MARTHA WASH # SUN. 6/30 4:45 P.M.
STONEWALL MAIN STAGE PRESENTED BY BAYER
Martha Wash has a career that has stood the test of time. She has had massive pop hits such as “It’s Raining Men” and “Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).” Her voice is instantly recognizable. Her music has become a staple in the disco and club scenes. Her music makes you dance, makes you groove, and even makes you ask how’s the weather?
Wash is excited to be back at Pride St. Louis, “It’s been some years since I did St. Louis Pride, so I'm really looking forward to it. I will say you'll hear classics!”
Rolling Stone dubbed her “one of the most famous voices,” as her music is still used in commercials, sports events and still heard on airwaves. NPR called her “The Voice” and “The Queen of Clubland.” And at this point, she has earned her royal title!
Wash’s career started not in the club, but in church. Her musical roots are in gospel music, singing in her parents church by age two. She went on to study opera and tour Europe while still in high school, then becoming part of a contemporary gospel group called N.O.W. (News Of The World). This mix of classical and gospel training and experience accounts for her seemingly effortless transition, from ballads to dance music to pop.
“She merged a gospel voice into pop and dance music seamlessly,” says RuPaul, who collaborated with Wash on 1998’s “It’s Raining Men… the Sequel.” “Her voice speaks to both the church and a pop ear and was built to cut through the bass of a dance club. The timbre of her voice is so distinctive and beautiful. A lot of gospel-based singers have come and gone in dance music, but she is the one.”
Wash has been a part of the duo Two Tons Of Fun with Izora Rhodes —which evolved into The Weather Girls with the release of "It's Raining Men.” The Weather Girls rose after pairing with the king of disco, Sylvester, appearing on four of the singer’s albums, including hits like “(You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real” and “Dance (Disco Heat).” Performing with Sylvester resonated with LGBTQ+ audiences, securing Wash as an LGBTQ+ icon.
While Wash’s career dates the entire history of Pride, she has been able to see the fights that the LGBTQ+ community has had to endure. “That the fight for equality with my brothers and sisters continues. To be able to live in a country that doesn't make some people feel marginalized, and where "with liberty and justice for all" is a true pledge of allegiance and not a lie,” she says.
She is thankful for her LGBTQ+ audiences, and performing at Pride events. She says, “For that time frame, there's a space where the community can celebrate who they are, who they love and who loves them without fear of ostracize, hate, possible arrest or even death. They want to be treated as any other citizen in this country. Also, they just love a good party, right?”
The 40th Anniversary St. Louis PrideFest will be held the weekend of June 29-30, 2019 in downtown St Louis. Past attendance has seen over 200,000 people in Soldier's Memorial Park and at Sunday's annual Pride Parade presented by MasterCard (on Market Street from 8th to Union Station at 12 noon). More information can be found at PrideSTL.org.