3 FEBRUARY, 2023 (TORONTO, ON) – This year, The Supremes, to this day the #1 female recording group, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award during this year’s 65th Annual GRAMMY® Awards. Mary Wilson was one of the original/founding members of the Supremes and was its only original member from their start in 1961 until its end in 1977. Mary, with the Supremes, achieved an unprecedented 12 #1 hits and 5 consecutive #1’s from 1964-1965: “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “Back in My Arms Again.”
To celebrate Mary Wilson’s birthday (March 6), “Soul Defender,” a previously unreleased single, will premiere on March 3 as a digital release by Sweet Feet via UMe/Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company at all DSPs, pre-save/pre-add HERE. The track was written by Billie Ray Martin (“Your Loving Arms”) and produced by the multi-talented Paul Brewer of Sweet Feet Music (Pet Shop Boys, Billie Ray Martin, Annie Lennox) and John Keenan (Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Pet Shop Boys). There will be three versions – a radio edit, an extended dance mix, and an instrumental version of the radio edit.
“Growing up in the ’70s it was not hard to hear the Supremes and see them on TV,” says Brewer. “Although I grew up the son of a preacher and secular music was banned in our home, The Supremes and Mary Wilson always represented class and style, and also the music world I daydreamed to one day be a part of.”
The mastermind behind Sweet Feet Music, Brewer has been hugely influenced by Mary Wilson’s iconic voice. His Sweet Feet Music imprint had previously released Mary’s 2015 single, “Time To Move On.” “As a Supreme, Mary stood out to me. I was immediately connected to her beauty and grace. And hearing Mary’s origin stories, it affirmed to me a church kid can make their dreams come true with hard work.”
“‘Soul Defender’ came together so beautifully,” says Jeanie Tracy (Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Michael Bolton). “To back Mary on these tracks, we brought together some of the best session vocalists in the business to create the precise sound Paul and John were looking for.”
The world mourned the sudden passing of Mary Wilson on February 8, 2021. “Soul Defender” marks the first release since Motown/UMe/Universal Music Canada released The Motown Anthology, a project that Wilson had been preparing for release. It was the first-ever comprehensive overview of Wilson’s Motown discography (March 4, 2022) which boasts 38 tracks with nearly two dozen Supremes classics, as well as deep cuts, her acclaimed solo album, and never-before-heard songs (most in stunning new mixes).
A singer, best-selling author, motivational speaker, businesswoman, ambassador, mother, grandmother, and friend, the legendary Mary Wilson never stopped. Her signature was a single word, “Touch.”
For the millions of fans around the world, the communities she helped, and the artists she advocated for, her “touch” remains relevant every day.
(“Soul Defender” credits)
MARY WILSON AND SWEET FEET MUSIC – SOUL DEFENDER
Written By Billie Ray Martin
- Soul Defender (Radio Edit) 3:55
- Soul Defender (Extended Version) 6:12
- Soul Defender (Instrumental) 3:50
Lead Vocals – Mary Wilson
Record at Hideout Recording Studio – Henderson , NV
Executive Producers – Paul Brewer and Jeanie Tracy
Produced By Paul Brewer and John Keenan
Mixed By John Keenan and Paul Brewer at JCK Music – Phoenix, AZ
Additional Synths – Peter Gallinari
Backing Vocals – Jeanie Tracy, Sakai Smith
Choir Director – Jeanie Tracy
CHOIR – Omega Ray, Larry Batiste, Jeanie Tracy, Rhonda Beneen, Sakai Smith
Choir Engineer – Antoine Davis
Special Thanks to Tweaka Turner
Is this same Jeanie Tracy that did a cover of the Supremes’ “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking?” I remember seeing a 12″ single in a record store back in my college days. Never got the chance to hear it, and haven’t been able to find it online. I’m looking forward to hearing a previously unreleased recording by Mary Wilson.
I think so, Skip.
Thanks for dropping by.