You may not know Martha Wash, but you definitely know her voice.
If you are familiar with “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” “It’s Raining Men!” and “Carry On”– either the original versions, club mixes or snippets in commercials – you know the powerhouse voice of the woman once known as The Queen of Clubland.
Well, the woman who earned eight No. 1 hits and another eight Top 10 hits on various Billboard Charts is releasing “Something Good,” her first album with all new material in nearly 20 years.
“I’m trying to move my career forward,” Wash said in a statement about why she went back to the studio. “I’ve been working all along, but people weren’t really seeing me unless they were coming to my shows. People know the music, but they need to see me.”
Wash cautioned, though, that “Something Good” shouldn’t be considered a comeback project. “Where have I been? I’ve been right here—working!”
Wash is an internationally-known artist and headliner, performing recently at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where she performed a tribute to dance music at the request of Nile Rogers, Quincy Jones, and founder Claude Nobs.
She started with Izora Armstead, singing background for Sylvester under the name Two Tons O’ Fun. Together, their dynamic, soulful voices can be heard on his signature song, “You Make Me Feel Mighty Real.” Eventually Wash and Armstead released their own recordings, including three Top 5 Billboard dance singles, “I Got the Feeling,” “Earth Can Be Just Like Heaven” and “Just Us.”
In 1982, they became The Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men” became a Grammy nominated hit. “Something Good” comes on the heels of the 30th anniversary of “It’s Raining Men.” Interestingly enough, Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, Cher, and Diana Ross all passed on the song co-written by Paul Shaffer, band leader for “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
In 1984, The Weather Girls lent their voices to Rebbie Jackson’s hit, “Centipede.” By the late ‘80s, they went their separate ways, and Wash launched her career as a solo artist.
Although best known for dance music, Wash said she decided to take some chances with “Something Good,” which focuses on pop/adult contemporary songs. The first single is the beautiful ballad “I’ve Got You,” which was written by Rony Goffer and Zach Adam, winner of the Billboard Songwriting Contest Pop Award.
“I’m just spreading my wings more and moving in another direction,” Wash said. “As long as you live you’re going to get a little older,” Wash says. “Are you going to keep doing the same things you were doing in your twenties when you get into your 50s? It’s about advancing and moving on.”
Wash also is known for standing her ground, legally.
She sang the lead vocals on C&C Music Factory’s 1991 No. 1 hit, “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now.)” In the accompanying music video, however, her vocals seemed to come out of the mouth of the group’s slender lead singer’s mouth. The heavier Wash was deemed unmarketable because of her size. Wash also wasn’t given proper credit and compensation on vocals she did for Black Box’s album, including Top 10 songs, “Everybody Everybody” and “Strike It Up, and Seduction’s “You’re My One and Only (True Love.)”
The songstress filed a lawsuit and won and her successful fight led to changes that make it mandatory for artists to receive accurate credits on albums and music videos.
Wash said she hopes the eight songs from “Something Good,” which she calls empowering, will inspire others to find their inner strength.
“Whatever song they listen to, I hope they get something positive out of it. I want them to think about themselves and about helping others,” she says.