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New Mary Wilson Interview airing February 5th

Posted in News on January 31st, 2011 by MaryWilson

Mary Wilson was recently interviewed by Premier Radio in the UK, discussing her upcoming UK tour, as well as her career, music, religion and charity work. The 25 minute interview will be airing on Saturday, February 5th at 8 PM (GMT) and 3 PM (Eastern time) on Premier Radio. Tune into Premier Radio, a digital radio station across the UK, Sky TV Radio Channel, Freeview Radio Channel or online by clicking here.

Supremes Star Mary Wilson Narrowly Missed Russian Airport Bombing

Posted in News on January 29th, 2011 by MaryWilson

From Showbiz411.com by Roger Friedman

Mary Wilson, legendary star of the Supremes, narrowly missed the Russian airport bombing on Monday.

Mary and her group were arriving in Russia on Monday just as Domodedovo Airport was bombed by terrorists. Thirty five people were killed.

“We were shaking in our boots,” Mary told me over the phone today from Krasnodar, near the Black Sea. She’s on tour for the US Embassy in Moscow via the Humpty Dumpty Institute, playing sold out shows and lecturing on the intersection of Motown and the US Civil Right Movement to sold out crowds. The boots she’s shaking in are pretty warm, too, considering it’s well below zero.

“Our plane landed at a different airport,” Mary told me, “and we had to take the train into Moscow. It was then that we heard about the bombing. We’re so upset for the families.”

Wilson frequently tours the world for the UN as an ambassador. She also tours a collection of her gowns from the Motown era; the exhibition is following her around Russia, heading to the Ukraine next. It would be a perfect installation at the Metropolitan Museum of New York’s Costume Institute.

Next Mary and her band head to Moscow for a series of dates.

The Humpty Dumpty Institute Press Release: Mary Wilson of the Supremes to Continue Tour in Russia

Posted in News on January 28th, 2011 by MaryWilson

January 27, 2011

New York City, N.Y. — HDI’s Spokesman, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, is currently performing and lecturing in Russia under a grant provided to the Humpty Dumpty Institute from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.  Miss Wilson arrived in Moscow on January 24th, shortly before the bombing of Domodedovo Airport.  Miss Wilson and her band are safe.  She wishes to express her sympathies to the victims and families of this terrorist act.

Miss Wilson is traveling in Russia and is lecturing on “American Values/American Ideals”:  The Intersection of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and Motown” from January 24-February 2.  While in Russia, she will lecture and perform in Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnodar, Sochi, and Moscow. Miss Wilson will then travel to Kiev, Ukraine, on February 3-5 under the auspices of U.S. Embassy in Kiev where she will open an exhibition of Supremes gowns in honor of Black History Month.

HDI is a Manhattan-based Institute that forges innovative public-private partnerships to find creative solutions to difficult humanitarian problems through a series of unique programs. Currently, HDI’s mandate is to improve U.S.-U.N. relations, to remove landmines around the world, and to help alleviate domestic and international hunger. To learn more about HDI’s international programs, please visit www.thehdi.org.

For a detailed schedule or to arrange interviews with any of the participants, please contact HDI Program Manager Steve Ginther at +1-212-944-7111, or by e-mail at steve.ginther@thehdi.org or HDI Executive Director Joe Merante at +7 910 384 5194 or jeo.merante@thehdi.org

Mary Wilson of The Supremes comes to Southport Theatre

Posted in Engagements on January 20th, 2011 by MaryWilson

From the Southport Visiter by Janine Yaqoob

THE first lady of Motown, Mary Wilson, is getting ready to perform at Southport Theatre as part of her UK tour.

Appearing as ‘Mary Wilson of the Original Supremes’, the soul superstar will be coming to town on Friday, March 4.

Fans of The Supremes will find themselves singing along to hits such as ‘Baby Love’, ‘Come See About Me’, ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’, ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’, ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’ and many more.

Mary, a founder member of the soulful vocal group, is sought after to entertain all over the world and even performed for President Bill Clinton in the White House for the Millennium Celebrations.

