*Jody Watley & Shalamar Reloaded had barely returned home from Japan, where they performed in a live television special, when Watley called to tell me about their January 29th gig at the legendary Roxy in Los Angeles.
“Our audience is in for a few great surprises,” the pop and R & B legend enthusiastically shared. “The show will be opened by Grammy nominated artist / producer / songwriter / DJ Vikter Duplaix. He’ll set the vibe for the evening with choice cuts from the underground and the modern club soundscape, mixed with a few house classics. The first half of the show is Shalamar Reloaded. It’s high energy, and Nate and Rosero are absolutely amazing on stage.”
“Nate” and “Rosero” are Ohio native Nate Allen Smith and renowned choreographer Rosero McCoy, who’d worked with Usher, Beyonce, Toni Braxton, Justin Timberlake and others before assembling with Watley last year to form Shalamar Reloaded.
“We do our new single, ‘Slow Dance’, as well as put a new spin on a few Shalamar classics,” Watley continued. “And then there are a few new things that we do that are ambient and electronic. No one ever leaves our show disappointed!”
That has to be the understatement of the year. I was fortunate to catch Jody Watley & Shalamar Reloaded in concert last summer. Without taking anything away from Smith and McCoy, who more than held it down on both Shalamar classics and new material, Watley blew. My. Mind. Her striking beauty was second only to her still-sexy, incendiary vocals. She and Shalamar Reloaded completely captivated, and it was great to see a vintage artist still at the top of her game. I caught them at an open air concert venue, which was good: if the place had had a roof, Jody Watley & Shalamar Reloaded would have set it on fire!
For those who don’t know — who couldn’t know??? — Jody Watley is a founding member of Shalamar, performing on 70s and 80s hits like “Second Time Around”, “Make That Move”, “Full Of Fire”, “Sweeter As The Days Go By”, and “Dead Giveaway.” After leaving the group in 1983 — and I’ll tell you more of THAT story later — Watley launched a successful solo career with her 1987 eponymous debut album, featuring the smashes “Looking For A New Love”, “Still A Thrill”, and “Don’t You Want Me.” The album earned Watley the Best New Artist Grammy.
In my not-so-humble opinion, Watley gave Donna Summer’s “Love To Love You Baby” a serious run for the money for the sexiest vocal ever with the smoldering “I Want You” from her underrated Affairs Of The Heart album. If you’ve not heard it, make sure there’s a cigarette handy for after you’ve finished listening to the track — it’s that hot.
Watley told me she still loves performing “I Want You” — and lucky fans at the Roxy might get to hear it.
“After the first half of the show, Nate and Rosero leave and it’s all Jody Watley,” the 55 year old superstar promised. “We take it up several notches, and I do a combination of classics and new music. Somehow or another the audience decides they’re going to dance with me! And it’s just great — the whole concert feels like you’re on a magical, musical ride.”
And you can take THAT to the bank!
Click here for tickets to see Jody Watley and Shalamar Reloaded January 29th at the Roxy in LA.