Shalamar is back with new music! But if you were expecting Howard Hewitt, Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel---the group's most popular line-up throughout the seventies and early eighties---think again.
Watley, a founding member of the popular trio, has launched a reboot of the group with new additions Nate Allen Smith and Rosero McCoy, and has released a video for their new single "Slow Dance." How nice...
...But where the hell is Howard and Jeffrey?
Well, Hewitt and Daniel have been touring internationally alongside Carolyn Griffey---daughter of the trio's creator and SOLAR Records founder, the late Dick Griffey---under the Shalamar name for years. But clearly, Watley wasn't with it, and soon took legal action.
According to Watley, she is the only one with legal rights to the group's name, and in a statement released in August. she wrote:
“I [Jody Watley] became the legal and registered trademark owner of Shalamar in May of 2014 after a thorough and lengthy examining process by the United States Patent Trademark Office.
The acquisition was prompted in part to gain control by the ongoing use and misuse of my likeness and the continued commerce generated from the foundation I helped to build decades ago.
There are former members currently trying to confuse the public giving the impression there are two groups when, in fact, there is only one legal, new and official Shalamar of which I am at the helm.
These brazen attempts seeking to undermine my rights are being handled by my attorneys regarding this matter.
Becoming owner allows me to revive the name for a new audience, to not get stuck in the safety net of nostalgia because I’m not interested in doing what I’ve already done. There is new merchandise for fans to purchase, with plans for new music and other exciting projects in the pipeline.
We have already begun building a social media presence beginning with a verified page on Facebook/ShalamarOfficial.
Joining me for the newly reloaded Shalamar are singer/dancer/choreographers Rosero McCoy and breakout young Ohio talent Nate Allen Smith.
Our dynamic stage show to which we’ve already been playing to sold-out audiences in the United States and Japan, with other scheduled concerts in the UK and Brazil breathes new life into classics “A Night To Remember,” “Take That To The Bank,” and “The Second Time Around” in a set that includes signature Jody Watley solo hits like “Friends,” “Looking For a New Love,” and “Don’t You Want Me,” as well as music from “Paradise.”
Granted this is a rather shrewd business move that has been done before by members of other bands. However, by all accounts this seems like a bitter move by Watley who has publicly not been able to shake the off-stage drama between her and Hewitt that led her to depart the group in 1983.
Founded in 1977 by Griffey and the late Soul Train creator Don Cornelius, the trio was comprised of Watley, Daniel, and Gary Mumford who was later replaced by George Brown in 1978. However, tension over money---or the lack thereof---led Brown to depart the group in 1979, and Hewitt was brought in. Together, Watley, Daniel and Hewitt (pictured above center) released five albums, before the later two members departed in 1983. In the years after the group went through a series of different line-ups that included members Micki Free, Delisa Davis, and Sydney Justin.
"We know some people yearn for the past, but this is now,” declared Jody's group on Facebook.
"Slow Dance" will be officially released on October 20.