Ella Washington was born in Miami, Florida. She first recorded in 1965 for the local Octavia label, but with no success. In 1967 she was signed to the Nashville-based Sound Stage 7 label, where she was produced by legendary R&B DJ John Richbourg. Here she recorded her only hit, and a modest one at that in terms of chart position. "He Called Me Baby" was an inspired arrangement of a country song by Harlan Howard (originally titled "She Called Me Baby"). Washington was the first to record it as a soul song, and her version was an absolute masterpiece. It did chart, but only at #38 on the R&B chart and #77 on the pop chart.
In 1969 a self-titled album was released, mostly recorded in Nashville with local session musicians (pianist Bob Wilson, guitarist Mac Gayden, bassist Tim Drummond and drummer Kenny Buttrey). It was an excellent collection of southern soul numbers, and should have been the start of a highly successful career for Washington.
Unfortunately she had no further hits, despite recording into the early 70s (including some sessions at Fame Studios). In 1973 she moved away from soul and into gospel music.