Legendary jazz, blues and soul singer Rita Graham was born on October 16 near Charleston, Virginia. She grew up in Detroit, where her father ran local business which was a barber shop/beauty parlor that featured a rather unforgettable jukebox. Her mother, a jazz pianist, also exposed Rita to a wide variety of performers and styles.
Rita has performed with great musicians such as Ray Charles, Harry James, Kenny Burrell and jazz greats such as Oscar Peterson, the Duke Ellington Orchestra and Mercer Ellington to name a few.
In her late teens, Rita moved from Detroit to California. Rita loved music more than anything and she knew that making music was her destiny. She finished three years of college while singing around the clubs and skipped her last year of college just to sing.
After moving to Los Angeles, California in the late sixties, Rita was approached by Lou Barreto where she recorded the UK Northern Soul Classic, Gone with the Wind is My, a song originally to be performed by the Tiara’s. Right after ‘Gone with the Wind’, she got a gig working with a Rhythm and Blues Band in Sydney, Australia. It was also in Australia, where Rita met Ray Charles.