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Anita Baker

With her classy, refined brand of romantic soul, Anita Baker was one of the definitive quiet storm singers of the '80s. Gifted with a strong, supple alto, Baker was influenced not only by R&B, but jazz, gospel, and traditional pop, which gave her music a distinctly adult sophistication. Smooth and mellow, but hardly lifeless, it made her one of the most popular romantic singers of her time.

Baker was born January 26, 1958, in Toledo, Ohio, and raised in nearby Detroit, where she grew up listening to female jazz singers like Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and Ella Fitzgerald. At age 12, she began singing in a gospel choir, and by age 16 she was performing with several local bands. In 1975, she successfully auditioned for Chapter 8, one of Detroit's most popular acts at the time; the group eventually signed with Ariola and released an album in 1979, but was immediately dropped when the label was acquired by Arista (which didn't care for Baker's vocals). Chastened, Baker worked low-paying jobs in Detroit and eventually found steady work as a receptionist at a law firm. In 1982, Otis Smith -- an executive who'd worked with Chapter 8 -- contacted Baker about recording for his new label, Beverly Glen. Happy with her employment benefits and skittish over the experience with Arista, Baker was reluctant at first, but eventually flew out to the West Coast to record her debut album, The Songstress, in 1983. Though it didn't gain quite enough exposure to become a hit, it did help Baker build a strong fan base through word-of-mouth, and she was signed by Elektra in 1985.

Working with producer Michael J. Powell (an old Chapter 8 cohort), Baker released her major-label debut, Rapture, in 1986. It was a platinum, Grammy-winning smash, appealing to both urban and adult contemporary listeners and producing two all-time quiet storm classics in "Caught Up in the Rapture" and "Sweet Love." Baker toured the world in 1987 and her guest appearance on the Winans track "Ain't Got No Need to Worry" won a Grammy. Her equally stylish follow-up album, Giving You the Best That I Got, appeared in 1988, spawning more staples in the title track and "Just Because." "Giving You the Best That I Got" also won Baker two more Grammys, for Best Female R&B Vocal and Best R&B Song. For her third Elektra album, Baker decided to handle a greater share of the songwriting, hence the title Compositions, which was released in 1990 and featured even stronger jazz inflections than Baker's previous work (not to mention all live instruments).

Following Compositions, Baker took a break from recording and touring; after having her first son in 1993, she returned to the studio to craft Rhythm of Love, which was released in 1994. In the years that followed, Baker was mostly silent, despite her fans' clamoring for a jazz album; instead, she raised her family and became embroiled in contract disputes with Elektra, which eventually led her to move to Atlantic. She began working on a new album in 2000, but had to start over from scratch due to defective recording equipment that made the original tracks unsalvageable. In 2004 it was announced that she had signed with Blue Note and was still working on her new album. In the meantime, the Atlantic imprint Rhino released Night of Rapture: Live, a 1987 concert originally available on video. Baker finally returned to the studio in 2003 and issued My Everything, her first album in ten years. Two years later she released her first holiday album, Christmas Fantasy. The 2012 return single "Lately," a Tyrese cover, received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Traditional R&B Performance. Its parent album, Only Forever, was prepared for 2013. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Rhythm of Love

1. Rhythm Of Love

2. The Look Of Love

3. Body And Soul

4. Baby

5. I Apologize

6. Plenty Of Room

7. It's Been You

8. You Belong To Me

9. Wrong Man

10. Only For A While

11. Sometimes I Wonder Why

12. My Funny Valentine

x

Track List: Giving You the Best That I Got

1. Priceless

2. Lead Me Into Love

3. Giving You The Best That I Got

4. Good Love

5. Rules

6. Good Enough

7. Just Because

8. You Belong To Me

x

Track List: Compositions

1. Talk To Me

2. Perfect Love Affair

3. Whatever It Takes

4. Soul Inspiration

5. Lonely

6. No One To Blame

7. More Than You Know

8. Love You To The Letter

9. Fairy Tales

x

Track List: K-The Songstress

1. Angel

2. You're The Best Thing Yet

3. Feel The Need

4. Squeeze Me

5. No More Tears

6. Sometimes

7. Will You Be Mine

8. Do You Believe Me

x

Track List: Lately (Single)

