For Martha Wash, it's raining gratitude

Martha Wash performs during the 65th annual Tony Martha Wash performs during the 65th annual Tony Awards in Manhattan. (June 12, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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Glenn Gamboa Newsday columnist Glenn Gamboa

Glenn Gamboa writes about music for Newsday.

Martha Wash never thought she'd be celebrating the 30th anniversary of "It's Raining Men."

"Never in a million years," the singer from Baldwin says, laughing. "But it's a blessing."

Because of "It's Raining Men," which she recorded with the late Izora Armstead as The Weather Girls, Wash became known as a singer for the dance clubs, a reputation that grew with her work as the voice of C&C Music Factory's hit "Gonna Make You Sweat" and Black Box's "Everybody, Everybody."

But her musical interests have always run further than that. "I never wanted to be categorized in just one genre," she says. "In my live shows, I do all kinds of music. I love doing a tribute to the ladies of jazz and blues, singing songs by Bessie Smith and Sarah Vaughan. I know people don't expect to see that from me."

Wash wants to showcase more of that side of her voice on the new album she has been working on, which includes the big ballad "I've Got You."

"My manager, James Washington, sent that song to me and said, 'That's the song for Martha,' and I was, like, 'I'm not sure.' The response to that song when it first came out showed he was right."

That doesn't mean Wash is ready to give up club life. "Mainstream America may not know who I am, but they know the music," she says. "The music has stood the test of time. Maybe they'll still get to know me."

Martha Wash plays B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W. 42nd St., Manhattan, at 8 p.m. Aug. 26. Tickets are $27.50 through Ticketmaster.

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