Jody Watley Recently Revistied her 1991 Album “Affairs of The Heart” via her Stylefile Blog & in celebration of our “90’s R&B Special” we thought it would be a great addition!
In Case You Missed It: UB Jody Watley Interview!
The great thing about music is it’s always here for a fresh listen often free of long ago preconceived notions or expectation as a fan.
Music at the time of this release was shifting to rump shaking new jack swing, misogynist gangster rap / hip-hop, and a more ghetto-ized street aesthetic that major labels were eager to promote and market. I’d re watched “Eyes On The Prize” and the movie “Boyz In The Hood” around the same time and was very impacted by it.
MCA had been sold to Japanese electronics giant Matsushita and every executive involved in my first album was long gone (departing shortly after the release of my second album), play lists were on their way to becoming corporate and limited in their scope with FCC deregulation on the horizon.
I don’t regret not singing about shaking my ass. There was a lot of pressure at the time for me and I sacrificed the monetary support of my label to continue on my journey as the artist I wanted to become. I’d be lying if I told you I never looked back and asked myself what I was thinking. However, as Oprah would say ‘what I know for sure’ is that my desire to be authentic to who I am and to not succumb to just getting the cash is inescapable. I am who I am.
To their credit, I’m still grateful to MCA (Universal) for always allowing me from my solo debut until the end of my contract; to make the music and style statements I wanted to make. To co-write my songs, handpick my collaborators/producers, art directors, photographers, and so on. As a woman, that’s always a struggle because you are always under pressure to sex it up more and if you’re black to be “more street, and less sophisticated.”
One of the most amazing things that happened from this album was that I was invited to The White House by the President George Bush and First Lady Barbara after seeing me sing “It All Begins..” on Good Morning America in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day – which was in itself a poignant and meaningful opportunity. Regardless of politics, it was a huge honor for me and made the entire album worthwhile. Blessings don’t always come courtesy of the Hot 100 or the top of any chart – fans don’t know that.The universe has it’s own way. Singing that song for my father and having all of that happen took the sting of disappointment away from the lack of enthusiasm from commercial minded fans and skeptics. I made a speech about supporting public education to a bipartisan crowd. This is one of the things I was reminded of today while reading the post from Soulbounce.
All of my music was and is always from my heart regardless of the circumstance or what I’m working through in my personal life. I love music and respect the power of it as well beyond it being a means of entertainment.
There are so many favorites from ‘Affairs of The Heart’ I can’t name just one, but here a few brief anecdotes:
‘Stolen Moments’ – very special I wrote it while I was living in London post Shalamar as the result of a very unhealthy relationship that I felt powerless in.. “I don’t want to live in the back seat – so make your mind..” I was nearly in tears when I sang that line, it was really a plea to someone I loved and who’d led me to believe he felt the same, it’s my innocence and a coming of age in a way – we’ve all be there.
Stolen Moments also means a lot because it was also my nod to Motown which had been so inspirational for me as a little girl – the power of music and listening to songs on the radio..as I’m typing this actually – it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever done.
‘Affairs of The Heart’ – the title song is what I feel about music.
‘Commitment of Love’ – is one of my favorite vocals. I wanted it to be a spring/summer single at the time because I thought and still do, it was a wonderful potential wedding song.
The R&B crowd would never fully embrace me is what I was told by ‘the gatekeepers’ and close knit R&B syndicate. I didn’t /don’t fit a mode of comfort, outside the R&B mold, lingering resentments against me from my decades old Shalamar departure etc. – that’s another post of which I have many thoughts and observations in the realm of R&B.
‘I Want You’ – the jam
‘Strange Way’ – I was working through some things – I’ll just say it was awkward to record as a lot of my early songs were because I co-wrote it and was singing in studio the person it was about.
‘Until The Last Good-bye’ (written during a separation in my marriage)
‘I’m The One You Need’ (self confidence was growing – love the attitude, very
‘Looking For A New Love’ in a different way but with that empowering recognize your value vibe)
‘It All Begins With You’ (recorded to honor my father)