1. Lately

x

Track List: Rapture

1. Sweet Love

2. You Bring Me Joy

3. Caught Up In The Rapture

4. Been so Long

5. Mystery

6. No One In The World

7. Same Ole Love

8. Watch Your Step

Comments

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SWEET LOVE ......
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Love her always forever!!!!
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I loved Anita Baker as soon as I first heard her, although I couldn't figure out a word that she was singing until much much later. LOL
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I love all Anita music it just warms the heart. There's no music like hers
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Lovely
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pcarrdtx
I wish more artist would sound like her. Anita has one of those voices that will be timel
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Anita is 1 of my most favorite people all around :-)
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Nothing like a Detroit native! So much soul now, she can blowwww. This is a singer!
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Nothing like an Anita Baker groove, to put a smile on your face!! One of my favorites (got all her albums in my attic).
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A voice that cuts thru the night like nothin' else ever
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Anita Baker I'm your number one fan
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I ABSOLUTELY LOVE ANITA BAKER....fro m the day I heard her voice on the Rapture album!! I had to go back to hear her first Songstress afterwards.. . h e r voice is great, soothing and strong!! Love you Anita!!
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Omigosh, her music speaks to my soul! She's an iconic part of my life from the 80's and early 90's.
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Love your music Anita
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She was soul musics breath of fresh air in the 80's & 90's
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She was a soul breath of fresh air in the 80's & 90's
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I missed you the first time I can home and found your CD on my bed I have been in Love with you since when you came to my home town with Frank ieBevetly I was there but it was not good enough when you came back atpeair6 in08 I was reading I love you with all my heart Tina from BaltimoreMd.
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Anita reminds me of my childhood☺️ growing up watching my mom cook n clean to her������
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This sister know about love she knows how to give her man the Best and the brother has to do right this is old school real talk! Don don Reese stlouis
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daniel.deram u s
She brings out the best in music and memories.
Daniel DeRamus
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I was raised listening to this woman and that beautiful voice..
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REAL MUSIC BY A REAL ARTIST!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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kim.curtis0
No one like her
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What'a get when soul and class collide? Hurricane Anita is what'a get y'all.
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Love her! Soulful and sassy!
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I can remember when she did 365 days in my homeroom class kietan elementary
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Keep on giving you the best that I got
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Have always enjoyed her music her sound it's just elegant
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One of the greatest song
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Great
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dragonlady60 8 8
I still listen to this CD in my car
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Always A PLEASURE!!!! Anita is Sooooo Refreshing
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partygirls12 0
❤❤❤❤❤
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I love her music and believe she is one of the best female artist of all time. ��
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Arista reps didn't like her vocals for the same reason my mother has problems with Anita's vocals, they couldn't understand her words. At times she sounds like she is slurring words together. Now I love Anita to death and I understand her perfectly, but I was told by an Arista rep that is why they dropped her. And oh yeah they regretted it! Or so I was told.
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I love me Anita Baker her Musik will live # FOREVER .. VERYTRUE.���
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I love her voice she's one of the greatest
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Oh how I love her!
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ndman95
Classic. Her ballads are timeless and her voice takes me back to true "sweet love".
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Best female voice
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Every time I hear one of her songs it brings me back to the new puppy love my husband and I had 30yrs ago. Her songs always puts a smile on my face. After 30yrs we are still together, I would like to say her songs had a lot to do with it. Thank God for her music.
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Loved her music, Loved her classiness, Loved her style. That's when music was music.
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grandmother1 9 5 6
My girl
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Love this lady St Louis Reese!!
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One of the Best Vocals ever! Ms. Baker beautiful, classy and sassy... Still love her hair cut! Sexy!
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JRD - a very unique artist with a unique style n voice!MISSED ! !
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I put something on here before about the incomparable Ms. Baker but every time I hear this woman's voice it instantly takes my mind to another time n place. My favorite singer without question n a beautiful person inside n out..God bless you and thank you for blessing us with your gift.
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One the BEST female vocalist of all times love love her!!!!
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Detroit gave the world Queen of Soul and now the diva - Mrs. A. Baker- wow. Thanks for being a classy and smart woman. Mrs. Diva from Detroit - Anita Baker. Your music - "Bring the world Joy"!
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#1 favorite great female beautiful and classy singer love her music.
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