You might not know her name but you probably know her mighty voice. Martha Wash put the oomph in a number of popular songs in the ’80s and ’90s, including “It’s Raining Men” with her group the Weather Girls, and on dance hits like “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C & C Music Factory and “Strike It Up” by Black Box, amassing eight No. 1 singles on various Billboard charts.
After an almost 20-year layoff from recording, Wash has returned with “Something Good,” showing off contemporary pop tunes and dramatic ballads, including a thumping take on Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” We chatted with Wash by phone recently from New York about the five reasons she decided to strike it up again.
1. “First of all it was time,” she says with a laugh. “That’s the main reason.”
2. “I needed to find the right songs,” she says of the album’s eight tunes, some penned by Billboard songwriting contest winner Zach Adam.
3. “I wanted to go in a different direction musically.”
4. That different direction meant proving she could sing in varied styles, from peppy pop to uplifting anthems. “Everybody knows me for the dance music and I can do that standing on my head.”
5. She wanted to put her stamp on “Dream On,” but not at first. “I’ve always liked the song but I didn’t trip on it at the time,” she says of the Aero classic. But her manager convinced her to take the power ballad on and she’s glad she did, since she feels it fits the flow of the album. “From what I understand, no one has ever covered that song before.” Now she’s waiting to hear what the band thinks. “I don’t think they know who I am.” (But we bet they know the voice.)
“Something Good” is available on iTunes and Amazon.Sarah Rodman can be reached at email@example.com.