in the stratosphere of musical icons, Mary Wilson is breathing rarefied air. As a third of the iconic girl group The Supremes, Wilson rocketed to the top of the charts and into the annals of pop music royalty, helping to blaze trails for groups like TLC and Destiny’s Child. Wilson continues to make her own kind of music, as well as expand into the world of publishing with two best selling autobiographies and as an icon for animal rights. Recently, Wilson’s single “Time To Move On” brought her back to the club’s dance floors all over the world, and we saw her hitting the dance floor on her own on the latest season of “Dancing With The Stars”. As Wilson releases her latest book, a coffee table book titled Supreme Glamour, she sat down with me for a chat. From what it was like diving back into some of her favorite times of The Supremes for Supreme Glamour and still getting love from the fans decades later to a recent turn on Dancing With The Stars, Mary Wilson has only begun her latest act.
Michael Cook: You were absolutely incredible this season on Dancing With The Stars. It looked like an opportunity to really just get out of your comfort zone and do something very different, is that fair to say?
Mary Wilson: I did, I had so much fun. I am always out of my comfort zone (laughs). The way that I live my life is that I am doing things all the time. I’m having fun, that’s how I look at life.
MC: You recently appeared at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ with Martha Reeves. It is so fantastic for the fans to get to see legends up there doing the music that was the soundtrack to so many people’s lives. Is it as much fun for you?
MW: It’s still great fun and every time it is different. I love working with Martha and working with audiences that love to come and see you. They know that they are coming to have it good time, so yeah it is fun, I have been going there for years as one of The Supremes, so it is always fun to get back to there. I was in Atlantic City last year, but it’s totally different than it was in the 1960’s. That whole scene was so much fun. I remember the White Diving Horse there, it was fantastic!
MC: Your new book Supreme Glamour is a colorful retrospective of everything that you have done. What was it like putting that all together?
MW: This is my third and a half book (laughs). It was great because I had already done the work with my previous books, in terms of doing the autobiography of Dreamgirl-My Life As A Supreme and Supreme Faith-Someday We’ll Be Together. Putting this together was not as much work as those two because I had already done it. However, this time I tried to do more of the wonderful colorful parts of The Supremes. Not so much every detail, but enough detail where you will get the history. It was fun because I worked with Mark Bego and he and I have done so many projects together, like other books and magazines. This was really fun, just gathering what we wanted to go into this. We didn’t want to put in everything, we just wanted to put enough where it would cover the career. I think we accomplished that and I hear it is on it’s way to doing very, very well, and I am definitely pleased about that.
MC: When you are going through a vast and storied career such as your own, it must be difficult to really pick out the highlights. How do you possibly choose?
MW: First of all, that is why you have editors and people like that. I actually have so much more than what is in the book, and that is really something. There may be another volume in hand also. What you have is not everything that I chose, let’s put it that way. Sometimes you just can’t put everything in. I think that what we came up with was great overall, and now I may come back and so something not as entailed as this one, but still things that were wonderful; it just may not have made the first draft.
MC: Your single “Time To Move On” ignited dance floors and it was amazing to hear Mary Wilson in the clubs again!
MW: Thank you! It is a shame that so much of the technology and history is no longer here, like the mom and pop record shops. You do lose a lot of good product that you don’t see on the radio and the majority of the people don’t hear it. Things like “Time To Move On” and a couple other projects that I have done, you just don’t hear them on the radio. I am so glad to hear you say that it was playing in the clubs like that!
MC: The LGBT community has been a huge supporter of you, both as a Supreme and throughout your solo career. What do you think it is that makes you and the LGBT community have such a great relationship?
MW: You know, it’s kind of like what we talked about with Dancing With the Stars and being taken out of your comfort zone. There are so many things that you do that people think are out of your comfort zone, but they really are not. What I really love about those fans is that they know everything, but as I mention, because you’re not on mainstream television and with the number one hits of today, people just don’t know it. What keeps me happy is that I keep doing things that people either like them or they don’t. It’s great to hear that people love projects like “Time To Move On”, it makes me feel great and I am sure other artists are the same way. When you are a little older and you are no longer on the charts, people may not think you are doing what you do, and you still are. It makes me very happy that people know what you do even if you are not on the top of the charts!
MC: Is there any music that you know that the crowd still goes absolutely crazy for when you perform live?
MW: Well first of all, when you do any of The Supremes songs they love those, that’s a given. Sometimes I am not sure what the venue is like, because sometimes they just want to hear the hits. I am the kind of artist that I can do those and I do a lot of those, but I can do other things, and other types and genres of music that I myself enjoy that I think I do best. I try to give a mixture of what I think people are going to enjoy. Not just the hits, not because I am more than the hits, but as Mary Wilson I still have to do things and songs that I enjoy that I think that I do well that will make the crowd happy. In the end, they may not be expecting it but I think from what I have seen, people go away saying “Wow we really enjoyed that, she didn’t do just the hits, she did other things too”!
MC: Do you think that we live in a world where we could ever see you and Diana Ross ever share the stage again?
MW: Well that question has been asked millions of times, you did frame it differently though (laughs). It is one of those things where you never know, you never know what is going to happen. I know the fans all over the world want that, so it’s kind of just up to fate. I have no idea….
MC: You have had an absolutely legendary career what would the Mary Wilson of today, who has accomplished so much, tell the Mary Wilson in the Brewster projects all those years ago who had those stars in her eyes?
MW: Well there was a song that I grew up singing that I absolutely adore; “Que Sera Sera, Whatever Will Be Will Be, The Future’s Not Ours To See…Que Sera Sera”…Whatever Will be Will Be”. I tell myself that and I have a photo of myself that is right by my bed and I wake up and look at her and I’m like “Whoa-Yeah you’re right”! The smile on my face is still the smile on my face now, even thought the shape is a little different. Still, I tell that little girl “you are still who I am” and I am so happy to have had this life to live to discover who I am. It’s like Popeye used to say, I Yam What I Yam and Dats What I Yam”. And you know what? I am very proud of that person.
Mary Wilson’s book Supreme Glamour is On Sale Now…
Art Courtesy-Mary Wilson ( Facebook)