21 December 1953 (age 63)
Betty Wright (born December 21, 1953, in Miami, Florida) is a soul and R&B singer, who influenced a generation of female singer-songwriters and also influenced the world of hip hop, who sampled some of her more famous material.
Born singing gospel with the family group, the Echoes of Joy, Wright began switching to R&B music in 1965 when she was only 11. In 1968, she released her first album, My First Time Around, at the age of 15, and scored her first hit, "Girls Can't Do What Guys Can Do". But it was not until the end of 1971 that Wright's most successful phase of her career took place.
The song, "Clean Up Woman", became a Top 5 pop and R&B hit, and would later influence a remix of Mary J. Blige's "Real Love" single with the sample of its guitar riffs; R&B girl group trio SWV's "I'm So Into You" also featured a sample from "Clean Up Woman," as did Afrika Bambaataa's song "Zulu War Chant." In 1974, Wright scored big with the songs "Tonight is the Night" (about a real-life love affair that happened with Wright when she was a teenager) and "Where is the Love" (which won her a Grammy for Best R&B Song).
After experiencing a brief slump in the early 1980s, she rebounded founding her own record label, Ms. B Records, and in 1988 made music history by being the first woman to have a gold record on her own label, with the release of Mother Wit, which featured two of her biggest hits in years, "No Pain No Gain" and the "After The Pain." On both songs, Wright displays her powerful upper register capabilities and five-octave range. In 1989, Wright released "4u2njoy" which features the hit songs "From Pain To Joy" (#39 R&B), "Quiet Storm" (#88 R&B) and "Keep Love New" (#71 R&B). Her subsequent albums "Passion and Compassion" (1990), "B-Attitudes" (1994) and "Fit For A King" (2001) kept her fanbase satisfied.
By 2001 a compilation album "The Very Best of Betty Wright" was released. In 2007. Wright scored her most successful single in over a decade with "Baby" (a duet with fellow Soul singer, Angie Stone). The song "Baby" peaked at #22 on the R&B chart and #2 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart.
Wright still records music and tours. She now also mentors several young singers, and has done vocal production for the likes of Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez and Joss Stone. Visit http://www.myspace.com/therealbettywright Betty's MySpace.
* When R&B group Color Me Badd released their huge hit, "I Wanna Sex You Up", in 1991, it generated controversy because the sample from "Tonight is the Night" had not been cleared; Wright soon took the band to court for royalties and was awarded 35% percent of royalties for writing the song.
* Her cover of the song "Shoo-Rah! Shoo-Rah!" was recently used in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie. The song also appears on the soundtrack to the second series of the UK Channel 4 comedy drama No Angels (TV series).
* Wright currently resides in Miami.
* On December 24, 2005, her 21-year-old son Patrick Parker was shot and killed after a dispute at a Christmas party in Opa-locka, a Miami suburb.
* In 2006, Wright appeared on the TV show Making the Band as vocal coach appointed by Sean Combs, for the his new female group Danity Kane.
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