Sitting in her lush London flat, one could almost get the impression of watching Cleopatra reclining after a long day of “queening”. This is the picture that the lovely Maizie Williams from Boney M paints in your mind. It was distinct pleasure to catch up with her for a very in-depth and impromptu interview, something we had discussed for a while doing but never got around to. As my first assignment for LaRevista.ro, I thought it a fitting start to what will be a long and standing relationship with this magazine. So, without further ado, I would like to present to you, ladies and gentlemen, the Divine Miss Maizie Williams of the legendary disco group BONEY M.
What was your childhood like? Any musical influences that you dreamed about becoming or being as famous as when you grew up?
Growing up, my mother loved music so there was always music the house, always singing and dancing. I was influenced with old school music like motown, jazz, blues, soul, rock’n roll. I had a lovely upbringing! I also always wanted to do something within the music industry, but not become some one in particular. I just loved music.
What made you want to be a part of the music business?
I absolutely loved the stage as a kid, loved acting and the school plays. Of course I liked singing and dancing also. It was just something I wanted to do. No doubts at all. It was my path in life.
You were a HUGE part of Boney M. How did that whole connection come about?
I was in the right place in the right time. It was also a blessing from God. I went to Germany for a month; I was approached by one person who asked if I was interested to take part in the group. I took a chance and scored (laughs).
What was it like working with Frank Farian?
It was ok. A great experience.
What was the music industry like then when you first came on the scene? How would you describe the effect that Boney M had on the audiences and in general the music industry?
It was booming, in the 70s, which was an era of great music all around, and it was really happening with some good stuff. I would say music was at it’s best! A wide variety of music with jazz, Motown and the Philadelphia sound, blues and rock. And reggae, of course. So Boney M fitted right in. And we were quite original as we had a little bit of everything in our music. We were right in time.
How was it to deal with all the changes that come with being successful?
The truth is, we were so young, so you just fall into place, and you don’t stop to think about how it has changed. And we really enjoyed ourselves so much, that automatically everything fell into place. Never really gave it more thought than so. We were just happy and dealt with everything that came our way.
Were you a part of the music making process with Boney M? I mean were you able to submit your input and ideas with regards to the musical direction and material the group recorded and performed?
Of course, naturally we all were. You have to be, to be properly involved in the process with recording. It couldn’t have been done without us. And the Caribbean sound definitely had to do with our input!
What did it feel like to perform in front of all those audiences, in all those different countries around the world?
At first it was OK, as in the beginning we sang in smaller venues, like night clubs – before we had a hit. This was to promote us first and it also prepared us for the big stage. It also made us prepared in a way mentally. It was so amazing to see all those thousands of people – something you can’t explain. It was like a dream. In one way scary, but in another way – fantastic!
The 70’s brought a lot of change that paved the way musically for the 80’s. What changes did you have to go through musically and professionally once the 80’s came into full swing?
It did indeed. Like I said before – the 70’s was the best time for music, obviously so much going on musically, automatically crossed over to the 80’s and is still very, very good.
What was your favorite memory from the 70’s and 80’s and what was your worst memory?
My favorite memory is actually from the 70’s. The whole thing was so wonderful with lots happening at once! Some times I wanted to pinch my self – is it really happening?! We were invited to Russia; as it still at the time was a communist country, nobody was allowed in to perform there. We were the first pop group invited by the Russian government. That was definitely one of the heights of the 70’s for us.
I don’t really have a worst memory… I can’t really think of anything specific. I mean – it will always be good and bad times, but mine was generally good.
You have been solo for several years now. How does that compare to being in Boney M for you? Or being part of a group in general?
I miss my old colleagues. When you are in a group you become like a family. You are always there for one another, and all what we went through together. Life goes on and noone told us we were going to be together for the rest of our lives. I still tour today as a group, and it has its fantastic benefits. I take with me today what I experienced and learned from before. I am more mature now and ready!
How would you describe the music from 70’s and 80’s and what you say is the basic difference between then with the music scene today?
It’s a new generation now, carrying new changes, even for the 80s some good material coming out. Some new talented entertainers and musicians came into the industry that I personally enjoyed. Time changes and you have to follow.
What new experiences and musical challenges have you been able to open yourself to since Boney M disbanded?
Yes, I have done quite a few new things, for instance I recorded a gospel CD, an exercise DVD called Box It and a single called Jo Baker which was a tribute to Bobby Farrell. I am also currently writing a health and beauty book.
When did Boney M officially disband?
We officially disbanded in 1989, when we did our last performance together.
Are you still on good terms with the other bandmembers?
I am not on bad terms with anyone, Marcia and I talk a lot, and Liz is also there.
I imagine that it must have been difficult for you to deal with Bobby Farrell’s death, but I must ask, is there any possibility that you and the other ladies from Boney M would ever consider some kind of “reunion” concert or perhaps even a tour?
Right now, I cannot see that happening – I have no vision of that now. But maybe in time to come – who knows – we will have to see. But we have no discussions about it now.
Tell us about your life away from the stage. What else do you occupy your time with?
Spend time with family, do charity at times, go to schools and talk to young ladies as inspiration, really enjoy working with young people. Would love to do an album that represents me, this year, if possible. So let’s see what happens.
Natural health and beauty.
Many artists devote their time and energy to many different social causes. Is there one particular cause you feel strongly about and what have you been able to do to further it?
I really would like to donate more time with young kids in school – it gives me so much joy! I already do it today, but would like to throw myself more into it.
Being in the music business makes it really difficult with having a personal life sometimes. Have you been able to balance career and personal life without too much difficulty?
It is very demanding. In one hand you have the fans, who are very important and the ones you need to thank, without them we will not have achieved what we did. On the other hand, it is the touring when you are away a lot. But yes – I have been able to balance it most of the time – you will have to make it work. Or find the way that works for you.
What plans do you have for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
To be honest, a have a problem to see it that far away! I take it one day at the time and whatever God have in stall for me, I will deal with. I enjoy what is here and now and will wait to see what the future will bring.
If you have your choice of anywhere on the planet you would love to live, where would it be?
It would definitely be the Caribbean or California. I love it anywhere as long as it is in the sunshine!
Romania is a country that remembers very well all of Boney M’s biggest hits. It would be great to see you perform in Romania in the future. Do you have any plans on coming to Romania?
We have been to Romania several times, we have such amazing fans there! We really hope to be coming again within the year, so we have to see what’s on offer. But we would love to come! Invite us!
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