About The Artist

Betty wright began singing with her family gospel group at age three. By 13 she had released her first secular record. By 14 she had her first top 40 hit with Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do. And for her 18 birthday she received her first gold record. Yes, Clean Up Woman was certified smash. It would go on to sell more than six million copies worldwide and earn her nickname she wouldn’t soon live down. Already beginning to be hailed as the queen of the Miami sound a blend of music described as Caribbean-infused funk - Betty began traveling the globe with a hastily assembled band called the Clean Up Men. The hits continued as well. Betty would go on to rack up another dozen top 40 r&b hits before the close of the decade, as well as pick up a grammy for cowriting the r&b song of the year in 1975 - her own Where is the Love - and a platinum disk for the release of her live album in 1978, which included one of her most popular tunes, Tonight is the Night. It’s no surprise that her live album was the biggest seller of her career to date, for her reputation as a master showmanship was well known. Variety said her stage show offered audiences “pleasure - of the sort that lasts and reverberated,” and in 1979 jet said people were talking about “why Betty Wright can’t help feeling like the Cleanup Woman in the best sense of the name”. When she toured that year grossed more than $800,000. But as the 80's began, Alston Records, Betty’s recording home since 1968, was going under. Betty switched to Epic for two albums, working with such producers as Stevie Wonder and Marlon Jackson. She also released the controversial duet She’s Got Papers on Me with Richard “Dimples” Fields on Boardwalk Records. The song went gold and even made it to a writing upon on U.S. News & World Report under the headline “Flack Over a Rap.” The 80's however, were a strange time for soul music. After her stints at Epic, Ms. B searched for another label and found no one interested. She took a brief hiatus from the business and then did the only thing left to do. She established Ms. B Records and Productions, Miami Spice Music Publishing and High Place Recording Studio. She signed several local artists, but not surprisingly the emphasis remained on reviving her career. She did so quite nicely in 1988 when the single No Pain, No Gain raced up the charts. The album it came from, Mother Wit, marked the first time a female recording artist had gone on her own label. She followed up with two more albums, 4U2NJOY and Passion and Compassion before ushering in the ‘90s. By now Betty’s earlier music was back in big time circulation, released on dozens of compilation-cd’s and being sampled endlessly. Betty was touring in Europe with friend and vocal student Gloria Estefan when the film New Jack City was released. It contained a song called I Wanna Sex You Up, which included not only Betty’s voice from the live recording of her own Tonight is the Night but elements of the melody and bass line as well. Betty took the matter to the court and walked away with a 35 percent royalty right to the song. Of course Color Me Badd wouldn’t borrow one of Betty’s tunes and use it in one of theirs. Rappers Candyman, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg and others all followed suit. Betty herself wasn’t recording much at the time, but she was staying busy. In the studio she produced folks such as Ronnie Laws, Millie Jackson, Rita Marley and Cedella Marley Booker, offered vocal production as well as backing vocals to friends such as Regina Bell, Phyllis Hyman and Jon Secada and toured the world with pal Bruce Willis helping him open a chain of restaurants called Planet Hollywood across the globe. By the start of the new millennium, Betty was eager to record on her own again. Inspired by the rebirth of soul music brought about by such acts as D’angelo, Erykah Badu and others, Betty began work on her 17th album. She also took time out in 2000 to be honored by the Rhythm and Blue Foundations with a Pioneer Award. She continued to tour and to “Cause Flack.” One of her latest singles, U R a Ho, which she wrote after reading the 23rd chapter of the Book of Ezekiel; was banned in some markets. Undeterred, she continues to do it her way. In 2001, while preparing for the release of her, album, Betty continued to collaborate with friends such a Sean “P-Ditty” Combs and Michael Jackson on theirs. Now, in 2002, betty has finally released her long awaited new project. Fit for a King contains 15 tracks all written and produced with her longtime partner Angelo Morris. The cd leaves no doubt that Betty’s message and delivery are as timely and cutting edge as Clean Up Woman was 30 years ago, yeas Ms. B is still cleanin’ up!  

Category
2017 Performers