Born in Nashville, Tennessee on 1 May 1944, Rita Coolidge received her early musical training singing in the church choir where her father was a minister. With her sisters, Priscilla and Linda, they performed as The Coolidge Sisters.
Rita attended Florida State University but sang and wrote throughout her college career. Upon graduation, she moved to Los Angeles. There, she met fellow musicians Leon Russell and Delaney Bramlett. In 1969, Delaney hired her as a backup singer for the band he fronted with his wife, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. For a time, the friends included Eric Clapton and George Harrison. During this time, Rita sang on sessions for Eric’s first solo album, which was released in 1970.
After this, Rita went on to work with Joe Cocker on his Mad Dogs And Englishman album / tour (along with Carl Radle and Jim Gordon).
She launched a solo career in 1971. In 1973, she married Kris Kristofferson. The two recorded several hit albums together, including Full Moon.
Rita finally broke through as a solo artist in 1977 with the album Anytime, Anywhere which featured the hits “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher”, “We’re All Alone” and “The Way You Do The Things You Do.”
Rita left the music industry for a time in the mid-80s to devote herself to various social causes. She returned in 1992 with Love Lessons. She continues to record and tour on her own and with Walela, a group consisting of herself, her sister Priscilla and neice Laura Satterfield.