Martha Wash – The GayRVA Interview
Even if you don’t know Martha Wash’s name, you know her amazing voice.
C & C Music Factory’s “Everybody Dance Now”? That’s her. The Weathergirls’ “It’s Raining Men?” That’s her, too.
Wash will be performing Saturday, September 24th at 7 p.m. as part of PrideFest 2011 at Kanawha Plaza. Chances are the only people in the audience who won’t be fans will be those who become fans after hearing her that evening.
So what’s the story with Martha? We asked and she told us.
GayRVA.com: When did you start singing?
Wash: I was three years old when I started. I grew up in church singing, first in youth choirs, then in adult choirs. In music classes at school, I always sang.
I started singing professionally as a back-up singer for Sylvester, then went on to record as part of the group Two Tons of Fun. Our first album did very, very well. Then we changed our name to the Weathergirls.
What’s the story behind “It’s Raining Men”?
It’s a classic now. We did not want to record that song, but the songwriter begged us to. Everybody had turned it down- Donna Summer, Cher, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand. We relented and recorded it in ninety minutes and walked out of there thinking that was it. Paul (the songwriter) pushed the song.
What’s the good, the bad and the ugly of working the Pride circuit?
Good: Meeting all the fans and them telling me their stories. They tell me what certain songs meant to them and that’s special.
Bad: The heat! It depends on where I am but sometimes it’s so hot!
Ugly: I’m so used to doing them that I know all the pitfalls. But dealing with committees and waiting for approval, probably that. They ask me to play and I say yes but they have to put it through their committees. I tell them to just get back with me when the committees have decided.
How does it feel being a gay icon?
Everybody tells me I am but I prefer to think of myself as a hard-working woman just like other women, My job is singing. That’s what I do.
Are you a club diva?
Musically, yes. As far as going out to clubs, not anymore. It’s not me, but there are still some (older people) out there twirling.
You stood up for yourself and getting credit for your voice. What happened?
With the C & C Music Factory video (for “Gonna Make You Sweat: Everybody Dance Now”), they replaced me in the video with a woman lip synching to my voice because of my size.
In any occupation, you hate to see somebody taking credit for work you know you did. It’s wrong. This was slightly after the whole Milli Vanilli thing and there was a backlash from the public.
But we settled it and I recorded another CD with them and went on tour with them. I got offered a recording contract, too.
If you hadn’t been a singer, what would you have been?
When I was younger, before getting into singing, I thought I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. I never pursued it and now I’m glad. That’s tough work and deserves hazardous duty pay. Maybe even combat pay.
What are you doing now?
I’m working on my CD now. The first single “I’ve Got You” is a great song. You should watch the video. I like to do music that inspires people and gets them from one day to the next. A lot of time people think they’re the only one going through something hard. I help them realize we’re not alone in this. We can all kind of survive this and move forward and get better.
Any last words about PrideFest?
Please come down and have a good time!
Karen Newton is a freelance writer and full-time nerd who isn’t happy unless she’s going out every night for food, music or art and blogging it at www.icouldgoonandon.blogspot.com.
Attorney General Mark Herring on VA PrideFest: ‘If there was ever a moment for love, courage, and yes—PRIDE!—this is it!’
The following letter is from Attorney General Mark Herring, which was featured in the 2016 Virginia PrideFest Pride Guide. You can read the guide in its entirety here, otherwise check out words from Herring, below: ———- If there was ever a moment for love, courage, and yes—PRIDE!—this is it! We have come so far together [...]September 20, 2016
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