Syreeta Wright

Motown Singer and Stevie Wonder's Collaborator

Syreeta Wright achieved fame as a Grammy nominated Motown solo vocal artist and a co-writer of all-time classic songs with her first husband Stevie Wonder.  Together Syreeta and Wonder wrote the Stevie Wonder hits “If You Really Love Me," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," and "It's a Shame".  Her own biggest hits "Spinnin' and Spinnin'" and "Your Kiss Is Sweet," were also Wonder/Wright collaborations.  She recorded five solo albums for Motown.  Steve Wonder produced two of Wright's albums, "Syreeta" and "Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta" in which she sang about their love, divorce and friendship.  Syreeta's biggest hit was her duet with Billy Preston, "With You I'm Born Again," that reached No. 4 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart in 1980.

Borm Syreeta Wright in Braddock, Pennsylvania in 1946, she sang under the name of Syreeta.  After he father was killed in the Korean War, she and her two sisters were raised by her mother Esse and grandmother.  Syreeta began singing at age four.  The Wrights moved to South Carolina and then to Detroit, where Syreeta attended high school.  She sang in several vocal groups before she became a receptionist at Motown Records in 1965.  After a year she became a secretary.   Motown song writer Edward Holland like her singing and had her record demos of songs proposed for the Supremes.  Barry Gordon renamed her “Rita Wright” and released Syreeta’s first Motown solo single "I Can't Give Back the Love I Feel for You", in 1968.  It was a hit in the U.K.  At Motown Wright also sang background vocals on records by the Supremes and by Martha and the Vandellas.  When Diane Ross left the Supremes, Motown considered replacing her with Syreeta.     

In 1968, Motown label mate Stevie Wonder convinced Syreeta to become a song writer.  He liked her poetry and lyrics.  They collaborated on the song "It's a Shame" that scored a number 14 hit for the Spinners, in 1970. After a year-long relationship, Wright and Stevie Wonder married in September of 1970.  Stevie was 20 and she was 24.  They co-wrote and sang together on Wonder's “Where I'm Coming From” album that launched the number eight smash hit "If You Really Love Me".  Wonder left Motown in 1971 and the couple worked on two independent albums while living in New York.  After 18 months of marriage, Wonder and Wright divorced in the summer of 1972.  But they remained best friends and collaborators.  Wonder returned to the Motown label in 1972.  Together Wonder and Wright co-wrote songs for the classic Wonder albums “Music of My Mind” and “Talking Book.  Wonder’s break through album “Talking Book”  featured the masterful co-compositions "Blame It On The Sun", "Looking For Another Pure Love", "You've Got It Bad Girl" and I Believe”.  Wright continued to sing background vocals and write songs with Wonder over the next two decades.  She worked with Wonder on his albums “Journey through the Secret Life of Plants”, “Hotter than July” (1980) and “Conversation Peace” (1995).

Syreeta remained on the Motown label for nine more years after her 1972 divorce.  In 1972 Stevie Wonder produced Syreeta’s first self-titled album solo album on the Motown MoWest imprint.  The Motown label in 1974 released her second album, "Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta" that featured the U.K. number 12 reggae-flavored hit "Your Kiss is Sweet".  Motown, in 1979, assigned Syreeta to collaborate with newly signed Billy Preston on a pop ballad for Fast Break movie soundtrack.  The single reached number-two in the US and number-four in the UK.  With that success Motown renewed Wright's contract.  Wright and Preston continued to collaborate until 1982, releasing two albums.  Syreeta also recorded duets with Jermaine Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Quincy Jones, and other Motown artists.  She released her third funk-oriented album “Set My Love in Motion” in 1981.  Wright released the album “The Spell” in 1983.  Syreeta played Mary Magdalene in a touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1994.

Syreeta retired from the music business in the mid-'1990s to devote her time to her four children.  She married three times: to Stevie Wonder, to bassist Curtis Robertson, and to her third husband.  Born a Baptist she converted to Islam after her third marriage, changing her last name to Muhammad.  She died at age 58 in 2004 after a long struggle with breast and bone cancer, leaving behind a legacy of great songs.

 Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta (1974)
 One To One (1977)
 Rich Love Poor Love - With G.C. Cameron(1977)
 Syreeta (1980)
 Set My Love In Motion (1981)
 Billy Preston & Syreeta (1981)
 The Spell (1983)
With You I'm Born Again (1990 Japan Only)

Syreeta and Billy Preston

Looking for Another Pure Love - Stevie Wonder & Jeck Beck