WITH a career spanning more than 50 years, Motown legend Martha Reeves knows a thing or two about the music business.
She started singing at the tender age of three, winning chocolate covered candy at a talent contest at her family’s church, before being spotted by Motown A&R director Mickey Stevenson when she was 21.
The 73-year-old is coming to Bolton next month to perform timeless hits including Heat Wave, Nowhere to Run, Forget Me Not, Dancing in the Street and Jimmy Mack.
Motown’s ultimate soul diva and lead singer of the eternal girl group Martha and The Vandellas will grace the stage at the Albert Halls on Thursday, September 11.
Speaking of how she has seen the industry change over the years, she said: “The music business isn’t as much about music anymore. It’s videos, half-naked girls and beats.
“It’s not about how well you sing, interpret a song, or how good the songs are any more. Motown songs are memorable. Fifty years later, they are still fresh.”
She is currently on a tour, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary since the release of Dancing in the Street, taking the Motown sound to arenas, casinos, clubs, theatres and festivals across the globe.
She said: “I love audiences in the UK. They know all the songs and all of the words.
“They sing and they dance and they come to have a good time.
“My favourite place is on stage, whether it is a large arena, a theatre or a small club, giving and receiving the love that Motown music has afforded us.
“Every experience is a highlight because it is a gift from God. I’m having some new experiences this year, including performing on a train.
“We did a trip through the Sierra Mountains in California earlier this year and are doing a trip from Chicago to New Orleans in June.
“I have a cruise coming up in November. I suppose now we have to figure out how to do a show on an airplane.”
Being back on the road full-time and Martha admits she often feels homesick, as much now as she did travelling the globe four decades ago.
The mother-of-one and grandmother-of-three, from Detroit, said: “I miss home and family, and being able to work in my garden and cook my own food.
“One of my songs, Home to You, is about the experience of being on the road. I wrote it when I was on tour in the UK more than 40 years ago.
“I had just had my baby. The words are “been on the road too long, gotta have you in my arms, can’t wait to get home to you. Every day’s the same old grind, can’t get no peace of mind, I got to get back home to you.” People thought it was about missing a man, but it was about missing my son.”
Looking to the future and Martha, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, has plans for new music.
She said: “I have recorded some Christmas music and inspirational songs and am looking forward to recording some more new music.
“I got back on the charts in 2012 with I’m Not Leaving with Crystal Method. It went top 25 on the US dance charts. I’d love to do something like that again.”
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in Concert will be at the Albert Halls, Bolton, on Thursday, September 11 at 7.30pm.
Tickets cost £20 or £18 concessions. Call 01204 334400 or visit alberthalls-bolton.co.uk.