Artist Spotlight: Margaret Wright

Black History Month

Artist Spotlight: Margaret Wright

Posted by on Feb 5, 2021

Margaret Wright was Born in 1942 at Austin’s Holy Cross hospital, located on the eastside of Austin. Wright grew up in a musical family with a mother who played in church and a sister that played multiple instruments. She attended L.C. Anderson High School and had already begun playing piano and singing live by the time she enrolled at Huston-Tillotson University in the ’60s.

At the time Huston-Tillotson was the only college option locally for blacks.  She graduated in 1964 and worked as an elementary school teacher and broke barriers doing so, being the first black teacher at some of the schools that she taught at. Over her 60-year career span, Wright played at venues all over Austin, the Driskill Hotel,  Ego’s, and bars like Charlie’s and Rusty’s. At one point in her career, she was one of the most in-demand piano bar players in the town and would play up to three gigs a night after working a full day as an elementary school teacher.

In 2013, Skylark Lounge opened and Wright became the club’s main act, holding a residency for years with a happy hour gig each Thursday and Friday.  Wright was an educator for over 5 decades and retired from teaching children music at Texas Preparatory school just a few years ago. In 2015, Margaret Wright was voted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame. Then in 2018, she was an Austin Blues Society Award Nominee for  Best Artist and the lifetime achievement award.

The East Austin legend continued to entertain Austin audiences with her beautiful tunes until the pandemic hit. Her last known performance took place in the second week of March at the Skylark before the live music shut down. In early December of 2020, the Austin hall of fame pianist and educator passed away and left the Austin community devasted. Her music touched and inspired countless fans and musicians and she was the true definition of the authentic east Austin culture.  Margaret will be forever remembered for her loving heart and kindness that she spread through her music and throughout the community. – Miles Bloxson, KUTX Host