Betty Carter was an American jazz singer renowned for her improvisational technique and idiosyncratic vocal style. Carter was born as Lillie Mae Jones in Flint, Michigan and grew up in Detroit, where her father led a church choir. She studied piano at the Detroit Conservatory. She won a talent contest and became a regular on the local club circuit, singing and playing piano. When she was 16, she sang with Charlie Parker, and she later performed with Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis.