Ersi Arvizu grew up in East Los Angeles in a highly musical family, where she was raised on a steady diet of ranchera, mariarchi, soul, and R&B. Her familial ties brought the young artist her first taste of success in 1964 with the single "Gee Baby Gee," a number three hit for her Latin soul group, the Sisters, featuring siblings Rosella and Mary. Arvizu spent the remainder of the decade fronting a variety of groups before landing a permanent spot in the mid-'70s with Latin rock giants El Chicano ("Sabor a Mi" and "I'm a Good Woman"). In 2004 she appeared on Ry Cooder's award-winning concept album Chavez Ravine. Cooder eventually returned the favor in 2008 by producing Arvizu's very first solo album, Friend for Life, for the Anti label.