R&B superstar Jody Watley took some cues from some of her favorite songs when prepping her single "Nightlife," the debut from her first album in seven years.
"Nightlife" is a feel good, soulful dance record that offers an uplifting message with lyrics like, "Life ain't easy. I feel like I want to get out. Have myself a good time."
During a recent three-part interview with Yahoo Music, Jody said songs like McFadden and Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" inspired "Nightlife."
"I started listening to some of those songs I had not heard in a long time and that even if you never heard it before it just lifts you up, the O'Jay's 'Message In Our Music,' Phyllis Hyman's 'You Know How to Love Me,' Shalamar's 'Night To Remember,'" she said in Part 1.
Jody said she wanted to give her listeners a reason to feel good about themselves. "A lot of music you can dance to but the message of it and there's no call to be fabulous, get your hair done, nails done," she said.
"Nightlife" will be featured on Jody's 2014 full-length release "Paradise" which is co-produced with various European musicians Count Da Money and Mark de Clive Lowe and will be among her most upbeat records in a while.
Also in Part 1, Jody discussed why she likes working with producers overseas and why she thinks some of music's most beloved recording artists may not have gotten record deals in the States.
In the second segment, Jody remembers getting her start in entertainment as a dancer on "Soul Train" when she was only 14-years-old. Just six months after moving to Los Angeles from Chicago, a church friend invited her to be his in fill-in dance partner on the popular syndicated show.
Even though Jody's guest appearance was a one-off deal, she remembered the location and returned every week to get on the show.
Her persistence and talent paid off and got the attention of "Soul Train" creator and host Don Cornelius who later handpicked Jody and her dance partner Jeffrey Daniels to be part of the group Shalamar that was signed to his Soul Train Records.
In Part 3, Jody reminisced about the early days in Shalamar, lineup changes, playing for small audiences, egos, bad contracts and finding the courage to go solo.
"I would never have had the success that I have if I never would have stepped out and believed in myself," she said.
Her solo career has afforded her nine albums, an independent label and the 1988 Best New Artist Grammy, among numerous other accolades.
Jody considers her Grammy win as one of her most significant accomplishments.
"I thought Terrence Trent D'Arby was going to win because he had the rock thing going, he performed on the Grammys that year," she said about the Grammy victory. "But it was probably the most triumphant thing that I could ever experience, especially, at that time, coming out of what I was up against. I felt like I was rewarded by God and the universe for believing and just stepping out there and going for it."
Video and editing: Robert Gardner