Singer Andrea Davis (Minnie Riperton) publicity portraits for
Chess Records, 1967.
Minnie Riperton possessed a five-octave vocal range, enabling her to sing in whistle register, famously demonstrated on her 1975 hit single “Lovin’ You”. Born in Chicago, she received operatic vocal training from Marion Jeffery. Under the alias Andrea Davis she recorded
local hit “Lonely Girl” in 1966. Before embarking on a solo career, she joined the group Rotary Connection.
In 1973, she began working with Wonderlove, Stevie Wonder’s backing group.
A year later he producing her Perfect Angel album, and contributed two original compositions. “Loving You”, written by Minnie and her husband Richard Rudolph, brought her international success, reaching the U.S. #1 spot and the U.K. #2 chart position in 1975.
In January 1976, Minnie was diagnosed with breast cancer
and underwent a mastectomy. The next year she became chairman of the American Cancer Society. In 1978, she received the American Cancer Society’s Courage Award presented to her at the White House by President Jimmy Carter.
continued to perform and record until she was
bed confined. She died from cancer on July 12, 1979 at the age of 31. Her daughter is actress Maya Rudolph.