Otis discovered her performing at the Ellis Theater, the venue which she feels was sort of a birthing ground for her musical style. Otis dropped by one of the venue's regular talent shows only to observe DeSanto walking off with first prize. He promptly offered her a contract to come to Los Angeles to cut her first record ever. From the late '50s onward she performed regularly at rhythm & blues havens such as the Apollo in New York, the Regal in Chicago, and the Howard in Washington, D.C. At the Apollo she made quite an impression on the so-called "Godfather of Soul," James Brown, leading to her becoming his opening act for two years.
In 1964, DeSanto was the only female performer on a touring American Folk Blues Festival bill with a lineup that would make a blues fan soak the concert program with drool, including Willie Dixon, Sleepy John Estes, Clifton James, Sunnyland Slim, Hubert Sumlin, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Sonny Boy Williamson II, also known as Rice Miller. She has written some 100 songs and prefers to perform her own material. On a series of four excellent compact discs on the Jasman label, only two songs are not written by her. Classic Sugar Pie, released in 1997, was the first full-length live recording by this artist whose on-stage workout has always totally bypassed her record releases in terms of creativity and intensity. This recording reveals that advancing age isn't stopping her from continuing to expand her talent base: she branches out into country & western. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi