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Jeffery was so convinced of her pupil's abilities that she strongly pushed her to further study the classics at Chicago's Junior Lyric Opera.
The young Riperton was, however, becoming interested in soul, rhythm and blues, and rock.
The Gems had relatively limited commercial success, but proved to be a good outlet for Riperton's talent.
Eventually the group became a session group known as Studio Three and it was during this period that they provided the backing vocals on the classic 1965 Fontella Bass hit "Rescue Me".
By the time of diagnosis, the cancer had metastasized and she was given about six months to live.
Despite the grim prognosis, she continued recording and touring.
In 1977, she became a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society.At Chicago's Lincoln Center, she received operatic vocal training from Marion Jeffery.She practiced breathing and phrasing, with particular emphasis on diction.On April 5, 1975, Riperton reached the apex of her career with her No. The single was the last release from her 1974 gold album titled Perfect Angel.In January 1976, Riperton was diagnosed with breast cancer and, in April, she underwent a radical mastectomy.