From the sunny “Glamour Flows” to the inspiring “Soaring Free” and the slick “Don’t Forget My Name”, there is no doubt that singer Martha Wash is one of music’s most distinctive and powerful voices. These songs – all from her latest album Love & Conflict, have the former singer from The Weather Girls beguiling her listeners once again. Really, though, this chart topper and two-time Grammy nominee has never stopped wowing her audiences. Love & Conflict is the newest collection that should be in everyone’s musical library.
If you’re humming the vocals from “It’s Raining Men” and “Strike It Up” (Blackbox) then you are on the right track – Wash is that iconic voice sharing her amazing talents with audiences. Born and raised in San Francisco, Calif., Wash has a freeing mechanism she provides to her listeners. Free to be entertained, free to dance, free to accentuate the positives and free to be yourself while listening to her beautiful voice. She just has that power. Wash would likely be the first to admit her God-given talent grew exponentially in church services, but her heavenly voice became amplified to the masses while performing as a backup singer for disco’s Sylvester (“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Reel)”.
Love & Conflict has the perfect balance of emotional journeys. In “Like Fire” her vocal prowess is fierce, but there’s an emotional base that suggests she’s been wronged and she’s still hurting inside. She also sings songs that get you fired up thinking someone in your own life is doing you wrong. Don’t let them, Wash seems to pour out in the feisty “Never Enough Money” and “Rise and Shine”. Wash has vintage gospel and even some funky rock riffs in these songs, and as a listener there’s solace in knowing she’s still her, she’s still the force she’s always been. Still, in tracks like “Don’t Forget My Name” and “Honey My Friends” you feel like you’re witness a rebirth and renewal. She’s mixing all that she has from her background and dressing it up with some new sprockets, glam and funk. Even when her lyrics might suggest she’s a diva or has that sassy streak, I found it exhilarating to hear her powerful voice take that saxophone or jazz-laced organ to task. So many of these songs are true standouts, but if I had to choose a favorite, it would be “Don’t Forget My Name”. I felt this was almost biographical.
Wash worked with Canadian producers Sam Basbous, Felix Petit and Andrew David on her latest album. It’s released on her own Purple Rose Records (which makes me love her even more knowing she’s in control of her destiny). Wash released her self-titled debut album in February 1993. That album yielded the No. 1 US Billboard Dance Chart hits “Carry On” and “Give It To You”. Her sophomore album, Something Good, came out in January 2013. You can also hear Wash on the First Wives Club soundtrack (“I’m Still Standing”), Seduction’s “You’re My One and Only” and C + C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”.
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