Sunday, October 3, 2021

Ms Robbie Interview: Singer and Restaurateur talks Journey, Music, Sweetie Pie's & More

Robbie Montgomery affectionately known as Ms Robbie has had an extraordinary life. From being one of the original Ikettes in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue in the 1960's to assisting background vocals for Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, the Rolling Stones and Joe Cocker to creating the Sweetie Pie's franchise and starring in the award-winning reality series 'Welcome to Sweetie Pie's' on the Oprah Winfrey Network. An icon of both soul food and soul music, Ms Robbie has returned to her roots, performing and recording, with her latest release "Ain't My Stuff Good Enough" on all digital platforms.

TERRANCE: What's a typical day like for Ms Robbie?

MS ROBBIE: I wake up about 7 o'clock and take my dog to the daycare and from there I go to the restaurant. From there until about 5:30, I pick up my dog and we come home and we're thankful for another day. Go to bed so I can hurry up and do it all over again the next morning *laughs*.

TERRANCE: Talk about your earliest musical beginning and when it all started for you.

MS ROBBIE: Well, my beginning started in the Gospel church. I was a Baptist and I sang in the choir. Then I was in a doo-wop group. I've always been in a doo-wop group. I lived in the projects and everyday we would put on clean clothes about 4 or 5 o'clock and we would go outside and sit on the bench and we would sing. I was in a whole bunch of groups back in the day from The Mirettes, The Chordettes, The Artettes, The Ikettes and that's what it was back in those days. Everybody was an "ette". So we would do talent shows and sing for bands and then we met Ike Turner who needed girls to sing on his first recordings and I was one of those members. When the song hit, Ike offered me a job. He said as long as he got one, I got one. So I packed up and left home. I had one child. My mother was with me and she let me chase my dream and kept my baby for me and I haven't been back home since. Mama's gone now and I've been living on my own like that ever since. I moved out to California with Ike and stayed out there for about 40 years and I sang behind everybody that needed background. If you could sing and needed background, we were available. Then I spent about 8 years of my life with Dr. John and like I said, I was a studio background singer. We did jingles, movie scores, whatever, whatever. That was our income. That's what I did for a bunch of years. I developed a lung problem called sarcoidosis and I decided to quit singing and then after that I went to school to become a dialysis technician when I moved back to St. Louis. I did that for a while and then decided I was going into the restaurant business. I had a restaurant in California. I was kind of one of the first to do hot and spicy wings. When I was on the road with Ike & Tina, everything was segregated, so I was the cook. My mom had 9 kids and I was the oldest and she taught me how to cook and so we would cook every time we had a kitchen. We'll do the stove, but we always traveled with a hot plate, two iron burners and an electric skillet to cook with. So I put a cap on my dialysis career and said well I'm just gonna open another restaurant. That's how my restaurant career started. Then I got the opportunity by Oprah to do the TV show Welcome to Sweetie Pie's which is my reality show. We did that for 7 years with 100 episodes. We won two NAACP Image Awards. I did motivation speaking and so then moved out to Jackson, Mississippi to start a restaurant here. 

TERRANCE: What inspired you to get back into singing?

MS ROBBIE: When I did the show, that's how I got back into singing. I had heart surgery, so I was kind of on a hiatus and just kind of scared to sing because I didn't want to blow my lungs. On my show that was one of my storylines. Miss Robbie going back into music. So when I got the chance to do it, I took one of the songs that I recorded as an Ikette called "Ain't My Stuff Good Enough". Back then it was considered a dirty song and now I say it's not dirty enough. I need a lil mud to throw on it. The first time I put it out everybody said it sounded too old, so I got some young boys that's in the music business to help me with it and to reinvent it a little bit. They kind of came up with the idea with the way it's arranged now and ran with it. So we put it out and got over half a million views and we're thankful for that and now we're pursuing it. I'm trying to be the oldest person at the Grammys *laughs*. 

TERRANCE: What has been your proudest moment?

MS ROBBIE: Just being able to sustain at what I do, whether it's music, talking, cooking. I've been very proud of all those things because I've had people that inspired me and tell me that I've inspired them. I'm proud just to wake up everyday, because not everyday, everybody wakes up. I'm 81 and still got goals and still trying to do things.

TERRANCE: Which leads to the next question. What future endeavors are you looking forward to?

MS ROBBIE: I got a lot of em. I'd like to open a hotel. I like makeup and skincare. I can just keep going on and on and so if the time permits itself and I come across those endeavors I'm gonna go and pursue them. Who knows, I might open a construction company *laughs*. I just want to keep doing things.

TERRANCE: One thing about life that you know for certain to be true.

MS ROBBIE: That there will be a tomorrow. I don't know if I will see it, but there will definitely be a tomorrow and I know for sure, God is in the blessing business.

TERRANCE: Any final words you would like to share with your fans and followers?

MS ROBBIE: Yes, I want to thank everyone for following me. I'm not a social media person, but when I get on there, people seem to love me and I love them, because without those people I would not be where I am today. It's not that I'm a royal or financially wealthy, it's the fact people love you and say that you inspire them. I'm thankful for that because they don't have to show me love but they do. I appreciate it. We got 500k views. They could've gone someplace else, but they chose to view my video and that's a blessing and I'm thankful. I love everyone that reaches out to me when I'm on social media. I'm thankful for my family and everyone around me, because they could be somewhere else. I'm just thankful, thankful, thankful and I'm thankful for you.

Follow Ms Robbie: 
Instagram @msrobbiesweetiepies
Facebook @missrobbie

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