INTERVIEW: Mary Wilson on Good Day Atlanta

Mary Wilson Interview

As Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard once sang…and then it happened.

As a television journalist over the past fifteen years, I’ve conducted countless memorable interviews.  They include movie stars, authors, politicians, and most often, ordinary people doing extraordinary work in their communities.  It’s always a joy meeting these new people, chatting with them and peeking into their lives, and then taking the little bits and pieces of our conversations and crafting them into a compelling story for viewers.

As readers of The Diana Ross Project already know, my passion is writing about music, and it’s always a thrill to sit face-to-face with those responsible for the songs and albums that have shaped my life.  I’m so fortunate that my “day job” often affords me these opportunities; I’ve had the late William Guest teach me the moves of The Pips, and played “name that tune” with Mariah Carey.  Gladys Knight called me “wonderful” one time, which resulted in a ridiculous smile plastered on my face for weeks.

But last month…it happened.  Before her recent show in Macon, Georgia, Ms. Mary Wilson agreed to sit down for an interview to air on Good Day Atlanta, the program for which I serve as a feature reporter.  That it happened now — in the midst of my work reviewing each of the original albums released by The Supremes — seemed particularly serendipitous.  So I drove down to the beautiful Grand Opera House in Macon one Saturday afternoon, and finally met one of the women responsible for informing so much of who I am as a human being.  I’ve had many, many fellow fans relay stories of Wilson’s generosity and warmth over the years; I can happily say she lived up to her reputation of being a genuine, approachable person, not to mention a fascinating and candid interview.

Here, then, are the two stories that resulted from that conversation.  I hope I was able to capture Wilson’s spirit and the remarkable achievements of The Supremes and Motown as Civil Rights pioneers in just the few short minutes we get in television.  There were pages of questions I wanted to ask, of course; they involve obscure Supremes gems and the intricacies of recording sessions and what it was like working with various songwriters and producers.  Perhaps I’ll have the opportunity to ask them in the future.  For now…this “happening” was more than enough.

(And, by the way, you can read my review of Mary’s show that night here.)

Part One:

Part Two:

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About Paul

Album-by-album, track-by-track, a look at the entire Diana Ross discography...
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5 Responses to INTERVIEW: Mary Wilson on Good Day Atlanta

  1. Peter says:

    Congratulations on your interview, Paul. Mary, more so than Diana in many respects, is really the keeper of the Supremes’ stories. She has remained in closer contact with the other Motown artists and has focused on the legacy of the group intently throughout her solo career. Although I have questioned the motives behind some of her actions and choices at times, I think she is an interesting, complex and warm woman who more than lives up to the label of musical legend. I mentioned in your post of this concert that I met Mary in 2003 and was very touched by her openness with her fans. She, and her music, deserve to be heard. I hope that this experience encourages you to continue the Diana Ross Project beyond “Farewell” to include the New Supremes work, of which Mary played a prominent role.

    Best to you, Paul–

    Peter

  2. david wilson says:

    Great to see Mary being interviewed by a real fan and media professional. Your enthusiasm is really infectious. Wish you had been able to conduct a real in-depth serious interview that would’ve allowed you to get into the nitty gritty about Motown and her experiences as a Supreme.

  3. Rod says:

    Great interviews and nice use of b-roll.

  4. Fabulous segments! What an amazing opportunity to meet a hero. Just goes to show if you dream hard enough anything is possible. I loved your drawing it was adorable! As a side note, it’s interesting to know Mary is still releasing music but we haven’t had anything from Diana since 2006…10 years ago! Why do we think that is?

  5. You are wonderful on TV – so glad I got to see one of your pieces (the power of the Internet!) Next time: an interview with Miss Ross!! 🙂

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