Singer/songwriter and Stevie Wonder collaborator, YVONNE WRIGHT died in Dallas on Tuesday 26th January aged 65. The news was posted on UK web site www.soulwalking.co.uk who had been informed by jazz flautist Bobbi Humphrey, a friend of Yvonne. Ms Humphrey reported that Yvonne had been suffering from cancer.
Yvonne Wright was born in Harlem in 1951 and started singing in local gospel churches and in her teens worked with vocal groups, The Diamonds and the Velveteens before becoming a backing singer for Wilson Pickett.
She met Stevie Wonder in the early 70s and collaborated with him as a writer on several albums with her most notable compositions being ‘Girl Blue’, ‘Evil’, ‘I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)’, ‘You’ve Got It Bad Girl’, ‘Black Orchid’ and ‘They Won’t Go When I Go’. Stevie and Yvonne also penned ‘Take A Little Trip’ for Minnie Riperton, and Yvonne sang background vocals on Minnie’s song ‘Edge Of A Dream’. Yvonne’s songs have subsequently been covered by a range of artists including The Main Ingredient, George Michael, Josh Groban, Nnenna Frelon, and Quincy Jones.
Yvonne received a platinum record for her work on the album ‘Fulfillingness’ First Finale’ and touchingly Stevie Wonder sang ‘They Won’t Go When I Go’ at Michael Jackson’s public memorial in 2009.
As a performer, Yvonne did extensive stage work throughout the ’70s and into the early ’80s. In 1975, she performed in a production of the musical ‘Hair’ that toured Spain and she sang background vocals for people like Lou Rawls and Millie Jackson. She was a featured vocalist in touring line-ups for the Chantels and the Marvelettes.
In more recent years Yvonne Wright was a keen supporter of the arts and worked with the Dallas theatre community. She had also taught in after school and head start programmes in New York City and was a mentor to many young people in Dallas; she earned a BSc and Ms in Special Education and held four separate church ministries.