Betty Wright, the soul and R&B star, has died. Her niece confirmed the news, TMZ reports. In addition to recording hit singles that would be prominently sampled for years to come, Wright had a prolific career as a producer and background vocalist. She was 66.
Wright grew up singing in her family’s gospel group the Echoes of Joy. During her teenage years, she began a career as a background singer on other artists’ recordings, and she released her first singles as a solo artist in 1967. Her debut album My First Time Around was released by ATCO in 1968, and it featured her first top 40 hit single, “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do.”
“Clean Up Woman” is arguably her best known song. Released in 1972, it was widely sampled, most prominently by Mary J. Blige on “Real Love.” Her Grammy-winning song “Where Is the Love?” arrived in 1974, and her Stevie Wonder–produced single “What Are You Going to Do With It” came out in 1981. She recorded albums and singles steadily through the 1980s and into the 1990s.
As a background vocalist, she sang on records by Stevie Wonder, David Byrne, Peter Tosh, Gloria Estefan, Jimmy Cliff, Stephen Stills, Alice Cooper, and many others. Wright is also a featured singer on Erykah Badu’s 2000 album Mama’s Gun. In 2006, she served as a vocal coach to Danity Kane on Diddy’s reality show Making the Band.
Her voice also became a staple in the world of hip-hop; she made appearances on records by Diddy, Nas, Rick Ross, and the Game’s records. She sang the Rolling Stones melody on Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III track “Playing With Fire.” In 2016, she collaborated with DJ Khaled, Kendrick Lamar, and Big Sean on the song “Holy Key.” Wright’s last album was Betty Wright: The Movie, which was a 2011 collaboration with the Roots.
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork