Marcia Hines has a confession. Ever since she first heard the 1980 Diana Ross classic, I’m Coming Out, she promised herself it was a song she would record one day.
And now, on her new album Discoth?e, she has done so. But it was only recently that she discovered the song had been a favourite with the gay community for decades.
Now this is the truth -“ I never, ever realised it was a gay anthem, she says, laughing. I used to hear Diana Ross sing it, and I would think, -˜Yes, but I’m coming out of what?’ I really had no idea what she was singing about, or that so many gay people had adopted the song.
Then when I started to go through the lyrics for this new album, I heard it in an all-new way, and went, -˜Oh okay, that’s even better.’
I’m Coming Out is just one of the classics given a workout by Hines on Discoth?e. The material highlights a range of disco and soul tracks from the golden days of 70s and 80s dance music.
The collection includes Disco Inferno, Shake Your Groove Thing and Never Can Say Goodbye. Hines also performs Last Dance, a song made famous by her teenage neighbour in Boston, Donna Summer. She hated me, Hines says, laughing. Her sister Linda was my best friend and, whenever Donna would leave the house, Linda and I would go through Donna’s things -“ as you do at that age.
The listing of dance songs on Discoth?e almost sounds like a collection of Mardi Gras anthems. Hines admits it is fitting, considering it was her gay friends back in the 1970s who introduced her to the music.
In those day, I had so many gay friends who were flight attendants, and they would always be coming home with this new music from overseas, she says. So they would bring the new albums, and we would sit around listening to them.
It sounds corny, but there is nothing bad I remember about disco. All of it was good. Well, maybe not the fashions, but the music was great. We would all get dressed up and go out and it was not a case of picking up, it was a case of finding someone to dance with.
Discoth?e is like a throwback to the era when 52-year-old Hines was at the top of the music charts as the Queen of Pop, with such iconic hits as You, I’ve Got The Music In Me and Your Love Still Brings Me To My Knees.
The last of these hits marked Hines’s career comeback when she performed at the 1992 Mardi Gras. She also played at Mardi Gras 1999, and with Discoth?e she will have plenty to choose from for her next appearance in the RHI.
As to whether she can be expected at Mardi Gras next March, Hines says, Well, honey, it would have to be a medley of these. I would be stoked to do it again but, at this stage, I am not sure where I will be early next year -“ I am finding it hard enough at present just trying to close a suitcase.
Hines will spend the coming months crossing the country to promote the album, while plans are drawn up for a new concert tour. At the same time, she continues to act as a judge on the TV music talent circus, Australian Idol.
The schedule I am keeping is stupid, but I do like working and thank God I am because otherwise I would be driving my family crazy.
The challenge for me at this point of my career is to continue to make music and to reinvent myself. As long as I can continue to find inspiration and knowledge in music, I won’t stop. Why would I?
Discoth?e is released on Liberation Music on 30 September.