Maxine Powell, Motown Charm Coach, Dies at 98
Maxine Powell, who was responsible for developing the charm, grace and style of Motown Records' artists during the Detroit label's 1960s heyday, has died. She was 98. Motown Museum CEO Allen Rawls says Powell died Monday at a hospital in Southfield, Mich.
She didn't sing or write songs, but those associated with Motown say Powell was as essential to the label's operations as any performer or producer.
Powell directed the label's Artists Development Department, also known as "Motown's Finishing School." She guided many, including Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Jackson Five and the Supremes.
She emphasized how artists should carry themselves, treat people and dress. One performer on the roster that didn't need any of her help, she says, was Stevie Wonder.
"I didn't do anything for Stevie, he was always beautiful," she said in an interview with Another Look at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Watch above video).
Motown founder Berry Gordy said the training school was the only one of its kind offered at any record label.