Long before Mariah Carey catapulted to the top of the charts on the the wings of her famed 5+ octave vocal range, there was another singer who mastered the extreme limitations of the human voice. That woman was Minnie Riperton and this week’s From The Vault provides a glimpse of her incredible skill.
This performance of the song ‘Reasons’ on the iconic TV show ‘Soul Train’ displays Riperton’s utterly flawless voice. A criminally underrated artist, she was best known for the success of her classic single ‘Lovin’ You’. However, those of us who had the privilege of hearing her entire catalogue know that Riperton was capable of much more.
Thankfully, Riperton was able to leave her mark on the industry before her death at the age of 31 in 1979. Credited for introducing the use of the whistle register to mainstream music, she influenced her peers and followers alike including Stevie Wonder, Leona Lewis, Chante Moore and Michael Jackson. In fact, Carey regularly refers to Riperton as biggest influence on her singing style (whistles, whispery tones).
Long live Riperton! Every time one of us tries to hit a high note in the shower or the car, we have her to thank for our aching vocal cords.