?

No, but when I won the Grammy award for best new artist, Michael Jackson was the first person to greet me when I came off stage. He ran up to me and gave me a big hug and a kiss. It nearly eclipsed the moment of winning the award, which was probably one of the greatest moments in my life. I used to write Michael Jackson fan mail, I’ve always loved him. So I didn’t get the dance lessons, but I did get the kiss, and I’m quite happy to have that.

20 October, 2009

I mean, for me it was such a triumphant night, continues Jody, now in full flow: “And one thing I always remember about it actually is that the first person to greet me when I won was Michael Jackson! He ran up to me, hugged me, kissed me on the cheek, told me how happy he was for me… I mean, I’d written fan-letters to Michael when I was kid. So to find him waiting there for me just made the night even more magical… And, when I think about it now, it just makes me want to cry. Because obviously I was just so sad when he passed away.

10 January, 2010

The night was made even more magical when I was greeted by one of my music heroes, Michael Jackson. I was being escorted to the press room from the stage, and there he was. “I’m so happy for you,” he said, as he hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. “I was just kissed by Michael Jackson!!” I thought.

You can see me in the audience, at the end of his performance of “Man In The Mirror/The Way You Make Me Feel,” giving him a standing ovation. I loved Michael.

Jody Watley’s Facebook 29th August 2010

Jody Watley Michael Jackson. A Voice Like No Other. Born August 29, 1958

Michael Jackson – Never Can Say Goodbye acapella

Michael Jackson-Butterflies/ In Acapella

Jody Watley Beyond the magic of his voice – he also danced, moved and performed like no other. There Will Never BE Another Michael Jackson. I’m grateful for the joy he brought with his gifts from his childhood on..his legacy will live forever. This montage is one of my fav’s.

Michael Jackson Mega Video Mix 2009 by DJ_OXyGeNe_8 High Definition HD Best Quality

Jody Watley One of my fav’s from my youth.
The Jackson Five – 2-4-6-8 (Michael Jackson)

Jody Watley This is another childhood fav. His vocal is incredible, sang it as if his life depended on it….from the soul.
Don’t Know Why I Love You – Jackson 5

Jody Watley Glad to have grown up with such great music and to watch a career grow and evolve like Michaels..such an inspiration to so many.
Forever Came Today

Jody Watley And I remember all of my friends talking about this TV special (Bill Cosby was Snoop Newsworthy), and we bought the album when it came out. Did you see this?
Jackson 5 Five Maybe Tomorrow

Jody Watley They were all great, but who do you think I was pulling for and can you tell when you watch the clip? :-)

Jody Watley In keeping with the theme of today’s posts, as I celebrate and share with everyone who loved Michael who also celebrate this day of course I wanted Michael to win..and was stunned when he didn’t hence the ‘oh my’ response when the envelope was opened :-) Alicia was on the money! This was a special night.about an hour ago ·

2 comments

  1. Thank you Jodi. Your words go beyond the realm of words. They carry us through the beginning, through the joy, through the splendour, through the catastrophe – to the desolation of now.

    The Summer of 2009 will always be remembered as the winter that took our gift, and for those that have understanding it has been perhaps the hardest summer of our lives. And so it should be.

    Michael deserves nothing less.

    I wish I could have met Michael, felt for myself the force of that fire, seen first-hand the curious grace of that smile. Scorcese described Michael’s persona as ‘shamanistic’, Spielberg called him ‘an emotional star child’, Mark Romanek (director of Scream) remembers him as ‘metaphysical’, Anjelica Houston – ‘a meteor.’ Whatever the word used, all of these highly creative individuals were each in their way trying to convey the sense of difference they felt in Michael.

    You can hear it in every note of his songs, in his entire body of work. And his voice, my God, that voice. That soft yet hard, delicate yet bullet-bright force of power and beauty he could produce at will. It crept inside you when you heard it, tapped at the fortress of your innermost being, before offering – everything. It elevated the merely kinetic to the kaleidoscopic, music into magic and a thousand songs into the substance of the soul.

    Some say Michael should be thought of as nothing more than an 80’s artefact, a relic of the bad, brash, Lucas-filmed, pre-Aids, pre-9/11 years when we thought the whole world loved America and people adored their stars like the old movie idols from back in the day. But what they fail to realize is this: every kid I know is discovering Star Wars for the first time. The Sistine Chapel is no less beautiful now than it was when its painter first stepped down and exhaled. For true art is immortal and it lives forever.

    Michael often quoted Michelangelo – who famously said: ‘I will attempt to bind my soul to my work.’ This is what Michael Jackson did. He put all that young idealism, that thirst for freedom, that yearning to ‘move’ and be moved, his desire to be the best, his love and joy, his rage, his pain, his sorrow, his confusion and his loss – into his work.
    And when all the lies and the untruths have faded with time, and those predators who even now pick at his memory like vultures to the bone have finished their feasting; that work will remain.

    On June 25th the world knew a unity of sorts – a unity of grief for something we didn’t see coming. It was as if the whole world for a moment felt the slow agony of being that misunderstood, that lonely, and that betrayed. Michael is free now. He sings and dances amongst the worlds. In his leaving, becoming at once a symbol of our lost innocence and the possibilty of regaining that.

    And for those of us who know who, and what he was, and what he tried to do here – Michael Joseph Jackson will shine in our hearts for all time. I will not wave you off. I will say no farewells.

    The Immortals need no goodbyes.



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