Bullock and her sister began to frequent nightclubs in St. Louis and East St. Louis. She first saw Ike Turner perform with his band the Kings of Rhythm at Club Manhattan in the East St. Louis. Bullock was impressed by his talent, recalling that she "almost went into a trance" watching him play. She felt the urge to sing with Turner's band despite the fact that few women had ever sung with him. One night in 1957, she was given a microphone by Kings of Rhythm drummer Eugene Washington during an intermission and she sang the B. B. King blues ballad, "You Know I Love You". Upon hearing Bullock sing, Turner asked her if she knew more songs, and she sang the rest of the night; becoming a featured vocalist with the Kings of Rhythm. During this period, he taught her the finer points of vocal control and performance. Bullock's first studio recording was in 1958 under the name "Little Ann" on the single "Boxtop. " She is credited as a vocalist on the record alongside Ike and fellow Kings of Rhythm singer Carlson Oliver.