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MARTHA REEVES Q & A

Question:

When did you realize you were going to be a singer?

Answer:

At the age of three I sang at my grandfathers church, Metropolitan A.M.E, in Detroit ( Elijah Joshau Reeves Sr.) along with my brothers Benny and Thomas in Detroit.

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Question:

Who are the Vandellas?

Answer:

Vandella is a word formed after Berry Gordy demanded a name, so that a newly recorded single could be released, and as we were formerly known as "THE DEL-PHI'S", we took the Del, and one of my idols is DELLA REESE who also hails from Detroit, a street named VAN DYKE and we formed VANDELLA'S. It's a name given to the back-ground singers that i have employed over the years. ROSALIND ASHFORD, ANNETTE HELTON, and GLORIA WILLLIAMSON, were the DEL-PHIS. Because of former contractual
stipulations, we had to come up with a new name for a song entitled "I'LL HAVE TO LET HIM GO", released in 1961. BETTY KELLEY, SANDRA JACKSON, SANDRA TILLEY, ALPHANETTE SILAS, VONCIELLE FAGGETT, PATTY HOWARD, CLYDIE KING, BARBARA KING, JANICE SINGLETON, LISA McCALL, DEBRA STEVERSON, JAISON EPPS, JAQUE SHELBY, EUDORA REEVES, REGINA CARGHILL, JEAN TRIMBLE, SALLI ALEXANDER, BERYL MARSDEN, CHERYL DANIELS, SANDY BOMAR, KRISTIE WOODARD, ROCHELLE YOUNG, MARION JOHNSON, DELPHINE REEVES, CAROLYN CRAWFORD, KAREN MCMURRAY, are just a small number of ladies who have graced my stage, and "
DANCED IN THE STREET."

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Question:

Who were the instructors at Motown Records?

Answer:

BERRY GORDY taught all of us stage presence and critiqued our performances, giving tips and good advice that we still apply today.
MAXINE POWELL was hired to turn all of the stars into fine , polished, personalities. She gave us a finishing course.
THOMAS "BEANS" BOWLES gave us our first bus tour experience and traveled with us on our debut tour, "THE MOTORTOWN REVUE".
MAURICE KING was a fine saxaphonist, arranger, and vocal coach. He taught us basic music theory, and prepared us for BROADWAY, THE COPACABANA, LATIN QUARTERS, ED SULLIVAN, and conducted for every MOTOWN act, his specialty BIG BANDS.
CHOLLY ATKINS known for his VAUDVILLE performance, sharing the top billings with his partner HONEY COLE, was known for his work with GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS joined the staff at MOTOWN'S ARTISTS DEVELOPEMENT DEPARTMENT, and made us all famous for our dance routines.
JOHNNY ALLEN was assistant arranger and accompianist for MAURICE KING.

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Question: How were you discovered?


Answer: THE DEL-PHI'S had one recording released on CHECK-MATE label and after graduation, we all had to seek employment. i tried a number of positions and would sing in nightclubs on weekends. WILLIAM R. STEVENSON, director of the ARTISTS AND REPRETOIRE DEPARTMENT of 'HITSVILLE U.S.A. approached me with a card, and invited me to come to audition. I immediately realized that this was the company with all the new, young, black artists like, THE MIRACLES, MARY WELLS, BARRETT STRONG, MARV JOHNSON, THE MARVELETTES, EDDIE HOLLAND, so i arrived there the next morning, asking for MR. STEVENSON, to be asked in return, "What are you doing here, we only hold auditions on the third Thursday of each month, answer this phone, I'll be right back", and he left me there. I waited for two or three hours for his return, answering phones, meeting all fifteen of the producers, and became the first secretary to be employed in that office. BERRY GORDY, (THE PRESIDENT), had heard a demonstration recording meant for another artist, and liked my voice. I hired the DEL-PHI'S for a recording session with MARVIN GAYE. Nine months after arriving at the residence at 2648 WEST GRAND BOULEVARD (now a museum), we boarded our first tour bus and "COME AND GET THESE MEMORIES", and "STUBBORN KINDA FELLOW" entered the top 100 charts of BILLBOARD, CASHBOX, AND RECORD WORLD simultaneously in 1962.

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Question:

Who were your influences?

