1. How did you meet Siobhan Fahey?
I met Siobhan through my friend and songwriting partner, Richard Feldman. Siobhan and Dave [Stewart, of the Eurythmics], who were married at the time, moved into a house across the street from my friend Richard in the Los Angeles area. Siobhan was pregnant with her first child and was contemplating leaving the band she was in, Bananarama, to start her new brainchild, Shakespear's Sister. Richard started doing some writing with Siobhan and asked me if I'd like to join them and do some writing for Siobhan's record. I ended up doing some writing with them in Los Angeles and later in England.
2. How did you become an actual member of Shakespear's Sister?
On the first album, I was more of a "hired hand" so to speak, writing and contributing background vocals and playing instruments on the records. I was asked to become a member of the band when we were half way through the second album, Hormonally Yours. Siobhan's husband said to me, "You guys should be a band", and so did Richard Feldman. I was also asked by her management and her record company at the time, London records, to become a 50% member since I was contributing so much to the music and became integral to the sound. I helped write most of the songs, sang on the records and played several instruments including guitar, keyboards and harmonica.
3. How many albums did you do with Shakespear's Sister?
I only did two albums, our first one, Sacred Heart and then Hormonally Yours. We were together for about 5 years.
4. What were your biggest hits and what can you tell me about them?
"You're History" was our first hit, off our first album, Sacred Heart. This was in 1987 and it reached number 7 in the UK charts. For our second album, we had a few hits and singles:
"Goodbye Cruel World" was our first single from that album, but it didn't do too well right away so London records decided to go with "Stay" as our second single. I only found out later, Siobhan did not like the song and tried to do everything she could to prevent it from coming out. Chris Thomas ended up working on that song and mixing it for us instead of Alan Maulder, who was producing our album, both fantastic producers. "Stay", went to number 1 for 8 weeks in the UK charts and set the record for the longest running number one by a female band in UK history, and that record to this day, has not been broken. "Stay" also did quite well in the states, going to number 4 in the American Billboard charts, going gold, meaning it sold over 500,000 copies in America. It also did well all over Europe and we toured England and Europe extensively in 1992 on the tails of it's major success.
Other singles released from Hormonally Yours, were:
"I Don't Care"
"Hello, Turn Your Radio On"
"Goodbye Cruel World" which was re-released after the other singles died off.
5. Why did the band split up?
I think Siobhan and I were very different people which we both came to find out. Unfortunately there were internal conflicts that could just not be resolved. From my perspective, the beginning of the end was when "Stay" became our biggest hit. As I mentioned above, Siobhan was not happy about the release of "Stay" as a single as she felt and said many times, "it does not represent Shakespear's Sister". I think Siobhan was going through her own personal issues. I tried not to take it personally but it was difficult. There were lots of fights between us and considering it was supposed to be a wonderful time with lots of success, it was unfortunately filled with petty bickering and jealousies. I was accused of trying to steal the band away from her, ridiculed and pitted against constantly. Near the end of our touring of England in the late summer of 1992, we had just done a show in England in Westminster and Siobhan actually came up to me and apologized for her months of ill behavior. I just gave her a hug and said, "it's ok" and she just sobbed in my arms for several minutes.
I thought things were pretty good then. So, I went home to America and was joined by the band in Atlanta, Georgia, where we would kick off a 14 day tour of the states including playing in New York City, and Los Angeles and did the David Letterman show and Arsenio Hall show which was also big at the time.
Siobhan seemed a bit troubled but I just put it down to the stress of being away from her family, her husband and two young sons. I, of course, could relate, as I was away from my husband and young son as well.
Our last show was in San Francisco. We were driving back from the show to our hotel and I said to Siobhan, "Thanks for letting me know what it means to be a real artist". We hugged and all seemed ok. We then flew to New York where her husband Dave and management joined us for a show on MTV. That's where the sh*t hit the fan.
Siobhan looked particularly troubled and the next day, while in New York, her manager called me in my hotel room and asked me if he could come to my room and talk to me for a bit. So I said, sure. He came to the door, I let him in and he told me to have a seat. He then proceeded to tell me that Siobhan was struggling with some personal issues and he wasn't sure whether or not we would be doing our next, very important gig in London.
We all flew over to London where we were scheduled to play the Royal Albert Hall, which would have most likely been a real pinnacle of my/our career. There was a threat that Siobhan wanted to cancel the show due to her personal problems. So, I sat around in a hotel room for about 5 days and then I got a call from Siobhan. She said she was going to have to cancel the show. I completely understood and I felt really bad for her; but I have to admit I was disappointed. The last thing she said to me on the phone was, "One day, I'd just like to come over, sit down and have a cup of tea with you and be your friend".
I went back home to the states. A few months later I came over to the Uk to do a Smash Hits Christmas live show with Siobhan at Olympia Arena in London. Siobhan seemed troubled and I did feel bad for her, but I thought it was best to stay out of things and do my job and go home.
I was always going to do a solo album and that would come next. I was writing songs for it while we were on the road touring for Hormonally Yours. Siobhan was going to take that time off to be with her family.
Around February or March of 1993, I came over to London to work with who would be the producer of my Jewel album, Chris Thomas. While I was there, I attended the Ivor Novello Awards, a sort of publishers award ceremony for artists and writers. Our album Hormonally Yours was nominated for Best Contemporary Collection of Songs. We won. Siobhan was not there, but Dave was. I went up to the stage to accept the award along with Dave and Siobhan's then Publisher from EMI music. Dave read something, then Siobhan's publisher read out something from her saying: "I wish Marcy all the best for the future, all's well that end's well". The bomb dropped; I knew it was coming but I had no idea it was going to happen publicly. I couldn't wait to get back to my seat. I just hung my head and sobbed silently for about 5 minutes trying to let go all the stress, all the painful things I'd experienced especially in the last year.
6. Do you and Siobhan still speak?
Unfortunately not. But I certainly wish her well.
7. How did you get started in music?
I started singing in school at around age 6 or 7. I was always in school choirs and plays as well as quartets, sang duets, whatever, i just loved singing so much. I started playing the violin when I was 8 and played it for 4 years. I quit around age 12, it was just getting too hard! I could kick myself for quitting now. My father taught me how to play ukelele when i was about 10 which I loved. He also taught me how to play a little piano as well. I played accordion for a bit too. At age 12, my father bought me my first guitar: it was a red electric guitar by a company called Kanora. I started writing my own songs soon after and was in lots of talent shows at school and camp all through high school from age 14-18.
8. What made you decide to become a professional?
I had been singing a lot as i said in shows at school but also at my local hang, this park in the Detroit area. I was always singing, always had my guitar and doing lots of different songs from the Moody Blues, "Nights in White Satin" to Leon Russell songs, "Delta Lady", Elton John, "Holy Moses", Fred Neil, Ledbelly, Janis Joplin, the list goes on. I derived a lot of pleasure by immersing myself in music. Whenever I felt emotionally distressed I used to lock myself in my room and play and sing for hours, until I felt better. When I was about 18, I was at a park and feeling pretty awful due to the breakup of relationship that I was in which unfortunately ended in his being violent. My life was threatened, I was beaten and suffered from severe depression for many months. I was in this park, singing, and it was making me feel so much better. I just looked up at the sky and made a conscious decision and said out loud, "this is what I'm going to do with the rest of my life". It felt good to say it, I knew that's what I wanted so much. And so the journey began. At the time, I was attending a community college in the Detroit area. Art was my major, music my minor and sociology was 3rd on my list.
9. What was the first band you were ever in and where was it?
Once I made my conscious decision to be in a band, I put an ad on a very cool Detroit radio station called WABX. I put a want ad in saying "girl singer looking for blues band". Not too long after that, I got a call from a Ypsilanti based band [near the college town, Ann Arbor, about 40 minutes from Detroit] called "The Bad Luck and Troubles Blues Band". I went to sing with them and they hired me. We played around the Detroit area.
10. What would you say your first big break was?
Eventually, I got into a few other bands, even did a touring version of "Jesus Christ Superstar" for a while [I was the understudy for the leading female role of "Mary", but never got to do it. The lead never got sick!] I joined a few other bands in Detroit as well, a band called, "Radio King" and then I met these guys in a band called, "Julia". I ended up joining the band. One highlight was we got to open for David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust days at an amazing theatre in Detroit called, "The Fisher Theatre", beautiful place with great acoustics. That to me was pretty amazing even if we weren't allowed to be backstage when David was there.
One day we got a call from Bob Seger's manager. Bob was looking for a backing band, came to see us and hired us all. We ended up touring with Bob for almost a year, playing all over the South, Midwest, Southwest.
11. How did you end up singing with Leon Russell?
While I was working with Bob Seger, he fired the drummer and bass player of Julia, kept me and the guitarist, Bill Mueller a.k.a. Blue Miller [producer and cowriter of India Arie's best cd's and still touring with her] and hired two guys from Tulsa, Oklahoma: Jamie Oldaker on Drums and Dick Sims on keyboards and a percussionist named Sergio Pastora. They were young, great musicians, very good at lots of music and had just come from playing with a jazz artist named Phil Driscoll. I used to say Jamie's drumming sounded like a cannon, unmistakeable! We ended up touring and recording Bob's "Back in '72" album in Tulsa. I decided after about a year of working with Bob that I wanted to do my own music so I left the band. Jamie and Dick invited me to move to Tulsa to work with them. So, I moved there September 13th, 1973. I always wanted to be in Tulsa because it had a fantastic budding music scene. Shelter Records was there, headed by Denny Cordell and of course, Leon Russell, one of my musical mentors lived there. I should say, I loved Leon Russell's music so much, I had posters of him all over my bedroom walls. I told my mother one day, "see him? one day I'm going to sing with him!". She just smiled and nodded and said, "yeah, yeah". Well, living in Tulsa was a good decision. The first day I was there, I was doing a vocal session for someone who would become a good friend and songwriting partner, Richard Feldman. I had a band with Jamie and Dick and we were the big fish in the little pond! We packed the clubs we played in, had great musicians in our band. Leon Russell used to come in and jam with us as well as Carl Radle, bass player for Eric Clapton's Derek and the Dominoes, Delaney and Bonnie, Mad Dogs and Englishman, as well as J.J. Cale, and guys from the Gap Band.
