GRAMMY-winning artist Jody Watley was the recent guest for an installment of In The Boardroom, an educational series produced by The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter featuring interviews with past and present Academy Board members. Watley discussed her advice for aspiring artists, the importance of forming a solid team of advisors, personal branding, and developing a strong work ethic, among other topics.
"I have [a] motto that I use, 'It's 99 percent grind and 1 percent shine,'" said Watley. "The 1 percent is the finished product that people see. The 99 percent is the hard work [that] is not glamorous. … You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and work. It's a 24-hour process."
Born in Chicago, Watley was a member of R&B/soul trio Shalamar. The group went on to record hits such as "The Second Time Around," "Dancing In The Sheets" and "Dead Giveaway." The latter song earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in 1983. That same year, Watley departed Shalamar to embark on a solo career.
Signed to MCA Records, her self-titled debut solo album was released in 1987, reaching the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 and earning platinum status. That same year, Watley earned the coveted Best New Artist GRAMMY and a nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for her No. 2 hit "Looking For A New Love." Jody Watley also spawned the Top 10 hits "Don't You Want Me" and "Some Kind Of Lover." Watley co-wrote 11 of the 12 songs on her sophomore album, Larger Than Life, which featured the Top 10 hits "Real Love" (No. 2), "Everything" (No. 4) and "Friends" (No. 9). Released in 1991, Affairs Of The Heart spawned another Top 20 hit, "I'm The One You Need." Her catalog also includes Intimacy (1993), Affection (1995), Flower (1998), Midnight Lounge (2001), and The Makeover (2006). Watley is currently working on her 10th studio album, Chameleon.
Aside from music, Watley's interests include fashion, style and beauty, a combination she has successfully incorporated into her photo shoots and videos throughout her career. She shares her musings on these subjects via her official blog. Watley is a former member of The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter Board.