Betty Carter (born Lillie Mae Jones, May 16, 1929 - September 26, 1998) was an American jazz singer known for her improvisational technique, scatting and other complex musical abilities that demonstrated her vocal talent and imaginative interpretation of lyrics and melodies. The vocalist Carmen McRae once remarked, "There's really only one jazz singer - only one: Betty Carter."
Carter was born in Flint, Michigan, and grew up in Detroit, where her father, James Jones, was the musical director of a Detroit church and her mother, Bessie, was a housewife. As a child, Carter was raised to be extremely independent and to not expect nurturing from her family. Even thirty years after leaving home, Carter was still very aware of and affected by the home life she was raised in, and was quoted saying:
"I have been far removed from my immediate family. There's been no real contact of phone calls home every week to find out how everybody is.... As far as my family is concerned,...
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