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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, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Lately (Single)

Comments

My children often talk about my listening to Anita Baker all the time back in the day. I loved Anita Baker, and still will buy anything she makes.
babyprincess g o d 5 5
music to my ears!
One of my favorites. . Love you Miss Anita!
voice is so smooth.
Luv Anita !!!!!! What a voice!!! And she didn't had to to take her cloth off to sell records like these TRIKS of today (Beyoncé )
My favorite Anita Baker song! Anita, Gladys and Aretha are the epitome of class, dignity, poise and grace. They all stay true to their convictions regarding their music. They all have enriched my life,as a teenager and as an adult. Even my children are fans of these incredible and mega talented women.
I agree with lst96rn2. Gladys the Godess and Anita the demigod. Both are worth a lifetime of listening.
lst96rn2
In my mind Anita is only a hair behind my all time favorite Gladys
My favorite lady
pure beautiful voice....awe s o m e . .
Again, there's NO other....... That voice is from the God's
Some people need attention spammers?
Really? Robert!
I still listen to Anita everyday in my car.....rapt u r e
HOPEFULLY YOU AND YOUR MUSIC WILL BRING THE WORLD LOTS OF "JOY" FOR AN ETERNITY!
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post it this you will die in two days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and you lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it works.
matos57
I was and still am in Love with this woman of romance. Her voice is as silk to my heart. Thanks Anita for adding some Love into this world.
She is an amazing Diva for real. ; )
She is the songtress of the ages. I will always love her music. Infantry59.
I love to here Anita's voice it brings me back great memories of my first love mmmmmm she is good
andreanna.me t r u l a s
One of a kind Voice !! xoxo
tkelley119
I get chills every time I hear Talk To Me! Been So Long! and Feel The Need! I can go on, but Anita Baker is in a class all by herself!!!! Thank you for making me happy when I listen to your music, Anita!!
Love her! Great music!!!
Msg to my 09/27/1981,a n d Greater Good
babyprincess g o d 5 5
Love this woman!
Thebeststaio n e v e t
I like it.
marvas1
Anita is a excellent singer in all catagories I have listened to her since day1-Marva P
I love soul music
I'm so glad I made this ANita Baker station. I may be young but my mama raised me on good music.
Takes me back to the good old days!
This song brings me back to happy times...
Don't stop the music
I love Anita B
Sweet fatal attraction
This is one of the bests song ever so guys if u have a sweet luv on your side u better hold on to her .....
love her, her songs are great'''
One of my favorites love her voice come back Anita!
captkirk79
You can tell her voice anywhere. YOU WILL KNOW IT IS ANITA! What else can be said. Awesome.
The best female vocalist ever
Only one word for her looks and music. SULTRY!!!
Anita I don't know where to start so I will sum it up in one word thats ,AWESOME
Can anybody name somedody f**kin with anita baker cause i think see the best ever
Beautiful song!
I love her, real sexy, voice& all beautiful music
Her voice <3 <3 <3
Love her music/ always will.
majelhelloms
THE BEST
Thank you Anita for your voice and the strength to move on...
This music will never go out if style
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