Martha Wash: The Queen Of House Music

Abstract

Martha’s voice has dominated the airwaves, and her charisma and spirit have embraced millions of people around the world. She is responsible for some of the top-selling, most recognizable pop hits of the 80s and 90s. “It’s Raining Men”, the cult pop classic, is still heard everywhere… the radio, movies, commercials, TV. “Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” was the highlight of C&C Music Factory’s career, and sold 5 1/2 million copies worldwide. Black Box’s Dreamland featured four #1 Billboard Dance singles and three Top 40 hits including “Strike It Up”, a single that continues to receive massive airplay and is still heard at every NFL and NBA game everywhere! All of the above have achieved major success and all have one common denominator – Martha Wash. She is the heart and soul of dance music. “Martha Wash “The Collection”: was released in January 1998 on Logic Records/BMG, to honor her timelessness and her renowned presence that has been instrumental in shaping popular music as we hear it today.

Origins of a Queen

December 23, 1953 in San Fransico, Wash began singing when she was 3! She started her music career as a backup singer for Sylvester, who recorded soul, disco and other dance music. With Izora Rhodes, she was half of Two Tons O’ Fun, later renamed The Weather Girls. Their contribution provided much of the character of Sylvester’s earliest releases: their voices were often mixed so that Sylvester was actually the background singer and Wash’s and Rhodes’s voices were up front When they left to pursue a career on their own they achieved success with a number of disco-oriented tracks, culminating in the 1982 release “It’s Raining Men”, a worldwide hit which peaked at No. 2 on the UK singles chart, No. 1 in Australia, No. 1 on the Euro Hot 100, No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 34 on the U.S. R&B chart, and No. 1 on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Major Influences

MARTHA WASH MERGED A GOSPEL VOICE INTO POP AND DANCE MUSIC SEAMLESSLY – RUPAUL

Martha has become a legendary icon for the LBTQ community with her music, as her music has really driven the spirit of Pride. When “It’s Raining Men,” rocketed up the charts that year, the song became a camp classic, beloved for decades mostly in gay club culture where Wash has long been an icon.

Wash’s most receptive audience over the years has been predominantly gay. She says she’s seen positive changes there since her days in San Francisco with Sylvester, who died in 1988 from a complication of AIDS.

What’s Happening Now?

Martha believes that music is about branching out. She wishes to pursue other forms of music she loves, like standards and big band music, and Martha actually foresees herself completing a gospel album in the near future!

Discography

MARTHA WASH “The Original Weather Girl”
Twice Grammy Nominated

The voice of the massive #1 Pop Hit songs:
“It’s Raining Men”

“Sweat” (Everybody Dance Now)
“Strike It Up”
“Everybody, Everybody”

“Carry On”
“It’s My Time”

“Martha Wash “The Collection” assembles the most significant hits of the era and boasts a set of new songs that span the realms of dance, pop, R&B, and gospel. In addition to the aforementioned titles, the album features: “Taking Away Your Space”, which was written especially for her by the late Sylvester and “It’s True I Do” which was recorded while she was part of Two Tons of Fun; The award-winning duet with Jocelyn Brown “Keep On Jumpin”‘ from Todd Terry Presents Ready For A New Day, “Taking Over” also from C&C Music Factory’s last album; and from her self-titled RCA album, “Carry On”, “Give It To You”, and Martha’s personal favorite, “Someone Who Believes In You”.

The Collection’s highlights are three brand new recordings produced especially for this album: the inspirational “God Bless The Road” featuring an extraordinary gospel choir; the glorious anthem “Catch The Light” produced by the power west coast duo Richard ‘Humpty’ Vision and Pete Lorimer; and the passionate “Come”, blending African rhythms with the power and heart of club music. The new “Strike It Up” is produced by Jim Papoulis, and “It’s Raining Men…The Sequel”, “God Bless the Road”, and “Come”, were all produced by the maestro Gary “The Headman” Haase.

 

Martha Wash has called the eight songs on “Something Good” “empowering,” which is to dramatically understate the point. Wash, herself, who has encountered more than any artist’s fair share of adversity, is a patron saint of perseverance (Wash famously filed suit against Black Box and C&C Music Factory for failing to give her due credit for her lead vocals on their albums; the suit was in tandem with another case concerning the Milli Vanilli lip-syncing scandal of 1990).

This new record showcases her staggering impetuousness and optimism – not to mention her flawless, intonations – unlike any she has recorded before. “Whatever song [my fans] listen to,” says Wash, “I hope they get something positive out of it. I want them to think about themselves, and about helping others.”

 

References