Jody Vanessa Watley (born January 30, 1959) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and artist, whose music crosses genres including pop, R&B, jazz, dance, and electronic soul. During the late 1970s and early 1980s she was a member of the r&b/funk band Shalamar, who scored many hits, notably so in the UK. In 1988, she won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist (as a solo artist)[ and has been nominated for three Grammy awards.
In 2008, she was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Billboard magazine, and was also prominently featured in the historic black issue of Vogue Italia in 2008.
In December 2016, Billboard ranked her as the 21st most successful dance artist of all-time and in 2017 Black Music Honors TV special recognized Watley as Crossover Music Icon Honoree for her groundbreaking achievements and influence.
In August 2018, Billboard ranked Jody Watley as one of the top female artists of all-time, at number 53.
In March 2021, Jody Watley was named the First Ambassador of the National Museum of African American Music.
Shalamar is an American music group, primarily active in the 1970s and 1980s, that was originally a disco-driven vehicle created by Soul Train booking agent Dick Griffey and show creator Don Cornelius. They went on to be an influential dance trio, masterminded by Soul Train producer Don Cornelius. As noted in the British Hit Singles & Albums, they were regarded as fashion icons and trendsetters, and helped to introduce ‘body-popping’ to the United Kingdom. Their collective name ‘Shalamar’ was picked by Griffey.
Their first hit was the 1977 Motown-inspired production “Uptown Festival,” and released on Soul Train Records the success of which inspired Griffey and Don Cornelius to replace session singers with popular Soul Train dancers Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel to join original Shalamar lead singer Gary Mumford. Gerald Brown would take over the spot vacated by Mumford in 1978 for the Disco Gardens album which featured the hit “Take That To The Bank”. After conflicts over lack of payment from Dick Griffey and Solar Records, Brown would leave the group. Brown was replaced by Howard Hewett in 1979.
The group was joined up with producer Leon Sylvers III in 1979, signed with Griffey’s SOLAR Records and scored a US million seller with “The Second Time Around.” (Source: Wikipedia)