In 1969, Etta got married to Artis Mills. As a married couple, they became parents twice. While she was married to him, she got involved in several legal issues like drug addiction and possession. They also severed prison for several years.
Etta was interested in singing since she was a baby girl. At the age of five, she took vocal training with James Earle Hines. She sang at the St. Paul Baptist Church and she also influenced several people from her sweet voice. During the early 1950s, she began listening to Doo-wop and formed the musical group, Creolettes. They performed in several night clubs. They signed a recording deal with Modern Records. After this deal was released, she signed a contract with Argo Records and her debut studio album, At Last! was finally released on 15th of November 1960. Her second album, The Second Time Around was released at the end of 1961.
Though James had a successful singing career, she was often involved in a string of legal problems. He was a drug addict and was also arrested for heroin possession. She was also sentenced to drug treatment. In the early 2010, she was hospitalized for minor infection but the following year, she was diagnosed with leukemia and it took her life on 20th of January 2012. Her net worth was said to be around $16 million.