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Syreeta Wright

Background information
Birth name Rita Wright
Also known as Syreeta
Born August 3, 1946(1946-08-03)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Origin Detroit, Michigan
Died July 6, 2004 (aged 57)
Los Angeles, California. Interment Inglewood Park Cemetery Inglewood California, United States
Genres Soul, R&B
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments vocals
Years active 1967-2004
Labels Motown,
Associated acts Stevie Wonder, Billy Preston, G.C. Cameron

Syreeta Wright (August 3, 1946 – July 6, 2004), who recorded professionally under the single name Syreeta, was a Grammy-nominated American singer-songwriter.

Contents

Career

Syreeta was born Syreeta Wright in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a teenager, she moved with her family to Detroit, where she first came into contact with Motown Records, working for the company initially as a secretary. After Wright caught the attention of songwriter/producer Brian Holland (of Holland-Dozier-Holland), she was signed to the label. Her first single, "I Can't Give Back the Love I Feel for You", (written by Holland along with Ashford and Simpson) was released in 1968. The song was written for Diana Ross & The Supremes, who later recorded it after the release of Syreeta's original. The single failed to chart nationally, but fared well overseas, where she would later develop a devoted following. When Diana Ross left The Supremes in early 1970, Motown boss Berry Gordy considered replacing her with Syreeta, but offered the place in the group to Jean Terrell. According to several sources, Gordy then changed his mind and tried to replace Terrell with Syreeta, but this was vetoed by Supreme Mary Wilson.[1]

Wright married Stevie Wonder in 1970. Although the union was ultimately short-lived, Wonder helped Wright develop her skills as a songwriter, and their artistic collaboration continued after their divorce. Songs composed by Wonder and Wright together included Wonder's "If You Really Love Me," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" and The Spinners' "It's a Shame". Additionally, Syreeta's own "Spinnin' and Spinnin'" and "Your Kiss Is Sweet" were also Wonder/Wright compositions.

Syreeta's own success as a performer was limited. She released multiple albums throughout the 1970's, often working with Wonder. Unfortunately, scoring a pop hit proved elusive, although there were occasional minor R&B hits, including the Wonder-penned "Harmour Love" (#75, 1975), which also featured Wonder on background vocals. "Harmour Love" found new popularity decades later when it was featured prominently in the film Junebug. She did manage to enjoy chart success in the UK, scoring two top 40 hit singles Your Kiss Is Sweet and Harmour Love in 1975, while Spinning And Spinning reached number 49 in 1974. [2]

Syreeta finally had a pop hit with 1980's "With You I'm Born Again," a duet with Billy Preston. The single reached the Pop Top 5 and became a huge AC hit. Following this, she recorded a full album with Preston and had a moderate R&B hit with "Quick Slick" (#41, 1982) while continuing to write for artists such as Patrice Rushen. In 1985, Wright recorded theme to the film The Last Dragon, "First Time on a Ferris Wheel", a duet with Smokey Robinson. By the end of the decade Syreeta had retired from full-time music work to devote more time to personal life and family, but she retained a loyal following, especially with the UK's Northern Soul enthusiasts.

After the marriage to Wonder, Syreeta later married drummer Curtis Robertson Jr.[3]

Death

Syreeta Wright died on July 6, 2004 of congestive heart failure, which she acquired as a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatments she was receiving for an ongoing bout with breast and bone cancers. She was 57 years old.

She is survived by her five children Aisha, Jamal, Hodari, Takiyah and Harmoni, and grandchildren. [4]

Discography

Studio albums

Singles

  • "I Can't Give Back the Love I Feel for You" (1967)
  • "To Know You is to Love You" (1972)
  • "I Love Every Little Thing About You" (1972)
  • "Come and Get This Stuff" (1974)
  • "I'm Goin' Left" (1974)
  • "Spinnin' and Spinnin'" (1974) (#49 UK)
  • "Your Kiss is Sweet" (1975) (#12 UK)
  • "Harmour Love" (1977) (#75 US R&B, #32 UK)
  • "Let's Make a Deal" (1977) (w/ G.C. Cameron) (#40 US Club)
  • "With You I'm Born Again" (1979) (w/ Billy Preston) (#4 US, #86 US R&B, #2 UK)
  • "Go For It" (1979) with Billy Preston
  • "One More Time for Love" (1980) (w/ Billy Preston) (#52 US, #72 US R&B)
  • "It Will Come in Time" (1980) (w/ Billy Preston) (#47 UK)
  • "You Set My Love in Motion" (1981)
  • "Can't Shake My Love" (1981)
  • "Quick Slick" (1982) (#41 R&B)

[5]

References

  1. ^ Wilson, Mary (2000). Dreamgirl & Supreme Faith, Updated Edition: My Life as a Supreme. New York: Cooper Square Press. ISBN 081541000X
  2. ^ http://www.chartstats.com/artistinfo.php?id=2509
  3. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/syreeta
  4. ^ Syreeta Page
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 545. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links








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