On November 15 (S-Curve Records/Ms. B Records)
Soul music icon Betty Wright ““ singer, composer, producer, arranger, vocal coach and spiritual godmother to countless young artists ““ has announced the release of Betty Wright:The Movie (S-Curve Records/Ms. B Records) on November 15. This is her first solo album since 2001’s Fit For a King, but don’t call this a comeback: Ms. B has never gone away.
Indeed, the 15-time Grammy nominee and Grammy winner for Best R&B song “Where Is The Love” has never been busier: Wright co-produced Joss Stone’s first two albums, The Soul Sessions and Mind, Body & Soul, the latter of which won a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Album in 2005. In 2006, Wright was hand-picked by Sean “Diddy” Combs to be the vocal coach for the hit TV show Making the Band.
2008 was a particularly prolific year for Wright: she co-produced two songs on Tom Jones’ 24 Hours , was nominated for a Grammy with Angie Stone for the single “Baby,” and was a Grammy nominee for Album of the Year as a writer, producer and singer on Lil Wayne‘s triple platinum selling phenom Tha Carter III, which includes Wright’s duet with Lil Wayne, “Playing With Fire.” And just last year, Wright’s single “Go!” received a Grammy nod for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.
Betty Wright: The Movie serves up 14 earthy, funk-drenched soul anthems, all of which were co-written by Wright and co-produced by Wright, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots, and Angelo Morris.
Wright, affectionately known to friends and family as Ms. B, reflects on the album’s title: “I am more griot than singer. You can usually see what I say.” She continues “I decided that each song would be a vision that you could take to the screen”¦14 songs equal 14 movies.”
Betty Wright has been releasing music on her own Ms. B label for 25 years. This album is Ms. B Records’ first in collaboration with S-Curve Records, which is helmed by producer/executive Steve Greenberg. Wright wryly observes “I try not to release any music until I have something to say. Since I have something to say, I turned to my trusted friend Steve Greenberg. We’ve been successful in joint ventures many, many times.” Greenberg responds “I believe Ms. B Records combined with S-Curve Records is a marriage made in heaven ““ or at least in soul heaven, definitely!”
The album kicks off with “Old Songs,” a sentimental paean to classic soul that name checks some of Ms. B’s faves, both old and new.
A vibrant and varied group of guests accompanies Wright, including members of hip-hop neo soul trailblazers The Roots.
Tower of Power‘s Lenny Williams duets with Wright on the plaintive ballad “Baby Come Back.”
The formidable duo of Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg contribute raps to the album, and Wright’s protÃ©gÃ©e, soul prodigy Joss Stone joins her in a soulful call and response on “Whisper in the Wind.”
The album closes with the powerful Grammy-nominated single “Go,” a ten-minutes-plus epic that turns a spotlight on the issue of domestic violence. Wright notes “I made this record for those victims of abuse whose namewon’t make the headlines, but whose pain is just as real.”
Betty Wright began singing at about the time she began walking: she started performing with Miami-based gospel The Echoes at age three and remained with them for the next seven years. She released her first single at age 13 and had her first bona-fide smash at 19: “Clean Up Woman,” which has become Wright’s signature song, vaulted to the top of the charts, earning her a gold record and the first of her fifteen eventual Grammy nominations.
From “Clean Up Woman” though the Grammy-winning “Where Is the Love,” Wright scored eleven top-30 R&B hits and made music business history by becoming the first female artist to earn a gold record on her own label with 1988’s Mother Wit.
In recent years, she has become a highly sought-after producer, writer, arranger, and vocal coach, and of course, she continues to be among the most in-demand vocalists around.
Simply put, Betty Wright: The Movie reasserts her as one of the greatest soul singers of all time.