Timing is everything. And on discothèque, the new album by Marcia Hines, Australia's undisputed queen of soul is right on time.
That idea was simple, really. Take Marcia Hines, a celebrated singer, survivor and sista, and nail that talent, force and authentic spirit to the most disco-tastic cuts ever.
The result is discothèque, 14 classic tracks built for boogie, back in the day, and right here, right now. The intention is fun. The flava is Marcia Hines.
"The most important thing about this album was making it the real deal. Keeping it real," explains Marcia. "I wanted to make these songs sound as real as the first time you heard them and capture those emotions. I want people to remember it, and relive it, because I'm going there," Marcia smiles. "People should come with me." That won't take much convincing.
Certainly, her adopted homeland Australia,and indeed the world at large, has always embraced the extraordinary career and changing times of Marcia Hines.
Her hits, with two million records sold worldwide, include You and Your Love Still Brings Me To My Knees. She is the theatre star of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. Marcia is a stage musical star, chart-topper, hitmaker, dancefloor diva and most recently, the voice of reason on Australian Idol's judging panel.
Yet, discothèque puts Marcia back in her favourite realm: performance.
Marcia worked with producer Paul Wiltshire, who has reconstructed the iconic grooves by The Brothers Johnson, The Trammps, Peaches And Herb, Stephanie Mills, and many, many more.
"Paul came back with some slamming tracks, with live strings and horns and all the stuff. Outstanding," recalls Marcia. "That makes it easier for a performer."
And Marcia has not underestimated the raw power of disco. From the locomotive charge of "Disco Inferno", to otherworldly octaves in "Best Of My Love", to "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Mills, a singer to whom Marcia is constantly compared, discothèque unfolds as intended.
"You have to make a conscious effort not to sound like anybody," Marcia says. "This is not karaoke. These are tunes that are steeped in history. To me, they are a proven formula and happening songs. So, I had to be myself."
Indeed, Marcia stays true to herself, and respects the song, in upbeat versions of "Blame It On The Boogie", "I'm Coming Out" and "Never Can Say Goodbye".
And Marcia's take on the Brothers Johnson hit, "Stomp", is a landmark collaboration with her daughter, singer Deni Hines. It is the first time Marcia and Deni have duetted on a track.
Asked why it took so long for this teaming to happen, Marcia replied: "This album made it right. It's a very natural thing for me to sing with Deni. We sing around home. She imitates me," Marcia laughs. "And I imitate her."
Marcia's caring spirit, as seen by millions of Australian Idol fans week after week, is probably worth copying, too. As with the happy fate that created discothèque, Marcia believes good timing put her in the Idol judges seat, and reinvented her for an entirely new generation.
"Idol made me realise, even more so, how much passion I have for this music industry," Marcia says. "We are all here to help each other." And Marcia readily admits her counsel to young hopefuls to lift the game, raise the bar, and be the best, is also her advice to herself.
"The great thing about Idol is it's put me under a magnifying glass. It makes me lift my game," Marcia says. "And anyway, you must never say something to somebody that you would not apply to yourself." Which is why the time is right for discothèque, and for Marcia Hines to return to the scene of the good times. She was there then. She is here now, applying the same magic, bringing the same truths.
"I was a disco honey," Marcia beams. "Every weekend, I was there, dancing with my friends, sweating like a dog, you know. As a black woman, the disco beat speaks to me. It takes me back to a tribal place. Disco reminds me of a happy and fun period. The only bad thing that happened were the clothes!"
But time has changed that. The time is right for discothèque. And Marcia Hines, as always, is right on time!