Marcella Detroit

Marcella Detroit

Singing with Eric Clapton on tour; San Bernardino, California; August 15, 1975. Photo: Matt Gibbons
Background information
Birth name Marcella Levy
Also known as Marcy Levy
Born June 21, 1952 (1952-06-21) (age 59)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Genres Rock
Pop
Occupations Singer
Songwriter
Musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active 1972–present
Associated acts Eric Clapton
Shakespears Sister
Bob Seger
Stanley Clarke
Website MarcellaDetroit.com

'Marcella Detroit (born Marcella Levy, June 21, 1952 Detroit, Michigan) is a vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter. She was a member of the band Shakespears Sister, along with Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama. Detroit's soprano[1] voice provided lead vocals on their biggest hit, "Stay," which was No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart for eight weeks in 1992.

Contents

Career

Detroit began playing with the Bob Seger band in the early 1970s, then toured and recorded with Leon Russell and the Gap Band in early 1974, before joining Eric Clapton’s band in September 1974. While working with Clapton, she wrote several songs with him, including "Lay Down Sally." After leaving Clapton's band, she did session work for a number of artists, including Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, Alice Cooper, Stanley Clarke and Bette Midler. In 1980, she duetted with Robin Gibb on the song "Help Me!," featured on the soundtrack of the film "Times Square." The single peaked at No. 50 in the USA. In 1981, she provided the singing voice for the character Frankie in Ralph Bakshi's animated movie American Pop. She recorded her first solo album, "Marcella," under her birth name, in 1982, and wrote material for Chaka Khan, Belinda Carlisle Al Jarreau and Phillip Bailey, amongst others. In 1985 she worked for Clapton again, and performed with him at Live Aid.

In 1988 she was introduced to Siobhan Fahey by mutual friend and producer and songwriter Richard Feldman. Together they wrote songs that formed the first Shakespears Sister album, "Sacred Heart," where Detroit also performed backing vocals. Shakespears Sister went on to achieve a UK top 10 hit with "You're History" in August 1989, although Detroit was still not a full member and the album only featured Fahey on the cover. At about this time she adopted the name Marcella Detroit, after her birthplace. By the second album the group had its biggest success in 1992 with the ballad "Stay," the only song by the group on which Detroit was the primary lead vocal. Tensions arose between Fahey and Detroit when Detroit hired her own manager and demanded 50% of Shakespears Sister. Fahey ended the partnership in 1993 and continued by herself as a solo artist and then again as Shakespears Sister.

After leaving the duo, Detroit, still signed to London Records, restarted her solo career and released the album Jewel in 1994. The album peaked at No. 15 in the UK and went gold, and she had three UK top 40 hits: "I Believe" (UK #11), "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" (a duet with Elton John) (UK #24), and "I'm No Angel" (UK #33). Dissatisfied with London Records, she left the label in 1995. She said she left as she felt London Records wanted her to become the next 'Annie Lennox'.

In 1996 she released the album "Feeler," under her own label AAA Records Ltd. Four singles were released off it: "I Hate You Now...," "Boy," "Flower" and "Somebody's Mother." She achieved commercial success in Australia and Japan with "Boy." When asked if "I Hate You Now..." was directed at Siobhan Fahey, Detroit has replied 'no', but she posted many comments about Fahey on her personal website. She later retracted these comments, saying her husband posted them and not her.

Her next album was 2001's "Dancing Madly Sideways," which was sold through her website. In 2002, she collaborated with Aurora, singing lead vocals in the cover "If You Could Read My Mind" and the original "To Die For," which were released on the group's self-titled album.

In 2004 she began using her birth name again, as she returned to her blues roots and started playing with Carlos Guitarlos. She also signed a publishing deal with A7 music and started writing music for Charlotte Church and Alex Parks, among others. In September 2006 she released a blues album, "The Upside of Being Down" under the name Marcy Levy Band.

In April 2007 she released digitally a pop/dance song called "Mystery to Me" with Loverush UK. In 2008, she collaborated with Swedish band Vacuum on the song "My Friend Misery," and with British band Rosie and the Goldbug on the track "Soldier Blues."

Other appearances have included a 1996 episode of "Absolutely Fabulous," in which Detroit played an angel (and performed a few songs alongside Marianne Faithfull), and the novelty album "The Simpsons Sing the Blues," on which Detroit was a vocal talent. One of her most recent recordings was with Alex Dixon, grandson of Willie Dixon, on his 2009 release "Rising From The Bushes," in which she appeared on two tracks: "Fantasy" and "Paint You A Picture".[2]

In January 2010 Detroit participated in the British ITV1 celebrity reality television program, "Popstar to Operastar." She finished as a joint semifinalist alongside Kym Marsh in week 5 of the competition. When the voting statistics were released it was revealed that she had more votes than Marsh; therefore she came third overall. She was also only three percent behind Darius Campbell, who went on to become the winner.

In May 2010 Marcella performed a full solo concert in Hyde Park to 17,000 people preparing to walk a marathon around London at night, during the 13th Playtex Moonwalk. At this concert she debuted her new single, the ballad "All Is Forgiven," which was released that same day through iTunes.

Personal life

Detroit is married to Lance Aston (one time member of Prima Donna and brother of Bucks Fizz star Jay Aston). They have a child, Maxwell, born in 1991.[3]

Discography

Studio albums

  • 1982: Marcella (as Marcy Levy)
  • 1994: Jewel
  • 1996: Feeler
  • 1997: Without Medication Plus MTV "Buzz Live" Japanese release
  • 1999: Abfab Songs
  • 2001: Dancing Madly Sideways
  • 2006: The Upside Of Being Down (as Marcy Levy Band)

Singles

Year Title Chart positions Album
U.S. UK[4]
1978 "Millie and Billie" (as Marcy Levy with Alice Cooper) - - From the Inside
1980 "Help Me!" (with Robin Gibb) 50 - Times Square OST
1982 "Close to Her" - - Marcella
1986 "Come and Follow Me" (with Max Carl) - - Short Circuit OST
1994 "I Believe" - 11 Jewel
"Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" (with Elton John) - 24
"I'm No Angel" - 33
1995 "Perfect World" - -
1996 "I Hate You Now..." - - Feeler
"Boy" - -
"Somebody's Mother" - -
1997 "Flower" - -
2001 "Lust for Like" - - Dancing Madly Sideways
2002 "If You Could Read My Mind" (with Aurora) - - Aurora
2007 "Mystery to Me" (with Loverush UK) - - -
2008 "My Friend Misery" (with Vacuum) - - -
2009 "You Better Be Good!" - - -
2010 "All Is Forgiven" - - -

Filmography

References

  1. ^ The Guardian, Information in regards to Shakespeares Sister Reunion
  2. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1607059
  3. ^ Close-up: Shakespear's Sister | Music News | Music | Entertainment Weekly
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 152. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

Further reading

  • Larkin, Colin. The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Guinness Publishing, 1992.

External links


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