- Anita Baker
Infobox Musical artist
Name = Anita Baker
Background = solo_singer
Born = birth date and age|mf=yes|1958|1|26
Ohio, United States
Origin = Detroit,
Michigan, United States
Genre = R&B, soul,
quiet storm, adult contemporary, smooth jazz
Voice Type = Alto
Years_active = 1978–present
Label = Beverly Glen (1981–1984)
Blue Note (2004–present)
URL = [http://www.bluenote.com/ArtistBiography.aspx?ArtistId=920438 Blue Note Artist Page]
1986 - 1989: The critical and commercial success
In 1985, Baker got a major label contract with
Elektra Records, a division of Warner Music Group. She released her second album, "Rapture" in 1986, produced by her friend from Chapter 8, Michael J. PowellThis album reafforded her the opportunity to stretch her skills; she wrote "Been So Long", "Watch Your Step" and " Sweet Love". "Sweet Love", "Caught Up In the Rapture", "No One In The World", and "Same Ole Love" became major R&B and Adult Contemporary chart hits during 1986 and 1987, with "Sweet Love" becoming a top ten pop hit as well, peaking at #8.Whitburn, Joel (1996). "The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits", 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)] By the time "Rapture" had completed its chart run, it had sold 8 million copies worldwide and also earned Baker two Grammys.
In 1987, Baker collaborated with
The Winanson the single "Ain't No Need To Worry" and this single led Baker to her third Grammy award. At the same time, she also worked on her follow-up album " Giving You the Best That I Got" in between a busy performance schedule. This album was released in October 1988. She worked with Michael J. Powellagain, and the album became a critical and commercial success, which sold another 5 million copies worldwide. It features such hits as "Just Because" and the title track, which became Baker's biggest pop hit, reaching number three on the "Billboard" Hot 100 while going to number one R&B and Adult Contemporary. Critics noted that, single-handedly, through her first three albums, "Anita Baker has set a new standard and helped redefine the sound of contemporary music recorded by female vocalists in the '80s and the '90s."
Anita Baker's promotional tour for her "Rapture" album, was titled "
A Night of Rapture". The tour was performed around the world from 1987-1988.
Baker returned to the studio in 1990 for her third Elektra album "Compositions". On it, Anita wanted to be more involved in song writing and wished to experiment with jazz. Baker wrote seven of the songs on this album, including the hits "Talk to Me", "Fairy Tales", "No One To Blame", and "Whatever It Takes" (written with Gerald Levert) and "Soul Inspiration". The album was mostly cut live, meaning that the rhythm section was playing as Baker sang. The album was produced by Michael J. Powell and included musicians Greg Philinganes, Nathan East,
Paulinho da Costa, Vernon Fails, Ricky Lawson and Stephen Ferrone. Baker's involvement in the whole recording process gave the album a personal touch and for the effort she received her 7th Grammy award.
Though the three singles from "Compositions" all failed to reach Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart ("Talk to Me" came closest to the top 40, at #44 pop), they still became Top 20 hits on the R&B Singles Chart and were also moderate Adult Contemporary hits. "Compositions" peaked at #5 on the
Billboard 200Albums Chart, #3 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, #4 on the Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz Albums, and was certified Platinum by RIAA.
After almost five years of touring, performing, and recording non-stop, Anita took a break, only entering the studio to record the jazz standard "Witchcraft" with
Frank Sinatrafor his 1993 "Duets" album.
Rhythm of Love
Her fifth album, "Rhythm of Love", was issued in September 1994. After she ended the partnership with
Michael J. Powell, Anita produced most of the album. However, this time many famous producers like George Duke, Arif Mardin, Barry J. Eastmondand Tommy LiPumaalso contributed to the album. "Rhythm Of Love" was mainly recorded in Baker's home due to her pregnancy, and she wrote 5 out of 12 songs. She selected "My Funny Valentine" to be the last song, a song that proves that Anita should do an all jazz album in many fans' opinion.
This album sold exceptionally well selling 1-million copies in its first week; peaked at #3 on the
Billboard 200Albums Chart and #1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The first single, "Body and Soul," became Baker's first top 40 pop hit in over five years. It was certified double platinum by RIAAand received her 8th Grammy for the second single "I Apologize" for best R and B vocal performance female in 1995.
Back to music industry
On June 11, 2002, Rhino Records UK released "" a compilation of hits in the United Kingdom from 1983-2002. On June 18, 2002, Rhino Records released "
The Best of Anita Baker" in the United States, a compilation of hits from 1983-2002. The UK edition included some songs that were not included in the US version, and vice-versa.
Two years later, in March 2004,
Blue Note Recordsannounced that they had signed Baker to an exclusive recording contract that would result in at least two albums. Bruce Lundvall, president/CEO of EMIJazz & Classics, signed her after she approached him to record for Blue Note. At the same time Rhino Recordsreleased "", a compilation that contains nine live tracks and three multimedia videos recorded in the late 1980s.
In September, after a decade, Anita Baker finally released her long-awaited original album "My Everything". Co-Produced by
Barry J. Eastmondand Baker herself, she wrote or co-wrote nine of this album's 10 tracks, including a duet with Babyface, "Like You Used To Do." Though she had been out of the limelight for so long, this album became a critical and commercial success. It debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200Albums Chart and #1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The album was certified gold by the RIAA for sales of 500,000 copies.
In October 2005, she released her first Christmas album, "
Christmas Fantasy". Once again produced by Baker and Barry J. Eastmond, the album mixes traditional Christmas carols (" God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen"), standards (" I'll Be Home for Christmas"), re-imagined classics ("Frosty's Rag"), Broadway show tunes ("My Favorite Things"), and three new songs by Baker and Eastmond ("Moonlight Sleighride", "Family of Man", and "Christmas Fantasy"). She received a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance in 2007 for the song "Christmas Time Is Here." To date, Baker has four Platinum albums and three Gold albums.
In 2007, Anita Baker appeared on Dave Koz's album, "At The Movies". She sang "Somewhere" from the broadway musical, "West Side Story".
Anita Baker is currently touring during summers and weekends, to accommodate her sons' (Walter Jr. & Eddie) school schedule. During her July 12, 2008 performance at DTE Energy Music Theater, Anita Baker stated they were recording that performance and were going to release a new DVD and/or CD Live Collection. At the end of the show, they stated the live collection would be released in early 2009. In 1988, Anita Baker released A Night of Rapture: Live on VHS, it was re-released in June 2007 on a DVD format.
Anita Baker's current tour is titled "
An Evening with Anita Baker".
elective awards and recognitions
* [http://www.bluenote.com/ArtistBiography.aspx?ArtistId=920438 Official Blue Note biography]
* [http://music.msn.com/artist/?artist=16073191 MSN Music page]
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