Described by influential critic Leonard Feather as "a dynamic song stylist recalling at times elements of Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan," Dakota Staton never enjoyed the widespread acclaim or commercial success of her reference points, but remains one of the soulful and commanding jazz singers of the postwar era. Born outside of Pittsburgh on June 3, 1930, Staton began singing and dancing as a child, later attending the Filion School of Music. At 16, she starred in the stage show Fantastic Rhythm and two years later joined local bandleader Joe Wespray. From there, Staton headlined a lengthy residency at Detroit's landmark Flame Show Bar, followed by years traveling the Midwest club circuit. Eventually she settled in New York City, and while performing at Harlem's Baby Grand she captured the attention of Capitol Records producer Dave Cavanaugh, who extended a contract offer. Staton's debut single, "What Do You Know About Love?," appeared in 1954, and a year later she claimed jazz magazine Down Beat's Most Promising Newcomer award. By no means strictly a jazz act, however, she was also a bold, brassy R&B singer and performed alongside Big Joe Turner and Fats Domino at legendary disc jockey Alan Freed's first Rock 'n' Roll Party showcases. Freed regularly played Staton's "My Heart's Delight" on his daily WINS show, and when long-awaited full-length debut The Late, Late Show finally hit retail in 1957, it proved an enormous crossover hit, peaking at number four on the Billboard pop charts. Its 1958 follow-up, The Dynamic Dakota Staton!, reached the number 22 spot and more importantly heralded the beginning of her long collaboration with arranger and conductor Sid Feller.