Singer Marcia Hines shares why she has no intention of slowing down

'Why would I stop?'
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At 70, Marcia Hines is still the queen. Back on Australian Idol this year, she has teenage girls screaming her name when she appears alongside fellow judges Kyle Sandilands and Amy Shark.

“It’s amazing,” Marcia tells TV WEEK. “I feel very blessed.”

“I like being frantically busy…”

(Image: Supplied)

It’s been almost 50 years since Boston-born Marcia was voted Australia’s Queen Of Pop by TV WEEK readers. It was a title that meant a lot to her, having come to Australia at the age of 16 to star in the stage musical Hair.

“I wasn’t a citizen then, I was a resident,” she says. “I loved Australia, and when I won Queen Of Pop, it was like Australia loved me back.”

Marcia’s first years in Australia weren’t easy, as she gave birth to her daughter Deni when she was 17 and returned to the stage just nine days later. But she has no regrets.

“I was always taught, ‘If you do something, you must do it well,'” she says. “I always loved singing, and Australia gave me the platform to sing on. I had my one and only child here in Australia and I think this is a wonderful place to bring up kids. So really, honestly, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

“We stayed in touch after Idol…”

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Marcia’s legendary status in Australian music was acknowledged with a scene in drama The Newsreader’s second season where Indigenous activist Lynus Preston (Hunter Page-Lochard) dances to her 1980s hit “Your Love Still Brings Me To My Knees“, while telling newsreader Helen (Anna Torv), “We have a rule here: never interrupt Marcia.”

“I watched it with my mouth open,” Marcia says. “How cool is that?”

In 2003, the singer found herself a whole new generation of fans when she was chosen to join the original Australian Idol judging line-up, alongside Mark Holden and Ian “Dicko” Dickson. Over seven seasons, she helped uncover some of Australia’s great musical talents.

“I’ll never forget the audition Guy Sebastian [the inaugural winner of Idol in 2003] pulled out of his hat. I remember hearing thinking, ‘What the hell?'”

She still runs into some of the former Idol singers occasionally.

“I was up in their faces and bothering them so much back in the day, I try not to bother them,” she says with a laugh. “I saw Rob Mills the other day, every once in a while I’ll see Jessica [Mauboy], I see Paulini [Curuenavuli]… I think we did well.”

Marcia joins the Australian Idol 2024 judging panel.

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One of the season-three finalists, Chris Luder, impressed Marcia so much, he’s now a member of her band.

“We stayed in touch after Idol and I wanted someone to work with me,” she explains. “I remember his audition strongly. I was most impressed, and remain that way. He’s a good dude.”

The auditions for the 2024 season of Idol were filmed last year, and Marcia says she, Kyle and Amy got along “very nicely” on the judging panel.

“I love Kyle,” she says. “He’s a friend of mine. He’s got his schtick. It’s funny, because Kyle is a good human being. A lot of people wouldn’t say what he says, but that’s what makes Kyle Kyle.”

As for Amy, Marcia got to know her through film star Russell Crowe.

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“Amy was living in the same area as me and Russell and he said to me, ‘You’ve got to meet this really cool girl.’ So we’ve had dinner a few times together and we’ve hung out. She’s a nice lady.”

Marcia says she, Kyle and Amy have found some “bloody outstanding” singers this time around, ones she thinks might have grown up watching Idol.

“I think a lot of them watched it and thought, ‘If it comes back, I’ll do it.’ It’s a trusted brand, so there are people who would like to go on the Idol journey.”

Marcia’s own musical career is still going strong. Having toured Australia in 2023 to celebrate her long career, she says she doesn’t feel 70 – “I didn’t feel like I was 30, so I don’t know what 70 is supposed to feel like!” – and has as much energy as ever.

Marcia toured Australia in 2023.

(Image: Supplied)

“Obviously, I like being frantically busy,” she says, laughing again. “Look, it’s wonderful, because at the end of the day, if I’m a good girl, I get to sing, and that’s the thing I adore more than anything else.”

When she does tour, her cat Sistah often comes with her for company.

“I travel with her, especially when I’m doing a long haul of a play or something, because it’s great to open the door and there’s somebody waiting for you.”

Marcia says she has no plans to slow down, as long as she has her health and her mind is OK.

“I look at Sir Tom Jones and I look at Cher… and Chaka Khan was just here – she’s 70. As long as you can do it and do it well, why would you stop?

“I still want to be the best I can be. And I still get very nervous, because so many things could go wrong. There’s that great saying in this industry, ‘You’re only as good as your last gig,’ which keeps you very, very honest. “But so far so good, that’s all I can say. So far, so good.”

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