Martha Rose Reeves (born July 18, 1941 in Eufaula, Alabama) is an American R&B and Pop singer and former politician, and was the lead singer of the Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas. During her tenure with The Vandellas, they scored over a dozen hit singles, including "Jimmy Mack", "Dancing in the Street" and "Nowhere to Run". From 2005 until 2009, Reeves served as an elected councilwoman for the city of Detroit, Michigan.
She was born in Eufaula, Alabama, the first daughter of Elijah Joshua Reeves and Ruby Lee Gilmore, and the third of the couple's 11 children. Martha was under a year old when the family moved from Eufaula to Detroit, Michigan, where her grandfather, Reverend Elijah Reeves, was a minister at Detroit's Metropolitan Church. The family was very active in the church and its choir. Both Elijah and Ruby played guitar and liked to sing; the children acquired their love of music from their parents. At Detroit's Northeastern High School, her vocal coach was Abraham Silver, who also worked with Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson (of The Supremes) and Bobby Rogers (of The Miracles). As a teenager, Reeves became a fan of R&B and doo-wop music. After failing to join her elder brother Benny's vocal group, Reeves formed her own vocal group, the Sabre-Ettes in 1958. A year later, she joined The Fascinations. Reeves left the group before they became a recording act.
1957 was her first association with Rosalind Ashford, Gloria Williams and Annette Beard in a group then known The Del-Phis, formed after a man named Edward "Pops" Larkins was starting a sister singing group to complement a male vocal group of his. The Del-Phis were popular local performers. Reeves was reportedly an admirer of the group and was a friend of Gloria Williams, who hired Reeves to join the group in 1960.