Sugar Pie Desanto was a Filipino-American rhythm and blues singer, her career flourished during the 1950s and 1960s.
Desanto was born ‘Peylia Marsema Balinton’ was born on October 16, 1935, in Brooklyn, New York to a Filipino father and black mother who as a concert pianist. Desanto grew up in San Francisco, CA and stood at 4 feet 11 inches, one of her childhood friends was Etta James.
Desanto was discovered in 1955 by John Otis. She then toured with the Johnny Otis Revue and earned the stage name ‘Sugar Pie.’
In 1960, DeSanto rose to stardom when her single “I Want to Know” reached number four on Billboard’s Hot R&B chart. She recorded the song with her husband, Pee Wee Kingsley. Soon thereafter their marriage ended.
DeSanto eventually relocated to Chicago and signed with Chess Records in 1962 as a recording artist and writer. In 1965, under the name Peylia Parham, began writing a collaboration with Shena DeMell. They produced the song “Do I Make Myself Clear”, which DeSanto sang as a duet with Etta James. The song reached the top 10. In October 2006, Davis died attempting to extinguish a fire that destroyed their apartment in Oakland, California.