Betty Wright soul funk and R&B legend has died at her home in Miami at the age of 66 after a long battle with cancer. Born in 1953, she started singing gospel at the young age of two, and was in a group with her siblings called Echoes of Joy. Due to her work in this group she was able to get signed to a record label at only 12 and released her first single Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do, which reached No 33 in the US.
Known for her remarkable vocal range she inspired a generation of artistes including people like Beyoncé and Mary Blige. Not only that, her high pitched style of singing was said to be a major influence on stars like Mariah Carey and other artistes.
A household name during the 70s her biggest hit was Clean up Women, recorded when she was only 17. This track reached No. 6 in the Billboard Hot 100 and has been sampled by artistes like Mary J Blige and Chance the Rapper. Other artiste like Beyoncé, 2Pac and Slim Thug have also sampled pieces of her music.
Another big hit was Dance with Me which was released in 1978 and reached the US Top 10. In addition to these hits she also provided vocals for tracks released by artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan and even Lil Wayne.
Betty Wright was also a noted Reggae fan and has twice worked with the Marley family, touring with Bob in the 70s and appearing on one of his posthumous albums.
These weren’t the only artists she collaborated with, and the star also worked with many younger artists like The Roots and also people like Rick Ross, DJ Khaled, Kendrick Lamar, Marvin Gaye and Big Sean.
As you can expect this type of glittering career was filled with accolades and the singer won multiple Grammy awards, including for her track Where is the Love. This song was written with K.C. and the Sunshine Band and was later said to have played a major role in the development of disco music. Not only that, she was also the first women to have a record on her own label achieve gold status.
In later years she was also known for her work coaching younger singers, which she did as a way of giving back to the musical community.