Grammy-winning soul singer Betty Wright dies of cancer at 66

by The Culture Newspaper

Betty Wright, the celebrated Grammy-winning soul singer, died Sunday from cancer at her home in Miami, her family confirmed on social media. She was 66.

Wright, known for her hits “Clean Up Woman” and “Tonight Is the Night,” was nominated for six Grammys and won for best R&B song in 1975 for “Where Is the Love.”

“Our beloved mother, grandmother, sister, godmother, mentor, friend and music icon, Betty Wright, transitioned to be with Lord,” the family wrote in a statement posted to Instagram on Sunday.

On May 2, Chaka Khan tweeted calling for prayers for Wright, worrying her fans.

Born Bessie Regina Norris, Wright was singing as young as 2 years old, and she was signed to a record company when she was just 12. She released her first album, “My First Time Around,” in 1968 at 15.

Wright also went on to found her own record label in the 1980s, releasing the album “Mother Wit.” She produced more than 15 albums throughout her prolific career, one as recently as 2014 called “Living … Love … Lies.”

Image: Betty Wright around circa 1970
Betty Wright around 1970.Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

She was remembered by many online for her talent and impact on the industry.

“RIP to the legend,” Viola Davis wrote on Twitter. “Your influence and mega talent will make you immortal. Rest well Queen.”

Dawn Richard of the group Danity Kane said Wright was “the funniest, realest, kindest spirit.”

“She was one of our vocal trainers during the beginnings of DK. I loved that she was unafraid to add grit to any lyric. She helped us emote and find our voices as women in the industry. Thank you Ms. B. RIP,” she said on Twitter.

Evan Lamberg, North America president for Universal Music Publishing Group, called her a “force of nature.”

“Betty Wright was a complete creative force of nature and a groundbreaking talent,” he said in a statement. “She was also one of the most independent and powerful women I have ever met. Betty inspired a path of empowerment for women in the music business that lives on to this day.”

Her family thanked everyone for offering their condolences.

“On behalf of the immediate family we would like to say thank you for all your support, prayers and outpouring of love that you have shown for our beloved,” they wrote.

In a 2011 interview with NPR, Wright said she liked to work with newer musicians to protect the future of the industry. “I believe in legacy. And I believe in making the radio sound better. If I’ve got to listen to it, I want it to sound good.”

Source: www.nbcnews.com

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