Martha Reeves - Updated Jun 2024

Updated On June 3, 2024
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Martha Reeves

Martha Reeves is an R&B and pop singer from the United States. Moreover, Martha Reeves is the lead singer of the Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas and has released a dozen hits singles.

Early Life

Martha Reeves was born on the 18th of July 1941, in Eufaula, Alabama, in the United States of America. She is an American by nationality and she is 82 years as of 2024. Additionally, she has a birth sign of Cancer and her birth name is Martha Rose Reeves.

She was born to her father Elijah Joshua Reeves and mother Ruby Lee Gilmore. Moreover, she was the third of 11 children of her parents. And, her siblings’ names are yet to be revealed by her.

When she was a young child, her family moved from Eufaula to Detroit, Michigan, where her grandfather, Reverend Elijah Reeves, was a minister at Detroit’s Metropolitan Church.

Meanwhile, her family was very active in the church and its choir. Her father played guitar, and Ruby liked to sing; the children acquired their love of music from their parents.

Martha Reeves

Caption: Martha Reeves’s old photo (Source: DJ Larsupreme)

Martha Reeves – Educational Background

Moving on to her academic career, she went to Detroit’s Northeastern High School. During the time, her vocal coach was Abraham Silver, who also worked with Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson (of the Supremes), and Bobby Rogers (of the Miracles).

Meanwhile, there is not much known regarding whether she has attended any university for her further education or not. She may have dropped out of college to pursue a career in a musical career.

Professional Career

Growing up on the gospel, and inspired by singers like Lena Horne and Della Reese, Martha Reeves became a fan of R&B and doo-wop music. In 1959, she joined the Fascinations, a pop vocal group most active in the mid-1960s. However, Reeves left the group before it became a recording act. Later, Reeves worked in sales while performing with Rosalind Ashford and Annette Sterling as the Del-Phis and solo as Martha LaVille.

Martha and the Vandellas

Then, she was signed to Motown Records in the year 1962 and became the lead singer of the girl group Martha and the Vandellas. Moreover, the group had a string of successes in the year 1960s, including “Heat Wave”, “Quicksand”, “In My Lonely Room”, “Live Wire”, and “Nowhere to Run.” The group’s most popular single was “Dancing in the Street,” which became their signature song.

Similarly, the group also made television appearances including The Mike Douglas Show, The Joey Bishop Show, American Bandstand, Where the Action Is, Shindig, Swingin’ Time, Soul Train, and The Ed Sullivan Show.

In addition, they were also featured in major magazine articles in Johnson Publishing Corp. publications including HEP, Ebony, and JET, and in SOUL newspaper and SOUL Illustrated magazine.

However, having a major success came with challenges, the girl group struggled to maintain relentless recording and touring schedules due to their personal lives. After the original member, Rosalind Ashford left in 1968, Martha recruited Sandra Tilley, and the lineup of Martha and Lois Reeves and Tilley continued until 1972 when the group disbanded shortly after issuing the Black Magic album.

Solo Career

Later, she moved to Los Angeles and signed with an MCA record for her solo projects. Meanwhile, she worked alongside legendary jazz trombonist J.J Johnson to release the soundtrack for the 1974 blaxploitation film, Willie Dynamite.MCA released a self-titled debut solo album that same year which was produced by Richard Perry.

The album was not commercially successful despite being critically acclaimed. Working under the label Arista, she released the “Rest of My Life” in 1977, and two albums We Meet Again,” 1978 and “Gotta Keep Moving”, 1980 under the Fantasy label.

Martha Reeves

Caption: Martha Reeves singing in the concert (Source: Blue Note)

Later, Martha Reeves released the album “Home to You” in the year 2004. She returned to music full-time after serving on the Detroit City Council, having played several shows and embarked on numerous tours.

Moreover, she is a board member of the SAG-AFTRA Detroit chapter and the board of SoundExchange. In 2007, she testified in Congress on behalf of musicians, session singers, and recording artists desiring higher wages and royalties.

In addition, she has continued to perform concerts and club dates both solos and with her Vandellas—sisters Lois (Motown-era Vandella since 1967) and Delphine (since the mid-1980s). She was one of the celebrity contestants taking part in the BBC One show Celebrity MasterChef in the UK in September of 2018.


In 1995, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Reeves received the 1999 Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in recognition of her contributions to the genre. In 2000, this singer was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

Martha Reeves

Caption: Martha Reeves and the Vandellas earned the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Source: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)

Similarly, she earned the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in recognition of her contributions to the music industry in the year 2019. Meanwhile, she has received multiple Detroit Music Awards over the years, including awards for Outstanding Live Performance and Outstanding Urban/Funk/Hip-Hop Recording.

Net Worth 2024

Martha Reeves has collected a good sum of money through her singing career. As of now, her net worth is around $5 million and her annual salary is still unknown. Album sales, brand promotion, and concerts are sources of her income.

Relationship Status

Talking about her relationship status, Martha Reeves is currently a single and divorced woman. She married twice in her career. Firstly, she married a man named Wiley in 1967 in Las Vegas.

After just nine months of a marital affair, the couple divorced. After this, she had a short romance with a man named Gerald. With the relationship, she has a son named Eric born in November 1970. Later, she married Willie Dee in the early 1970s and later it also ended in divorce.

Body Measurements

Martha Reeves

Caption: Martha and the Vandellas/Diskografie (Source: HOUR Detroit Magazine)

Martha Reeves stands 5 feet 6 inches tall (1.7 m) and weighs around 75 kg (165.3 lbs). Additionally, she has grey hair color with brown eyes, and her other body stats are yet to be revealed.

Martha Reeves – Social Media

On her Instagram page ‘@marthareeves7’ there are over 1.9k followers. Likewise, there are over 7.2k followers on her Twitter page ‘@MARTHAREEVESvan’ and over 19k followers on her Facebook page.