SUPER SINGER: Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes, backstage before her performance in Mackay.
SUPER SINGER: Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes, backstage before her performance in Mackay. Lee Constable

Interview: Motown diva Mary Wilson drops by


MARY Wilson is a true star of Motown. An original member of the Supremes, Ms Wilson has toured for over half a century, authored books and mingled with presidents. At 71 she's still going strong, and chatted to Daily Mercury reporter Lucy Smith while in Mackay.

Have you had a look around Mackay today?

I haven't had a chance, no, because it was kind of overcast and everything I didn't want to get my voice messed up. I've heard you're involved with Hillary Clinton's upcoming presidential campaign?

I wasn't when she ran before and I'm looking forward to being a part of it this time. Who knows, she may not call me. I believe that a woman should be the next president, they've had a black man so now it's time for a woman.

What issues do you think the next US president should address?

I would think, for America, and as I watch the news here, I think that poverty is something that really needs to be looked at. So much of what's happening in the US is that people don't have jobs. Education is another area that I think needs to be looked into.

How did you get to know Hillary?

I wouldn't say I'm good friends with her, but certainly I know her and I do know her well. I've always been, since the Supremes, political. We were endorsing Hubert Humphries back in the '60s. We've always been involved with world affairs, American affairs, the civil rights movement. We were always going with Dr King, when he was having his marches in Washington.

What do you think of reality TV shows like American Idol? Have they had positive or negative effects on the music industry?

I think it's both. American Idol and all these various spin-off shows, in one aspect it's good because it exposes everyone to a wider audience that they would not be exposed to without. But there's also something that's not so positive and that is a lot of times when we were starting out, we had a lot of opportunity to learn behind the scenes. You don't have billions of people watching you as you fall on your face. People need an opportunity to learn without everyone watching them make mistakes. That happens a lot in those shows, sometimes that can hurt you so deeply and damage you for life.

Do you think there are positives to the fact that in the music industry record sales are going down and now the revenue is coming from performances?

No, because it makes you work harder. Those of us who've been around for years, we don't want to work harder. I've been working for more than 57 years. I thought it was going to get better by now. I thought I'd be in an island here off the shores of Australia. Again, you look at the rappers, they've done some really great stuff. They're richer than we ever were.

Do you ever get tired of touring? Do you ever want to give it up?

Oh God no! It is tiring and it's hard work. People don't understand that unless you're really, really rich, you've got to work hard. I always say make sure you enjoy what you're doing, because you're going to have to work hard, but if you enjoy, well it's still fun.

Do you know how many concerts you've done over the years?

That would be good if someone could count them up, but I was never good at maths.

What has been a career highlight for you?

Very early on we did command performances and the Queen Mother was there. Prince Charles was there. Princess Margaret was there, and Princess Anne. That was just great because we were three little young girls who had made it big and we were doing command performances. That was like a fairytale.

Do you listen to much new music?

No I don't. I don't have time, first of all, but the other thing is that I'm still stuck in the '60s. There's nothing like the Temptations, the Four Tops. I'm stuck in the music I grew up with. It's the music I loved, it's the music I danced to. It still gives me that feeling.

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