One could never accuse Jody Watley of resting on her laurels. Recently, she's been busy promoting “The Mood,” the new single from SRL (Shalamar Reloaded). SRL is a whipsmart reconfiguration of Shalamar, the soul-pop trio Watley originated with Jeffrey Daniel and Howard Hewitt. The current line-up, rounded out by Nate Smith and Rosero McCoy, are heavily involved in the preparation of Bridges, the parent album for “The Mood.” SRL's hectic schedule had seemingly put Watley's solo endeavors into an inert state. This was a slightly disappointing, if understandable, sacrifice after the release of her excellent Paradise EP in 2014. So, the single-only debut of “Waiting in Vain” is a welcome surprise, though Watley and the Bob Marley chestnut already have history together.
She initially covered the song on her ninth studio album, The Makeover (2006). There, “Waiting in Vain” was given a sumptuous black dance music renovation. This version of “Waiting in Vain” favors a lush bossa nova form that doesn't short circuit the melancholy of Watley's warm, understated vocal presence. As an added bonus, she backs this take with two complementary remixes. To be able to reimagine an established Bob Marley composition twice over speaks to Watley's abilities as an interpretive force. While SRL may have its hand full with “The Mood” and Bridges, “Waiting in Vain” is a generous reminder of Watley's own gifts as an artist.
“Waiting in Vain” has been available as a downloadable single for a few weeks now, but today finds Watley unveiling the accompanying video, which you can watch below. She also graciously offered Albumism exclusive insight into the making of the beautifully filmed, Damien Sandoval directed video, explaining:
“There’s very little mystique in videos now from my perspective, and I wanted to capture that by being an enigmatic figure in the video film and not being literal with a story line, so to speak.
The idea first came to do something urban, against the lushness of the song and inspired by an on-location photo shoot. “Waiting in Vain” is filmed in black and white. Damien Sandoval, who I’ve worked with before on the first video for my group Jody Watley ft. SRL, was thrilled to film in black and white for an extra cinematic, epic-feeling element. In my history I’ve always worked with directors before they were super famous (David Fincher, Matthew Rolston to name a few), and so Damien is that new, gifted up-and-coming film talent.
I decided against a lot of fashion changes, opting for one strong look to be that figure we used to see in classic Hollywood westerns. Which is also why I opted for a distinct hat, so I commissioned a custom piece by Gladys Tamez Millinery, one of the emerging influencers and new fashion talents as well.
I appreciate the beauty of tango dancing and really wanted to incorporate that as well, this is something I’ve wanted to have in a video for ages. “Waiting in Vain” brings a bit of elegance, mystique and a touch of sensuality captured in the dance to the screen, with the distinct Jody Watley vibe as the sole centerpiece of the film.”