Related Information for Esther Phillips Esther Phillips (December 23, 1935 – August 7, 1984) was an American singer. Phillips was known for her R&B vocals, but she was a versatile singer, also performing pop, country, jazz, blues and soul music.Born Esther Mae Jones in Galveston, Texas, when she was an adolescent, her parents divorced, and she was forced to divide her time between her father in Houston and her mother in the Watts area of Los Angeles. Because she was brought up singing in church, she was hesitant to enter.. read more