‘Always take advice from people who mean you well’: Why Marcia Hines is still shining

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‘Always take advice from people who mean you well’: Why Marcia Hines is still shining

Marcia Hines
Words by Jacob McCormack

Marcia Hines has been writing songs since the mid ‘70s and performing for even longer.

She was only 16 when she starred in the famous production Hair and slightly older when she became the first person of colour to star in Jesus Christ Superstar.

2023 is a year that will see her tour her own music, perform in the nationwide tour of Velvet Rewired, and release a Best Of album.

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Although Marcia’s prolific output has evolved through sheer talent, it has also arisen through a strong support network around her and perennially taking on board advice from those that want to see her succeed.

“It’s important to listen to the advice that you receive,” says Marcia. “Only when people mean you well though. Everybody’s got an opinion but not all of them are cut out for you.

“You’ve just got to stay strong and believe what it is you want to do as a musician. Always take advice from people who mean you well, that’s my motto and I still do that too.”

In conjunction with a disposition that is always learning, Marcia understands that in order to develop as an artist, one has to regularly re-learn what they know.

“It’s important to never be a jack of all trades,” she says. “But to continually review and re-learn what you know. I’m always listening, and you’ve always got to listen to what is going on. Music is one of those great gifts that keeps on giving.”

Despite differing inceptions of disco from the 1970s and evolutions after the Vietnam War, it’s relevance has rung true within a contemporary context. For Marcia, disco music of the ‘70s shaped the sound of her album Ladies and Gentlemen. It’s tracks like You that are being played today in the show Velvet Rewired, only emphasising the timelessness of Disco.

“Ladies and Gentlemen was heavily inspired by what was happening at the time it came out. As a musician you get inspired by what’s going on in the musical world, so you try and do your interpretation of what you think is your version of cool. Everything old is new again. I get to sing one of my songs in the show, entitled You, which is great.”

The show Velvet Rewired is the continuation of the show Velvet that was shared around Australia pre-Covid. The show solely features disco music, which Marcia is adamant holds a place for all demographics within the audience.

“That was the whole disco era,” says Hines. “All the songs in the show are really famous disco songs and whether or not you liked them, one of your parents has probably played them at every barbecue you’ve ever been at and embarrassed you.”

For a show that is centred around the famous New York City based disco club Studio 54, which Marcia has visited herself. The show taps into a genre of music that signifies joy and relief. However, for Marcia her experience of the origins of disco remains unique to her.

“When disco was emerging I was living in Australia. The interesting thing was the Vietnam War was winding down, thank god. But a lot of the sailors were coming to Sydney, for a thing called R&R – rest and recouperation. They would come with all the new dances, all the new steps. That was always really fun and as a result the clubs were really pumping in the ‘70s, particularly ‘72 through to ‘74. That was my experience of disco.”

Similar to the influence disco had on Marcia at the time, she still looks to contemporary examples of musical expression to inspire her.

“[Australian Idol] was really cool because music is a great expression and to me all the kids were doing was expressing themselves.

“I was sure that when I was young my mother would scratch her head at the music I would play and she would say ‘what the hell’. But I’m not allowed to do that as a musician because it’s an expression and I’m still expressing myself.”

Marcia Hines performs in Velvet Rewired from April 26 to May 7 at the Athenaeum Theatre. Find out more here.

This article was made in partnership with Velvet Rewired.