Our Story

From the Queen of Soul, to the King of Rock and Roll, THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS have provided the background vocals on more million-seller singles than any other group. Unsurpassed in the industry, they were the most sought after background vocalists by producers to inspire their artists to do their best work. In addition to their work on some of Aretha Franklin’s greatest recordings in the late 60’s, their numerous recordings and live performances with Elvis Presley to their work on most of Dionne Warwick’s recordings produced by Burt Bacharach, THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS also had hits and releases under their own name. In 1967 Cissy Houston, Myrna Smith, Estelle Brown & Sylvia Shemwell were offered their own recording contract at Atlantic Records where they ultimately released five albums and numerous singles, leading off with their 1968 chart topper, “SWEET INSPIRATION” which reached #5 on the R&B chart and #18 on the Pop chart. The Sweet Inspirations became even more in demand for background sessions as their popularity climbed. Shuffling between recordings and live performances with Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Elvis Presley as well as their own commitments. Though Cissy Houston left the group after their last Atlantic Recording, the original members Myrna Smith, Estelle Brown & Sylvia Shemwell recorded an excellent album for Stax Records in Memphis in 1973. After this - their final recording - the girls went their separate ways to pursue individual careers. Reunited in 1994 to perform on selected shows (including a tribute to Elvis Presley), the original trio of Estelle, Myrna and Sylvia were joined by Portia Griffin who previously had sung with Herbie Hancock, Bobbie Brown, Jeffrey Osborne (for 18 years) and most recently The Black Crows. Today they continue to tour with the Elvis Live show in the States as well as numerous engagements in Europe and abroad. They will also be featured this year in the main showroom of the LVH formerly the Las Vegas Hilton on the same stage they did 837 sold out shows with Elvis at this year's Las Vegas Elvis Fest. They were also recently featured heavily on background vocals on the Pat Hodges Billboard Top Ten Club Hit, “LOVE REVOLUTION”. Sadly, Myrna Smith passed away on Christmas Eve and is dearly missed. They currently tour with Estelle Brown and Portia Griffin and occasionally add a third girl, Kelly Jones of Los Angeles who substituted for Sylvia when she took ill. They have completed their work on their own full length CD with writer producer, Peitor Angell. The CD, titled “IN THE RIGHT PLACE” is a combination of Club Tracks as well as Soul and R&B tracks.