Born Dione LaRue in Philadelphia, Dee Dee developed her musical talent during adolescence when she performed as a background singer in the gospel music field. Sharp didn't plan on a career in music but one day she answered a help wanted ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer for a singer who could read music and play the piano. She landed the job at Cameo-Parkway Records in Philadelphia.
Cameo, then one of the hottest independent record concerns in the country, used Sharp as a background vocalist. The recording company was located on the sixth floor of an office building on Locust Street, in a makeshift studio that had been converted from a room in one of the offices. The studio was so small that recording could not begin until the other office workers in the building had left for the day.
|Dee Dee and Chubby Checker|
Sharp accompanied Chubby Checker as the female singer on his duet-like 1962 record "Slow Twistin'." After hearing Sharp record "Slow Twistin" with Checker, it was decided to try her solo on a record idea the company had; the song, "Mashed Potato Time," which was loosely based on the Marvelettes "Mr. Postman," which had become a popular Mashed Potato dance hit. One evening Sharp returned to the studio with her grandmother and she recorded the song. Both "Mashed Potato Time" and its follow up, "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)" were hits.
She quickly scored with two more hits; "Ride" and "Do the Bird." Both "Mashed Potato Time" and "Ride" each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold records.
Sharp had a brief career resurgence during the disco era: as a member of the Philadelphia International All Stars (which also included Lou Rawls, Billy Paul, Teddy Pendergrass, The O'Jays and Archie Bell) she had a minor hit with "Let's Clean Up the Ghetto."
In 1981 she spent four weeks at number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart with "Breaking and Entering" / "Easy Money," from her album Dee Dee.