Esther Phillips (Born Esther Mae Jones, December 23, 1935 in Galveston, Texas; died August 7, 1984 in Carson, California) was an American singer. Phillips was one of the great female R&B vocalists.Santelli, Robert. The Big Book of Blues: A Biographical Encyclopedia, Penguin Books, page 376, (2001) - ISBN 0140159398 She also performed pop, country, jazz, and soul music.
When Phillips was an adolescent, her parents divorced, and she was forced to divide her time between her father in Houston and her mother in the Watts area of Los Angeles. Because she was brought up singing in church, she was hesitant to enter a talent contest at a local blues club, but her sister insisted and Esther complied. A remarkably mature singer at age fourteen, she won the amateur talent contest in 1949 at the Barrelhouse Club owned by Johnny Otis. Otis was so impressed that he recorded her for Modern Records and added her to his traveling revue, the California Rhythm and Blues Caravan,
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esther Phillips