It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 20 years since pop diva Jody Watley emerged from the shadows of the late seventies R&B group Shalamar to embark on a solo career that launched hits “Some Kind of Lover” and “Friends” in the late eighties, earning her a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1987.

“When I meet people now, they’ll say, ‘We miss you, what are you doing?’ ” says the fortysomething Watley, fresh from touring the Midwest. “But I’m still working, whether I have a hit record or not.” Although she’s been immersing herself in a number of independent music projects, working the underground European and Japanese dance scenes, and promoting the release of her latest dance, R&B and jazz album Midnight Soul, Watley affirms that her number one priority is parenting her two children — Arie, 10, and Lauren, 20, who attends college.

“I space my projects out and I take my kids with me,” says Watley, who makes sure her children do their fair share of chores while on tour. “I’ve always tried to have my solo career blend in with my life.”

With so many international music endeavors, Watley shows that being a career artist is a groove that’s truly in her heart

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