Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Artists - Betty Wright

Its been a while since I posted an Artists Spotlight, so here we go with a fave of mine, the great Betty Wright.

Shes been around recently, helping out the likes of Joss Stone, Angie Stone (No relation!) and collaborating with the Roots on her great recent LP which featured what I believe to be DJ Grizz's theme tune. If you listen to the Lyrics of "Old Songs", its like Grizz has a soul mate. See below!


Born Bessie Regina Norris on December 21 (I only mention as its my Birthday too....Kindred spirits!), Wright began her professional career at the age of two when her siblings formed the gospel group, the Echoes of Joy. In 1965, following the group's break-up, 11-year-old Wright, who was already using the name Betty Wright, decided to switch musical styles from gospel to rhythm and blues, singing in local talent shows until being spotted by a local Miami record label owner, who signed her to her first label in 1966 at twelve.

In 1967, the teen was responsible for discovering other local talents such as George and Gwen McCrae, helping them sign with Alston record label, part of Henry Stone's TK recording and distribution company. A year later, Wright released her debut album, My First Time Around, when she was still 14 and scored her first hit single with Judy White's "Girls Can't Do What Guys Do". While still in high school in 1970, Wright released "Pure Love" at the age of sixteen.

About a year later, Wright released her signature song, "Clean Up Woman" when she was 17. The record reached number two on the R&B charts, where it stayed for eight weeks.and crossed over to the pop charts, peaking at number six. It eventually sold over a million copies and was certified gold.

Danger! High Voltage!, released in late 1974 was one of Wrights most popular LP's. It would be on this album that Wright would have her most successful composition, with the smooth soul ballad, "Tonight Is the Night", which Wright attributed to her first sexual experiences.

Wright's other albums at the end of the 1970s were less successful and by 1981, as TK began to struggle, she moved on to a bigger label, signing with Epic where her self-titled album was released.
The album was notable for the minor Stevie Wonder-composed hit, "What Are You Gonna Do With It". That same year, she contributed vocals on Richard "Dimples" Fields' Dimples album, especially on the hit, "She's Got Papers on Me", where she catches Fields singing out about another woman, verbally attacking him in the ending monologue.

In 1985, Wright formed her own label, Miss B Records. In 1988, Wright made history as the first black female artist to score a gold album on her label when the album, Mother Wit, was released. The album was notable for the hits, "No Pain, No Gain" and "After the Pain".

She has continued to record ever since, with many LP's included the aforementioned collaboration with the Roots, she's still discovering talent such as Joss Stone, provides vocal production for big name pop and r&b artists, and can still be found singing live with that one of a kind voice. Betty sings from the heart, about love, her man, and the world and you believe every word.

Check out my mix of some of my personal picks from her large discography and see what all the fuss is about. Grizz back with you soon with a Version Excursion that im looking forward too, and Ill see you in a weeks time.

The Artists - Betty Wright
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