Wednesday’s News Tribune includes a Q&A with Mary Wilson, one of the founding members of The Supremes. Wilson performs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids. Tickets here.
The program, one of many projects Wilson is juggling, will include music made popular by the Supremes, Wilson’s solo work and stories about the group.
Wilson is also currently touring in a documentary-style play about Lena Horne, she’s showing items from her collection of the Supremes’ gowns at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, and she’s got a new single from her upcoming album “Life’s Been Good to Me,” available on iTunes and Amazon.com.
Here are the outtakes from the interview:
ON BEING THE KEEPER OF THE SUPREMES HISTORY
MW: I enjoy history. I always have. That’s my sideline. That’s what I do. If I had not been a Supreme, I would have wanted to have been one.
ON THE SUPREMES INFLUENCE ON CURRENT ACTS
MW: It’s amazing. Everyone who has interviewed me in the last month asked me that. That’s something that I’d never ever think about thinking.
I’m proud that we, the Supremes, were one of the influences of the generation. It feels like an honor.
ON WHAT WILSON LISTENS TO NOW
MW: The best music ever was made in the ’60s. That music was geared toward our generation. The music today is geared toward the young generation. Everyone will stick to the music they grew up with. The new music is always great for the generation of the day.
I appreciate the new talent, there are loads of new talent. I basically just listen to what I grew up with: Sinatra, Nancy Wilson, The Four Tops, The Temptations. That’s what I listen to today.
One of my favorite singers is Mariah Carey. She’s really fabulous.
ON WILSON’S NEW ALBUM
MW: I did pull from my own experiences and the writers and I collaborated. It’s a CD loosely based on my life. It’s biographical. Most of the songs I’m singing are what I think and what’s happening to me.
ON THE GROUP’S SIGNATURE FASHION
MW: That was not thrust upon us. We all enjoyed it, Flo (Florence Ballard), Diane (Diana Ross) and I, we all enjoyed dressing up. We loved being pretty and looking pretty. And in terms of our complete group, it was like what we liked to have. It worked for us. It became our image.
We grew up watching people Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, Dorothy Dandridge.
ON THE LENA HORNE SHOW
MW: This is the project of James Gavin, who wrote Lena Horne’s biography. He decided to put it up as a documentary-style play. He interviewed her and knew her well … as did I. I said I’d love to do it. It’s a different type of project: He shows a film clip, I sing some of her music, he reads from his book, we see pictures of Ms. Horne from her life. It’s kind of like a multi-media documentary.