Still performing with the same passion as she did singing with the original Supremes, the world renowned celebrity is also using her fame and flair to promote humanitarian efforts to end hunger, raise AIDS awareness and encourage world peace.

The Supremes are the only group to have five consecutive No. 1 hits in America, and their success was replicated in the UK. They were the premier act of Motown Records during the 1960s.

Interest in the Supremes’ legacy was renewed after the release of the award-winning film “Dreamgirls,” in 2006.

Mary’s special guests, The Chi-Lites, will be joining the Motown legend on stage when she performs in Southport.

It is the first time the band has performed in the UK since 1984.

Their many hits include ‘Have You Seen Her’, ‘Oh Girl’, ‘Homely Girl’, ‘I Found Sunshine’, ‘Too Good To Be Forgotten’, ‘It’s Time For Love’ and ‘You Don’t Have To Go’.

In 2000 the Chi-Lites were inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame.

Mary Wilson of the Original Supremes comes to Southport Theatre on Friday, March 4. For tickets call 0844 847 2380 or visit www.southporttheatre.org.uk

Dreamgirl Mary Wilson

Posted in Engagements on January 20th, 2011 by MaryWilson

From the Kyiv Post by Nataliya Horban

Mary Wilson was a founder and singer of the legendary girl band the Supremes.

Topping the American charts with soul and blues songs through the 1960s, the band was breathing down The Beatles’ necks.

The Supremes fell apart in the ’70s, but Wilson carried on singing their songs. An award-winning movie “Dreamgirls,” featuring singer Beyonce, was based on the Supremes’ success story.

Today Wilson takes active part in charity and community work, addressing various humanitarian problems. She is also a writer and a motivational speaker, giving “Dare to Dream” speeches around the world.

Wilson will bring to Kyiv her collection of costumes “The Story of the Supremes from the Mary Wilson Collection.” It will be open for viewing in Ukrainian House from Feb. 4 to Feb. 14 free of charge.

Friday, Feb. 4, 7 p.m., National Music Academy, 11 Khreshchatyk St., metro Maidan Nezalezhnosti, 279-1242. Tickets: Hr 100-800

Mary Wilson, Pops give folks fun night of ’60s

Posted in News on January 20th, 2011 by MaryWilson

From Cincinnati.com by Janelle Gelfand

Mary Wilson admitted that she was “one of the girls behind Diana Ross singing the oohs and ahs and baby babies” when she was one of the original Supremes. On Saturday in Music Hall, she sang a hit parade of songs that many in the audience knew, word for word. And no one seemed to mind that her voice, unlike Diana’s, was husky, or that she often strained to reach a high note. 

The Cincinnati Pops show was a flashback to the ‘60s, with Wilson providing about an hour of Motown hits from the heyday of the Supremes, paired with classic standards such as “Body and Soul.” Complementing her show, guest conductor Matt Catingub opened the evening with other music of the era, including the Beatles, Herb Alpert and a fantastic medley of ‘60s TV theme songs.

Wilson looked the diva in a long black sequined gown, as she came out to a medley of “I Hear a Symphony,” “Love Child” “My World is Empty” and “Reflections.” Backed by her own band, two back-up singers and the Pops (which played about half of her set), she strolled the stage, chatted between numbers (she’ll be 67 in March, she’s on her way to Russia and she has eight grandchildren) and once invited people to come up and dance. (Two did.)

There’s no doubt that she owns this music – after all, she’s been singing it for 50 years, since Motown signed her at age 16. What fun it was to see her singing “Baby Love,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” while audience members clapped and swayed.

Vocally, she seemed most comfortable in a set of ballads more suited to her range. Her voice was smoky and warm in “Here’s to Life,” and she communicated its lyrics with style. She gave a nod to Sting in “Fields of Gold,” and to Joni Mitchell in a dreamy arrangement of “Both Sides Now.”

She was touchy about the movie “Dreamgirls,” saying, “It’s not about the Supremes” and joking that “I didn’t get paid.” But she said Jennifer Hudson’s character representing Florence Ballard rang true. To her friend Ballard, who died in 1976, Wilson dedicated a song from the film,” I Am Changing,” delivering her most emotional performance of the evening.

