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Syreeta Wright

b. Syreeta Wright, 3rd August 1946, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

d. 6th July 2004, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1946, Syreeta originally joined the Motown stable as a receptionist, however was later to become a performer after being discovered by Brian Holland.

Syreeta recorded under the name of Rita Wright, however, her birth name was Syreeta.

She began recording background vocals during the Sixties, releasing a single of her own in 1967.

That song was produced by Ashford and Simpson and was called 'I Can't Give Back The Love I Feel For You', a tune originally being intended for Diana Ross.

Syreeta WrightSyreeta

The following year, and following the suggestion by Stevie Wonder, she became a songwriter.

One early success between the two was the song 'It's A Shame' for the, then, Motown Spinners.

By 1970, the collaboration with Stevie saw the release of the song 'Signed, Sealed Delivered, I'm Yours', a song she co-wrote with Wonder, Lee Garrett and Lula Hardaway.

That same year, she collaborated with Stevie on his album 'Where I'm Coming From', co-writing the songs 'Do Yourself A Favor', 'Something Out Of The Blue', 'If You Really Love Me' (a song on which she sang) and 'Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer'.

Stevie and Syreeta married on the 14th September 1970, and although they were divorced just 18 months later, they continued to work together for several years.

SyreetaStevie Wonder Presents

In 1972, Syreeta released her debut album, simply entitled 'Syreeta' for the MoWest imprint.

The album was produced by Stevie and contained her version of the Stevie song 'I Love Every Little Thing About You', along with her interpretation of the Smokey Robinson tune 'What Love Has Joined Together', and the socially aware 'Black Maybe'.

In 1974, the couple collaborated again on the album 'Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta'.

This set brought her chart success with the singles 'Your Kiss Is Sweet' and 'Spinning and Spinning'.

On background vocal chores, the line-up included Deniece Williams and the late Minnie Riperton.

One To One

Their last collaboration came with the song 'Harmour Love', which became another crossover hit and was later included on her 1977 album 'One To One', a set that contained the excellent Leon Ware / C. Robertson Jnr song 'Tiki Tiki Donga'.

The cover image for that album was a drawing rather than a photo.

Syreeta

This was due to the time that Motown felt it took to braid Syreeta's hair wasn't 'cost effective' enough.

Syreeta recorded one album with G.C. Cameron, entitled 'Rich Love, Poor Love', in 1977, before collaborating with Billy Preston, an association that saw the pair producing the film 'Fast Break'.

Syreeta Wright

The couples major success came with the U.S. and U.K. Top 10 hit, 'With You I'm Born Again', in 1979.

In 1980, Syreeta recorded the song 'And So It Begins', a tune that has become a 'rare groove' over the years.

Set My Love In MotionSyreeta

Syreeta and Billy completed a further album project in 1981 and a single release entitled 'Go For It'.

In 1981, Syreeta released the album 'Set My Love In Motion', an album produced by Ollie E Brown.

By 1983, she had a further release with the album 'The Spell', this time under the production wing of Jermaine Jackson, an album including the song 'Forever Is Not Enough'.

She then became a guest vocalist with the performer Willie Hutch on the song 'The Glow', a tune featured in the movie 'The Last Dragon'.

After this release, family affairs took over and she stopped recording for a while.

She returned to the studio n the late 80's, recording several tracks for lan Levine's Motor City label, including a solo rendition of 'With You I'm Born Again' and new duets with Billy Preston.

Syreeta was off the scene for most of the 1990's, although she contributed the lyrics and sang the song 'Someday' for Nelson Rangells 'In Every Moment' project in 1992 for the GRP imprint.

Syreeta wrote, or recorded with Sheree Brown, George Howard, Gary Bartz, Patrice Rushen, Wayne Henderson, Jeffrey Osborne, The Stairsteps, George Duke, Quincy Jones and Donald Byrd, amongst others, at various times.

Sadly in 2004, and after a 2 year struggle with congestive heart failure (which was a complication from chemo or radiology treatments she was receiving for breast cancer), Syreeta passed away.

She was 58.

SyreetaSyreeta

Below are images of the dance troupe, Divine Hands. Divine Hands were founded by Syreeta. Her two daughters, Takiyah and Harmoni are two of the performers.

Divine Hands divine hands

Divine Hands divine hands

Syreeta

Real Player

Albums:

Syreeta (MoWest 1972)

Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta (Motown 1974)

One To One (Tamla 1977)

with G.C. Cameron: Rich Love, Poor Love (Motown 1977)

with Billy Preston: Fast Break film soundtrack (Motown 1979)

Syreeta (Tamla 1980)

with Billy Preston: Preston And Syreeta (Motown 1981)

Set My Love In Motion (Tamla 1981)

The Spell (Tamla 1983)

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