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'FORWARD' - AN INTERVIEW WITH MARCIA BARRETT (PART 1)

 

Marcia Barrett, This name tells a lot to the people who are familiar with the story of Boney M. This pop group was one of the most important Eurodisco acts in the 1970s not only in Europe but also all over the world. While many years have passed since the original line-up performed together, it seems that the fanbase still is interested in them. Marcia Barrett, who represented the funkier and the rocker side of the formation, she is very active nowadays. The long-haired songstress has recorded two solo albums and several singles so far. Back to Boney M. times, her rich, husky alto voice was the key factor of the songs as well as the visual impact which she added to the formation.

Photo credits: © Marcia Barrett of Boney M. Facebook Site

Four weeks ago she came out with Forward: My Life With and Without Boney M. .This book is worth reading for fans, of course, however, it can be a guide for everybody who is interested in how this woman fought for her aims. I got in touch with Ms Barrett, who kindly offered me to talk about her life and her book on the phone.

- How did you come up with the idea to write a book about your life?

- This idea came up many years ago, you see. I have always loved writing. I started it in my schooldays, I kept a diary in order to write all the events and things, which happened to me. Later I created my own magazine, called ‘Survival’, it was about my life, the battles with illnesses and my thoughts about the world. I would hope it would get me the book deal, which I have now! I finished the work with my book last year, so I am very happy that it is out now. 

- What is your aim with “Forward’? I think many readers are interested in the history of Boney M., however, I think it is much more than to tell about the golden years.

- Well, my aim with this book is to tell more because I feel I can help people with my story. I am excited to read the comments about the book and I am touched by them, so I feel it was worth working a lot with it.

Photo credits: © Marcia Barrett of Boney M. Facebook Site

- When you went dancing to Germany was it a shock for a Jamaican girl to manage to live your life there?

- I lived in Jamaica for many years as a child with different guardians, It was unstable, so when we moved to England with my sister, I tried to find stability. When I moved to Germany to dance, I felt that I was in a good way. Wherever I lived, I always wanted to balance my life. As a Libran, I have never liked verbal conflicts at all, however, fighting for yourself and your loved ones are essential for me. This gives me the power to do my task in full force.

- Could this girl from a tropical island get used to the changing of the seasons?

- Oh, I love all the seasons, because every one of them is different.  I think that all of them had its beauty. The summer is nice, however, spring can be more beautiful for me, autumn is marvellous with its cool weather and there is winter with cold and the snow. When I was a child and later my time in England, there was little snow. I missed it very much! However, when I moved to Germany, and when we toured in the Soviet Union, I faced the real beauty of winter. As I mentioned before, I am a positive and optimistic person who sees the positive things in the negative. Winters can be frosty and cold, but I love them so much!

- Back to your history, you built up a quite big solo career in Germany during the early 1970s.

- Oh, yes! As you know, I worked as a stenographer in England, but I wanted a change. Then came an opportunity to dance in disco clubs in Germany. This decision was spontaneous, so I took it. I was a dancer, for two to three years, my show was at the same Top Ten Discotheque in Hamburg - Harburg. This little town is on the outskirts of Hamburg. It was just this one club where I was engaged all the time in those years for three to four months each year then returned to England.I loved it because I could be on stage. Sometime later I sang a song in a club, the manager and the audience loved it. ‘Could Be Love’ was a couple of years after words when I was established as a singer with live band engagements. This single was recorded with my first producer Joe Menke in Hamburg- Maschen. I wrote this funky number within twenty minutes in the studio!  

- Why did you hesitate to join Boney M?

- I had a solid solo career then when this happened. I hesitated, of course, what to do, because I had been performing with live bands, and I had also tasted success. My life was okay at that time. However, I was curious what this thing was about, so I went back to Germany, and started working with Boney M. I was selected before Liz and I was the one who suggested she should be contacted to join the group. By the time she arrived, we had been performing as a three-member act.

- Are you sad because you couldn't evolve a solo career in parallel with the group at that time?

- No, at all, because we became very big and it made me forget to think about it. We gained success not only in Western Europe and England but also beyond the Iron Curtain. Imagine, you are going to Timbuktu, and during the concert, people sing with you and know all the songs! It is fantastic and I think these songs have passed the test of time!

- How did you work in the studio?

- Liz and I sang together all the harmonies one by one, and it was Frank who chose the solo lines of the songs in the final mix. I liked the way he worked. He did his task and I did mine. If you listen to all the songs, you can hear my voice in them. I think I got solos in great and good songs, the ones, which Liz could not sing.

- Which are the ones you feel closely connected to?

- I have no favourites with our body of work, I love all the songs but it took me a while to accept ‘Brown Girl In The Ring’ as a recording piece until I saw that the audiences globally, enjoy this song even nowadays.

- But you sang the solo in many great songs like ‘Never Change Lovers in the Middle of the Night’ which is a cool funky number, and there is the edgy ‘We Kill the World’, of course. What about ‘Wild Planet’?

- Oh, when we recorded ‘Wild Planet’, it was made by the same method as I mentioned. Both Liz and I sang on it. However, Frank put more emphasis on my voice in the final mix.

TO BE CONTINUED; FOR PART TWO, CLICK HERE.

MAGYARUL HAMAROSAN ITT OLVASHATOD.

Marcia Barrett's book,‘Forward: My Life With and Without Boney M.’ is avaliable on Amazon both in English and German versions.