Diana Ross was raised in the low-income Brewster-Douglass housing project in Detroit, where she had to share one bed with two sisters and three brothers. Despite the obvious hardship, Ross recalls her childhood as a happy one. "We always had a good life," she told Woman's Day in 1990. "It wasn't like we had gobs of money. But we always had what we needed somehow. Later on, I found out that our neighborhood is called the ghetto. But, basically, it was a warm, loving family environment. There was always something exciting going on."
When the new Motown Records company was started in Detroit, Ross and her fellow singers began hanging around the building in hopes of being discovered. Ross gives a lot of credit to her mother in supporting her quest to become a singer. As she told Woman's Day, "She [her mother] said, 'Is this what you want to do? Do you think you can do this well?' And I said 'Yes.' And she said, 'I want you to finish high school and we'll do that.'" Berry Gordy, Jr., the creator of Motown, brought the Primettes and Primes on board in 1961. The Primettes were so young that their parents had to be in attendance when the contracts were signed. Gordy renamed the group The Supremes and used them primarily as backup singers for established Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells.