Along with the Village People, '70s disco artist Sylvester was one of the few artists of the era not afraid to openly acknowledge his homosexuality. Born Sylvester James during September 1944 in Los Angeles, CA, Sylvester was introduced to music at an early age by his grandmother, Julia Morgan, who was a jazz singer. While still a youngster, Sylvester began singing in gospel groups, while finding further inspiration from the likes of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday, among others. After relocating to San Francisco in the late '60s, Sylvester began to perform in a musical production called Women of the Blues, before becoming the star attraction of a transvestite vocal group called the Cockettes in the early '70s. After leaving the band in 1973, Sylvester signed on with the Hot Band and issued such releases as Scratch My Flower and Bazaar the same year. Sylvester's dance-happy funk style eventually transformed into disco, as his flamboyant and over-the-top stage act created quite a following for the singer in the San Francisco area. He also issued some of his best-known recordings around the end of the decade -- 1977's Sylvester and 1979's in-concert Living Proof -- while racking up such popular disco hits as "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)."