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The Okayplayer Interview: Jody Watley Speaks On Rakim, Soul Train + Reclaiming The Name ‘Shalamar’

The Okayplayer Interview: Jody Watley Speaks On Rakim, Soul Train + Reclaiming The Name ‘Shalamar’

Jody Watley in the Soul Train tunnel

Jody Watley with Rakim circa 1998
Jody Watley & Rakim, circa 1998

JW: We were in the studio together. That was interesting—he came with his posse and it was two different worlds but it was really cool. He just wanted to make sure, the whole time, that I dug what he wrote. I told him “just write your verses like they would be sung verses.” And I loved it. I didn’t ask him to change anything. It was perfect [the way he recorded it].

OKP: That’s inspiring to know–that you were actually in the studio, feeding off each other’s chemistry.

JW: I wish we had selfies and stuff back then!

OKP: Speaking of uncredited innovations, one of the other moments that stands out from that era of Jody Watley is the “Hasta La Vista, Baby” line (from “Looking For A New Love”), which became such a cultural catchphrase and moment…I’m sure you know what I’m referring to. Was that ever acknowledged?

JW: No. I think that my fans always say it, people will say “Arnold Schwarzenegger, he took your line. You should have trademarked it!”—true [laughs]. But I was kind of floored by the whole thing. It was authentic, though. I was upset with a guy who had done me wrong, and when I was writing the lyrics to it, I don’t even know where it came from. It was just “How can I say, y’know, “F you” but in a classy way?”

It just came into my mind, “Hasta la vista, baby.” And the “baby” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, because he punctuated it the same way, I was like, That’s my line! But it was cool. It’s one thing to have hit singles and to experience that, but to also be a part of those pop culture moments like that is really rewarding for me too.

OKP: On the record, it sounds like a spontaneous ad-lib. But was it something that you considered and wrote out as a written lyric for the song?

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JW: Yes. That was exactly the way I wanted to say it. I wrote it like that.

OKP: Did you ever have a chance to run in to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the years since then?

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