Sunday, December 17, 2006

Interview to Marva Whitney

Here we are ...Im very excite to have the pleasure and the privilege to make my Thang with Marva Whitney.

What was your taste in music at the beginning? And now ?

I grew up with the music in church. Later I really liked Dionne Warwick, Etta James and Tina Turner.

Is there anybody that inspired your style ?

My mother. She is playing in church with me still today.

How did you first approach making music after being a church singer?

I first toured with a gospel group called the Manning Singers. Later I went on the road Tommy and the Derbys, a classic R&B act.

How did you meet James Brown and how did the collaboration start?

James Brown was playing in Kansas City and my former manager Clarence Cooper got me an audition. Mr Brown's former musical director Alfred Pee Wee Ellis auditioned me and gave Mr Brown a tape. He then asked me to come into his dressing room and hired me on the spot. I went on the road with him right away.

You started with my favourite JB band of my favourite period, what do you
remember about that ?

It was a lot of work. 30 one-nighters in 30 days. They were a great band, that's for sure.

When did you start to do to your own thing?
After I left James I recorded a few tracks for T-Neck, later I married Ellis Taylor who recorded me for his Forte label.

Something I always like to ask. Could you describe the feeling, the vibe
and the sensations and the experience of living through that period at the
end of the 60?s

That's really hard to do, because when you are living it, you don't think about it. I was very young at that time and excited. Of course I loved the attention I was getting, but my party was while I was on stage. After that, I went to my room and that was it. But of course I went to Vietnam with Mr Brown, which was quite an experience.

When recording a track, how much space did you and the band have and how
much of that decision was taken by JB himself?

We had no space. He told me what to sing, but sometimes he would let me write my words. Sometimes I made them up while I was singing. I can't really speak for the band, because usually the tracks where already laid out when I came in.

Could you describe to me a typical working day in the recording studio?

There was never a typical recording day. We usually recorded on the road, on our off-days. Sometimes we'd cut at very unusual hours. "It's my thing" was recorded at 6 a.m.

What do you think about Funk, Soul, and the rebirth of these styles from
the 80?s till the present day.

I never really followed what was going on in the 80s. My son first told me that some groups had sampled my music, which made me upset at first. But there is a lot going on this days, my current band Osaka Monaurail is from Japan, and they sound exactly like the James Brown Orchestra from 1969. They take funk very seriously.

Your records are very expensive now...

.. and I don't get paid a dime.

Are you still in touch with JB and the other musicians ?

I see some of them when I work with my agency, Soulpower. Because they also work with Sweet Charles Sherrell, Bobby Byrd, Vicki Anderson, Martha High, Pee Wee Ellis. Martha is my close friend, so was Lyn Collins. I don't talk to Mr Brown, but his manager, Mr Bobbitt, usually calls me up when they are in Kansas City. But I never went to his show.

What are your future plans?

My new album is coming out in Japan this month, it will be released worldwide in February. I have been performing quite a bit this year, all over Europe and Japan. We are ready to go come back to Europe and Japan in 2007 and we will tour in Australia. And we will definetely record a new album next year. Marva Whitney is back!

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