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> INFORMATION Martha Reeves and the Vandellas play at the Waterfront on 18th December. Tickets available from

Martha Reeves was discovered at the age of 21, went and worked as a secretary at the peerless Motown Records before the opportunity came to join a rosta that included names like Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross, She went on, with her Vandellas, to make some of the best loved and most recognised songs of all time, including Heatwave, Dancing In Te Streets and Jimmy Mack. Still singing, still dancing, Martha still tours all over the world to let the good times roll and wear some dazzling outfits. I had the honour of speaking to the lady herself about how she got started singing, what about those amazing dresses, and what it was really like at Motown Records back in the 60’s.

14 / December 2016/

You were the third of 11 children – did that give you the desire to be noticed? I was given a talent because I prayed for it at a very early age. My mom taught me to remember lyrics and melodies while she was combing and braiding my hair, and I wanted to please her so I tried to remember the songs she taught me. I was the first girl in the family so I was her living doll – she pampered me and taught me to sing! What did your family think of your fame and fortune when it first happened? Well it was just an extension from singing in my grandfather’s church from the age of eight with my two older brothers. I left home at the age of 18 and had to return because I caught pneumonia, so at 21 I was ready to reach out and leave home. I then became aware of Motown

Records. I’d been in amateur contests and sang with other girl groups around the city, so when I was discovered at the age of 21 my dad said go for it. I’d been singing all my life and became famous only when someone discovered me, so my family was very cool with it. Tey knew I was always going to sing. You turned up at Motown Records at age 21 to audition, but ended up answering the phones! How did that happen? I was told to turn up for an audition, but afterwards I was told that I should have phoned ahead and it wouldn’t work just turning up without an appointment. William Stevenson was busy writing some songs for Marvin Gaye, who was a drummer on Motown’s drummer list at that time but trying to find a hit record for himself. When I arrived he was in the midst of

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