Speaking with Martha is the conversational equivalent of fly-on-the-walling your way through 60 years of black excellence. An integral component to the sounds that shaped a generation, a millennium, really, Martha High is one of the only pillars left standing of a foundational regime, singing from the wings, and then from the chest, of James Brown‘s blockbuster revues. She sharpened her chops and stage presence at the behest of The Godfather, who was never shy in coaching his supporting talent, no matter the cost to their wallet or his reputation, and can now proudly say that she wields what has to be the most hilariously-accurate JB impression that ever was. Itself worth all of the humble brag rights.
But all those years under the wing of a Titan hasn’t hardened her heart or jaded the seasoned vocalist in the least bit, in fact, she intends to publish a book this year on her time touring with The JBs and Bo Diddly before that. Her voice is warm, her disposition is something of a reserved elation, and if our talk was any indication, the winds of time have merely rolled off her back. Martha High may not have been the focal point of her past life as a an unspoken cornerstone to the James Brown sound, but in this new one, as she readies the release of her first solo album of original compositions, she’ll be front and center with no caped-crusader to steal the show, armed with 30 years of on-the-road experience supporting some of the best to ever do it.