Answer:

My brother BENNY REEVES was the first member of my musical family to go professional starting a gospel group named THE MOTORCITY TRAVELERS in 1954 and reheared on occassion in our home, and I listened and learned basic harmonies. In elementary school MRS EMILY WAGSTAFF, and in high school MR. ABRAHAM SILVER singled me out featuring me on solo's and presented me along with our choir, at large concert halls like the FORD AUDITORIUM and gave me a taste of large audiences presentations. I listened to artists like DINAH WASHINGTON, SARAH VAUGHN, DELLA REESE, LENA HORNE, GLORIA LYNNE, ELLA FITZGERALD, YUMA SUMAC, MORGANA KING, MARION ANDERSON, BILLY HOLIDAY, NINA SIMONE, NANCY WILSON, BETTY CARTER, AND ARETHA FRANKLIN, and spent most of my leisure listening to 78's and 45's.

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Question:

What are the highlights of your career?

Answer:

Being nominated and presented a GRAMMY by PHIL SILVER in WINDSOR, ONTARIO 1963.
Starring in theatre like:
THE APPOLLO, THE REGAL, THE UPTOWN, THE HOWARD, BROOKLYN FOX, DETROIT FOX, HOWARD STERN and WARFIELD.

TOP CLUBS such as:

THE TWENTY GRAND, ROOSTER TAIL, LATIN CASINO, TOP HAT, COPACABANA, GREEN LIGHT, COCONUT GROVE, CELLAR DOOR, PEPPERMINT LOUNGE, SUGAR SHACK, HARDROCK CAFES, MOTOWN CAFES, SPORTSMAN'S LOUNGE, PLAYBOY CLUBS, HARLEY-DAVIDSON CAFE, ACE'S PLACE,
CARTER BARON,BASIN STREET, MR. KELLY'S
BOMACS, BERTS, WINTERGARDEN, BOTTOM LINE, MUSIC CAFE, BLIND PIG, SPEAKEASY,RENO SWEENEYS,THE TRIP,LEO'S CASINO, and the list goes on CAESARS PALACE, THE HILTONS, THE SHERATONS, HARRAHS, RIA, SAHARA, SANDS, PALADIUM, MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, COLLISIUMS, AMPITHEATRE,GREEK THEATRE, MASONIC TEMPLE, COBO HALL, JOE LOUIS ARENA, PALACE, MEADOWBROOK, PINE KNOB, SHEA STADIUM, TIGER STADIUM, OLYMPIA, GREYSTONE, ACADIA, PEASE AUDITORIUM, BALI HOTELS, DIPLOMAT, ODEON THEATRE CIRCUIT, HOLLYWOOD BOWL,
MEDIA EXPOSURES:
DICK CLARK, ED SULLIVAN, MIKE AND MATTIE, GEORGE HAMILTON, SOUL TRAIN, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, TODAY, 20-20, HULLABULOO, SHINDIG, MIKE DOUGLAS,DINAH SHORE SHOW, MERV GRIFFIN, JOAN RIVERS, LES BROWN, HERALDO REVIERA, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, BLACK LAUGH-IN, DON KERSHNER'S ROCK CONCERT, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, SOLID GOLD, QUINCY, FAIRY TALES(MOVIE),MONTELLE WILLIAMS, LEEZA GIBBONS, REGGIS AND KATHIE LEE , ROSS'S PLACE, MOTOWN TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL, MOTOWN FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL, WOMEN OF ROCK SHOWTIME SPECIAL, READY STEADY GO, VIRGINIA GRAHAM, JERRY BLAVATT,PEOPLE ARE FUNNY, KELLY &COMPANY, COLE PORTER TRIBUTE A&E NETWORK, BEVERLY SILLS SPECIAL,ROSEVELT HOTEL E-ENTERTAINMENT SPECIAL, SUPERBOWL 1998 SAN DIEGO, MARVIN GAYE SPECIAL E-ENTERTAINMENT,

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Question:

Who are some of the artists you've performed with on Motown?

Answer:





The list include: MARVIN GAYE(recorded his first album singing background with ROSALIND ASHFORD, ANNETTE BEARD, AND GLORIA WILLIAMSON, such hits as "STUBBORN KINDA FELLA, HITCH HIKE, AND PRIDE AND JOY", THE MIRACLES,GINO PARKS, SAMMY WARD, HATTIE LITTLES, HERMAN GRIFFIN, CORNELL GUNTHER, JR. WALKER, THE ANDANTES, LA BRENDA BEN, CLARENCE PAUL, ANDRE WILLIAMS, ELGINS, CONTOURS, MARY WELLS, THE TEMPTATIONS, MARV JOHNSON, THE MARVELETTES, THE CONTOURS, THE SPINNERS, THE VELVELETTES, KIM WESTON, LITTLE STEVIE WONDER, (who I consider the most talented), THE SUPREMES, AND BILL MURRAY COMMEDIANE-MASTER OF CEREMONIES and THE FUNK BROTHERS.
New groups were signed in the late sixties that included GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS, THE JACKSON FIVE, THE ISLEY BROTHERS, ASHFORD AND SIMPSON, SOUPY SALES, THE FOUR TOPS, THE COMMODORES, LIONEL RICHIE,CHUCK JACKSON, CHRIS CLARK, RICK JAMES, BRENDA HOLLAWAY, EDWIN STARR, TAMMY TERRELL, SWEET JAMES AND THE FANTASTIC FOUR, THE ORIGINALS, THE LATIN COUNTS, THE VALADIERS, ASHFORD AND SIMPSON, RARE EARTH, PAT BOONE, BARBARA MCNEIR,BILLY ECKSTEIN, among others.

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Question:

What other international artists have you been featured with (non Motown artists)?

Answer:

THE BEACH BOYS were the first famous artists to present MARVIN GAYE AND THE VANDELLA'S
in concert opening for them at the DETROIT STATE FAIR in 1962.
When we appeared on the ED SULLIVAN SHOW, TOM JONES, AND WAYNE NEWTON, were also introducing new releases, and we closed the show with DANCING IN THE STREET in 1964.
We've had the thrill of performing with FLIP WILSON, RED FOXX, JAMES BROWN (DENNIS MILLER SHOW), ETTA JAMES, B.B.KING, BEVERLY SILLS, THE COASTERS, THE DRIFTERS, LITTLE ANTHONY AND THE IMPERIALS, THE SHERRELLS, THE CHIFFONS, THE FLAMINGO'S, HAROLD MELVIN AND THE BLUENOTES,BOB HOPE (OPERATION ENTERTAINMENT), THE BEATTLES, THE PRETTY THINGS, LULU AND THE LOVERS, DUSTY SPRINGFIELD, THE MOMMAS AND THE PAPAS, THE ROLLING STONES, PETULA CLARK, JAY LENO, RICHARD PRIOR, LOU RAWLES, THE SKYLINERS, PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS, CASEY AND THE SUNSHINE BAND, JOE COCKER, BOB MARLEY, BO DIDLEY, THE WHO, THE DOORS, THE BRYDS, CHUBBY CHECKER, MEL CARTER, TOMMY HUNT,THE RONNETTES, JOEY DEE AND THE STARLIGHTERS, THE JELLY BEANS, SLAPPY WHITE, DICK GREGORY, EARTHA KITT, JOE WILLIAMS, SAM COOKE, JOE SIMON, RAY CHARLES, CHAMBERS BROTHERS, JANIS JOPLIN, THE EVERLY BROTHERS, ELVIS PRESLEY, BOB DYLAN,GENE CHANDLER,JIMMY REED, THE TOKENS, THE FOUR SEASONS, THREE DOG NIGHT, FRANKIE LYMON AND THE TEENAGERS, TOMMY ROE, JOHN LEE HOOKER, JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP, DENISE WILLIAMS,DIONNE WARWICK, BARRY MANILOW, THE LARADOS, JIM NABORS,DEE SHARP, WOLFMAN JACK PETULA CLARK, STAPLE SINGERS, THE EMOTIONS, SUGAR-PIE DESANTO, DARLENE LOVE, BELINDA CARLISLE, GRACE SLICK, FREDA PAYNE,SAM & DAVE, OTIS REDDING, BARBARA LYNNE,LITTLE ESTHER PHILLIPS,WILLIAM GOLDEN,BOBBY VEE, SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE, HONECONES,FOUR SEASONS,THE STYLISTICS, JACKSON BROWN,THE CHANTELS, THE DELLS, JERRY BUTLER,THE CHI-LITES, BABY WASHINGTON, DORIS TROY, PATTI LABELLE AND THE BLUEBELLES, MAJOR LANCE, THE WHISPERS, THE OJAYS, WILSON PICKETT, WAYNE COCHRAN,BOBBY BLUE BLAND, GEORGIE FAME, BETTY EVERETT, MILLIE SMALL, THE YOUNG RASCALS,JOHN SABASTIAN,RUBY AND THE ROMANTICS, MAXINE BROWN, BRENDA LEE, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, THE TROGGS, JERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS, LITTLE EVA, LITTLE RICHARD, JOE SIMON, LESLIE GORE, JOE TEX, some of the worlds finest.

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