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Anita Baker

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Collection of 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, OH, 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 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 were 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 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 10 years. Two years later she released her first holiday album, Christmas Fantasy. Allmusic by Steve Huey

Album: The Songstress (1983)


01. Angel
02. You're The Best Thing Yet
03. Feel The Need
04. Squeeze Me
05. No More Tears
06. Sometimes
07. Will You Be Mine
08. Do You Believe Me


Album: Rapture (1986)


01. Sweet Love
02. You Bring Me Joy
03. Caught Up In The Rapture
04. Been So Long
05. Mystery
06. No One In The World
07. Same Ole Love
08. Watch Your Step


Album: Giving You the Best That I Got (1988)


01. Priceless
02. Lead Me Into Love
03. Giving You The Best That I Got
04. Good Love
05. Rules
06. Good Enough
07. Just Because
08. You Belong To Me


Album: Compositions (1990)


01. Talk To Me
02. Perfect Love Affair
03. Whatever It Takes
04. Soul Inspiration
05. Lonely
06. No One To Blame
07. More Than You Know
08. Love You To The Letter
09. Fairy Tales


Album: Rhythm Of Love (1994)


01. Rhythm Of Love
02. The Look Of Love
03. Body And Soul
04. Baby
05. I Apologize
06. Plenty Of Room
07. It's Been You
08. You Belong To Me
09. Wrong Man
10. Only For A While
11. Sometimes I Wonder Why
12. My Funny Valentine


Album: The Best Of Anita Baker (2002)


01. Angel
02. You're The Best Thing Yet
03. No More Tears
04. Sweet Love
05. Caught Up In The Rapture
06. You Bring Me Joy
07. Same Ole Love (365 Days A Year)
08. No One In The World
09. Ain't No Need To Worry
10 Giving You the Best That I Got
11. Good Love
12. Just Because
13. Lead Me Into Love
14. Fairy Tales
15. Talk To Me
16. Body And Soul
17. I Apologize
18. It's Been You


Album: My Everything (2004)


01. You're My Everything
02. How Could You
03. In My Heart
04. Serious
05. How Does It Feel
06. Like You Used To Do
07. Close Your Eyes
08. You're My Everything Revisited
09. I Can't Sleep
10. Men In My Life


Album: A Night of Rapture Live (2004)


01. Caught Up In The Rapture
02 Mystery
03. Been So Long
04. No One In The World
05. Same Ole Love (365 Days a Year)
06. Watch Your Step
07. Moondance
08. You Bring Me Joy
09. Sweet Love



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