I eventually ended up doing some vocal sessions for Leon and was asked to be in his band, doing vocals on his album, "Stop All That Jazz". The touring lasted for about 9 months. I had a solo song in the show and did a rendition of "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers. It was quite an experience.
12. How did you end up singing with Eric Clapton?
As I mentioned in the above paragraph, Carl Radle, used to come and jam with us all the time. Eric told Carl he was looking for a band to record and tour with and told Eric he should check us out. So, he came to Tulsa and jammed with us. He wanted to hire us all, but I already committed to going on tour with Leon. Jamie agreed to do the Leon tour but changed his mind and went with Eric. When the touring with Leon ended, I was asked to join Carl, Jamie, Dick and Eric down in Jamaica where they were recording an album, the second one, the one just after, the big success of 461 Ocean Boulevard. I ended up singing on many of the songs and then Eric asked me if I wanted to join the band after 3 days. Not being a complete idiot, I said yes! And I ended up touring with him that time for about 4 years all over the world and sang on many of his albums as well as having written some songs with him and for him.
13. What are the names of the songs you wrote and cowrote with and for Eric Clapton?
There are about 8 in total:
"Hungry", written with Dick Sims
"Innocent Times" written with Eric
"Lay Down Sally" written with Eric, George Terry [guitarist in Eric's band]
"The Core" written with Eric
"Roll It" written with Eric
"Promises" written mostly by Richard Feldman, but I helped with a few words and the title
"Walk Away" written with Richard Feldman
"Tangled in Love" written with Richard Feldman
14. What happened after your first stint with Eric Clapton?
During my last year of working with Eric, I decided to leave Tulsa and move to Los Angeles. We did some touring and in November 1977, it was announced, much to my dismay in a music magazine in the UK called, "Melody Maker" that I was no longer in the band. It took me a while to get this confirmed as people were ignoring my calls but it finally was. So, I decided to get busy in Los Angeles and carry on with my dream of doing my own record and music. For several years I was a very much in demand session singer and sang on records for lots of artists including:
Johnny Lee [Lookin' for Love]
Charlie Daniels Band
And also sang on some Film and TV Soundtracks for:
Times Square [with Robin Gibb]
Dirty Dancing [Harmonies for "I Had the Time of my Life" with Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley].
I ended up getting a record deal and did my own album called "Marcella" in 1982 on Epic Records.
I continued doing backing vocal sessions, met and toured with George Duke and Stanley Clarke in Japan.
I did some acting study with at the Lee Strasberg Institute and also with the late great, Milton Katselas at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. I appeared in a few plays in the Los Angeles area, getting great reviews especially for a singing role I had in a production at the Skylight Theatre in 1984.
15. How did you end up working with Eric Clapton again in 1985?
I wrote a song with Richard Feldman called "Tangled in Love". Jamie Oldaker who was still in Eric's band got the song to Eric. Eric loved it, was being produced by Phil Collins and I was invited to come down to Montserrat where they were recording. I was told to "bring a friend" to help sing some background vocals so I brought a great singer friend of mine named Shaun Murphy. We flew down to Montserrat, sang on many songs on the album and were asked to be in the band again which we both agreed to and ended up touring with Eric for about a year.
16. Why did you change your name to Marcella Detroit?
When I started working with Siobhan, she suggested I change my name to give me a sort of new lease of life and to get me disassociated with my background vocal past/entity. It seemed like a good idea at the time and people did see me differently and I got a whole fresh start.
17. How many solo albums have you done?
"Marcella" in 1982 on Epic Records
"Jewel" in 1994 on London Records
"Feeler" on AAA Records/Total/Bmg in 1996
"Dancing Madly Sideways" on my own indie label, 1999
"The Upside of Being Down" on my own indie label, Lo-Fi Records, 2005
18. What are your plans for the future in music?
Well, we're into Music 3.0 according the the music biz maven, Bobby Owsinski. He's written a book called Music 3.0 which talks about the new masters of the music world; new ways of marketing and distributing your music, using blogs and social media to promote your music; building and sustaining a fan base and making money in today's music world. The business has changed so much; but if you're not a technophobe or at least if you can get over yourself, there are ways to deal with the change and still continue to do what you love and what you were born to do: Simply to make music!! It seems to be easier now to communicate with your supporters and get your music out there. That's my intention. Check Bobby out at bobbyowsinski.com. I'm trying to soak up every page of info in that book! It's like a "bible" for independent artists.
All that being said, I'm going to use all that valuable information for the release of my upcoming solo cd. Please check my "latest news" page for regular updates.
19. Can you list the names of the producers you have worked with?
I have been very fortunate to have worked with some of the best producers of all time:
Leiber and Stoller
Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager
If I have missed any questions and not satisfied your curiosity, feel free to contact me with and suggestions on my FAQ's page!!
no news in this list.