Anyone with more than a passing interest in Stevie Wonder's career-defining run of records for Tamla in the early '70s should know all about Syreeta. Born Syreeta Wright in Pittsburgh, PA in 1946, she worked as a receptonist for Motown before going on to record material for the label, eventually coming within a whisker of joining The Supremes when Diana Ross flew the coop in 1970.
Wright began dating Wonder in 1969 and started writing material with the soul legend at his prompting, a creative partnership which quickly bore fruit with 24-carat numbers like 'Signed, Sealed Delivered' and 'It's A Shame', which became a hit for The Detroit Spinners in 1970. Even more significantly, her work with Wonder on Where I'm Coming From and Music Of My Mind helped establish the far-reaching blueprint that saw him score his greatest successes during the early part of that decade.
While their marriage hit the rocks in 1972, the pair continued to work together with frequently stunning results, Wright's own career as a solo artist peaking with the same year's Syreeta and especially 1974's Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta. The latter can boast pop masterclasses of the calibre of 'Come Get This Stuff' (originally written by Wonder for Rufus & Chaka Khan), incendiary political ire in 'I'm Goin' Left', and, in 'Cause We've Ended As Lovers', a post-break up song that poses the million-dollar question with grace and characteristic generosity: "'cause we've ended now as lovers / does our love for one another have to end?"