The crowd was on its feet as she concluded with “Someday We’ll Be Together,” the No. 1 hit of 1969.

Wilson brings supreme sound to Pops

Posted in News on January 17th, 2011 by MaryWilson

From Cincinnati.com by Janelle Gelfand

‘Baby Love,” “I Hear a Symphony” and “Stop! In the Name of Love” are Motown hits that take music lovers back to another time, another place. For Mary Wilson, founding member of The Supremes, it’s music that takes her back to the Brewster Projects of Detroit.

“It was a very special time, because it was a time when rock ‘n’ roll was still extremely new. We had come from that era of big band singers, jazz and those kinds of things. It was a very exciting time for the youth, and not just in the projects, for it was booming all over America,”says Wilson, by phone from her Las Vegas home.

Detroit was booming; the auto industry was thriving. And people were literally singing in the streets, with impromptu performances on street corners, Wilson says.

Wilson was just 13 when she started harmonizing with Florence Ballard, Betty McGlown and Diane (later Diana) Ross as the Primettes. Three years later, they replaced McGlown with Barbara Martin and signed with Motown. Martin dropped out and the remaining trio became one of the greatest female groups of all time: The Supremes.

Wilson, a Supreme from the beginning (1959) to the group’s end (1977) makes her Cincinnati Pops debut this weekend in Music Hall.

When the teens started singing in Brewster Projects, it was an extension of their school music classes.

“The school gave us our foundation,” says Wilson, 66, who still recalls the names of her music teachers at Northeastern High School. “You had the choirs and the glee clubs, and you had community centers and a lot of things where young people could go and experience different things in the arts.”

In the beginning, it was for fun. But soon, they realized their destiny was not singing on street corners.

“As we continued in school, and auditioned for Motown at the age of 16, we saw beyond that and saw that we were doing something different and special,” Wilson says.

When they signed with Motown founder Berry Gordy, they were already in awe of his stable of singers, which included The Miracles and Mary Wells.

“He took us under his wing,” Wilson says of Gordy. “The record industry, the movie industry – that was far above our heads. Here we were at 16, being able to rub shoulders with someone like Mr. Gordy who was already achieving, locally, in our community.”

Early on, the singers worked with songwriters such as Smokey Robinson. Eventually, Gordy put them with his top writing team, Holland-Dozier-Holland. The Supremes had an unprecedented 12 number-one hits. Their first hit record in 1964 catapulted them to international stardom.

Motown was, says Wilson, “a community of music,” with artists, writers and producers all under one roof.

“We felt we were in a building full of geniuses, because everyone was creating. It was just a wonderful vibe to work with them,” Wilson recalls. “There are lots of songs that are wonderful, and I hear them and it makes me so very happy. It takes me back to that time. Motown was one of those companies that fortunately had not just one hit record or one artist – they had many. I’ve always felt like it was like being in a Disneyland. It was all sort of infectious, but in a good way.”

But nothing lasts forever. Gordy eventually ousted Ballard, and in 1970, Ross went solo. For a while, Wilson tried to keep the trio going with singers Cindy Birdsong and Jean Terrell. But by 1977, she knew she could never recapture the magic of the original Supremes.

“We had run our course. So I just decided at that point, maybe it’s time to let go of the group idea,” she says.

A grandmother of eight, Wilson has written two books and continues to perform around the country and the world.

In 2003, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell named her a U.S. Cultural Ambassador, and she has taken many missions on behalf of the State Department. She is now preparing for a mission to Russia.

She is taking along an exhibit of the Supremes gowns. The display, which includes the Butterfly dresses they wore in their 1968 television special, was curated and displayed by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and has appeared at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She’s hoping for an American tour if she can find interested museums, she says.

Wilson has never lost her passion for music. As she spoke, she was sifting through photos for a CD cover for her latest album.

“Like a lot of people, you fall into your career and you know this is what you want to do the rest of your life. I think that’s the kind of thing Diane wanted, and Florence too. The idea of just being blessed with knowing what you want to do is something I wish on my children, and other children, because it really can give you a better life if you have a passion,” she says.

Happy New Year!

Posted in News on January 1st, 2011 by MaryWilson

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