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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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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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NOW THAT A BAD LADEY
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CLASSIC LADY !
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timeless
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Still one of my favorite singers
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My favorite singer
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I love you just because i do ricky love you
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You bring me joy love you baby forever ricky
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She has a very different voice, I like hearing her sing what ever happened to her.?
.
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michael1510
Anita Baker is truly in a class all by herself.
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athaler72
More of a baritone than an alto on Sweet Thing. Whoever wrote the Pandora notes for the song was way off.
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One of my favorite female singer's
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Mrs. Detroit - just a continue of all the sharp sister that came out of the city & state. Just Because!!!
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Love her voice. However, I've heard that she's nasty to work with and that's what killed her career.
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Very smart and classy woman. That is missing today with some of the sisters. Help.
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marty2411har r i s
My favorite! Her music is timeless to me. So underated!
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Beautiful music
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I love you and you're music
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A very smart and classy woman. Thanks for sharing one of your gifts with the world. Peace Diva....
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The best music/voice ever to make love...
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dragonlady60 8 8
My fave soul singer ANITA
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I love everything you do $$DFG Best
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Sweet lady
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I loved this Album/CD,:TH I S was BAD!!!!
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I Have Always Loved That Song!!! I feel It In My BONES! SMOCHES!!!!! TO ANITA!!!!
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Love the variety of this station. Love her 2
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Always giving you the best that she's got
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nuqueen2
She is my favorite singer. Period.
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aramis310
This channel never fail
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she's the GREATEST to me! Love her voice and music!
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Her Voice Is Everything
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I remember my Dad listening to you in the car He loved you...havnt seen Him since so your voice is my only connection to Him...Thank you God for blessing us with Anita and Her Angelic voice!!! God Bless!!!
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We love you Anita, only the best always!
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Lawwwwd Anita. Where art thou? We need MORE music from YOU! #lovemesomeh e r #realmusic
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God does her voice do something for me!
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Saw her live in her hometown of Detroit. She sounds just like her records. No lip syncing. Great show. Will go see her again if she ever comes to Dallas. Young singers take note of what a real singer is.
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One of my favs!!!
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Sweet love Anita baker,where are you now?.unsung next season...
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Entree
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How sweet is
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Sweet
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