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Singer Betty Wright proved to be a consistently strong presence on the Miami music scene, primarily throughout the '70s and '80s, although she continues to record. Born on December 21, 1953, in Miami, FL, Wright began her singing career early on as a member of her family's own gospel group the Echoes of Joy. By the age of 13, Wright had begun appearing on other artists' recordings as a backup singer and two years later was issuing her own solo singles (scoring a Top 40 hit the same year with "Girls Can't Do What the Guys Do") and albums (My First Time Around). It would be several years, however, before Wright would enjoy her next substantial hit, but it would prove to be worth the wait when 1972's "Clean Up Woman" (notable for its prominent guitar riff and Wright's swaggering lead vocal) peaked at number two on the R&B and number six on the pop charts. In 1974, Wright received a Grammy Award for the song "Where Is the Love?" (not to be confused with the renowned Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway tune of the same name); Wright steadily continued to issue albums throughout the decade, including such standout titles as 1975's Danger High Voltage (which spawned three R&B hits, "Shoorah! Shoorah!," "Where Is the Love?," and "Tonight Is the Night") and 1978's Betty Wright Live. 1981's hit collaboration with Stevie Wonder, "What Are You Gonna Do With It?," proved to be Wright's last substantial hit. Wright continued issuing albums throughout the '80s and '90s, in addition to trying her hand as a television talk show hostess and contributing backing vocals to a wide variety of other artists such as Erykah Badu, Regina Belle, David Byrne, Jimmy Cliff, Gloria Estefan, Inner Circle, Millie Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Johnny Mathis, etc. The early 21st century saw the release of Wright's first all-new studio album in several years, 2001's Fit for a King, as well as the fine 16-track career overview The Very Best of Betty Wright. ~ Greg Prato & Christine Ohlman, All Music Guide
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