Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Sylvia Shemwell also began singing at the young age of 5-years-old.
By the time She had turned 14, she'd won a contest for the Apollo Amateur Hour. She has worked with such greats as, Little Esther, Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett, The Drifters, Gene Pitney, Connie Francis, the Bee Gees and Aretha Franklin. Sylvia began singing with the 'Gospellaires' in 1959. The group consisted of Dionne Warwick, Dionne's little sister DeeDee, Myrna Smith's brother John Utley. Dionne Warwick eventually joined Burt Bacharach on tour. She was then replaced by Whitney's mother, Cissy Houston. Sylvia organized her own jazz trio after Elvis death, and shared the stage with the Bee Gees for four months.
Sylvia's sister, Judy Clay was a great gospel and soul singer.Clockwise from top. Sylvia Shemwell, Cissy Houston, Myrna Smith and Estelle Brown.