Dakota Staton was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and
studied music at Pittsburgh's Filion School of
Music. She was soon chosen to be a vocalist with the Joe
Wespray Orchestra, then the top band in the
Pittsburgh area. After spending two years with Wespray she
traveled to Detroit, working in various clubs
there. Staton then followed the nightclub circuit which led her
to Canada, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, St.
Louis, Cleveland, and eventually New York.
It was while singing in a Harlem nightclub called the Baby
Grand that Capitol Records producer Dave
Cavanaugh discovered Staton and signed her to the label.
After several singles Staton attracted the
attention of Down Beat magazine, winning the
magazine's high profile "Most Promising New
Award" in 1955