Soul Tracks - Tracking the World's Greatest Soul Music

Anita Baker

     
Anita Baker

Greetings SoulTrackers! From my family to yours join me in celebrating this joyous time of year with my new album, Christmas Fantasy. This album is very special to me because it is my first holiday recording and I had a lot of fun making it with such great musicians as George Duke, Nathan East, Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, and the Yellowjackets to name a few. Thanks to Chris and the SoulTracks crew and all the fans who have supported me since day one and a happy holidays to all!!!

Merry Christmas,

Anita Baker (Dec. '05)



Web Sites:
Unofficial Fanpage
The Anita Baker Pages

Biography

Both beautiful and an extremely talented singer and songwriter, Anita Baker was nearly a no show for the world of music. She had been singing in various groups and choirs in her native Detroit since she was a teenager, but while she was loved locally, she had received enough negative reviews from record label execs that, at age 22, she was ready to quit music for good.

Not long after completing high school, Baker joined Chapter 8, a local group that had signed a national record contract with Ariola Records, later a part of Arista. However, the group only recorded one 1979 album and Baker was labeled by Arista as a mediocre lead singer not worth supporting. The humiliated Baker left music, taking an administrative job in a Detroit lawyer's office before she was approached to record a 1983 album for upstart California label Beverly Glen (which also signed Bobby Womack around the same time to record his now classic The Poet). The resulting album was The Songstress, a roughly arranged album that showed a developing young star with a beautifully smokey, deep voice, still learning her craft. However, she absolutely nailed two songs on the album, the big ballad "No More Tears" and "Angel," a jazzy, mellow cut that became a smash on Black radio and created an immediate buzz for the unheard of singer and record label. It also attracted the attention of Elektra Records, which signed Baker to her first major label deal.

Baker teamed with former Chapter 8 bandmate Michael Powell for her wonderful Elektra debut, Rapture. The first single, "Watch Your Step," was a moderate Soul hit, but it was the catchy follow up ballad, "Sweet Love," that brought across-the-board attention to the album and resulted in Baker winning 1986 Grammy Awards for best R&B Female Vocalist and best R&B Song. Baker won another Grammy the next year for a duet on the Winans' "Ain't No Need to Worry." By the time of her 1988 release, Giving You The Best I Got, Baker was at the top of her game, and the disc immediately topped by the Pop and Soul charts. The title cut of that album, one of the classiest and most intelligent popular songs of that year, won Baker three more Grammies and clearly established her as the number one Lady of Soul.

Baker followed in 1990 with Compositions, a much more personal album of her own songs, more directly aimed at urban radio. It went top 5 Pop and Soul, but the more subtle melodies and arrangements were not crossover material, and began to migrate her away from the level of crossover single success she attained with her previous two albums.

She married Detroit real estate developer Walter Bridgeforth and the two began raising a family, delaying the release of her next album, Rhythm of Love, until 1994. It too was a hit, and featured the beautifully arranged jazz ballad, "Body and Soul."

After Rhythm of Love, Baker dedicated herself to her growing family, refusing to record or tour for several years. She ultimately left Elektra and signed with Atlantic Records in 2000, and began to work on her first album in a half decade. Unfortunately, faulty tapes resulted in the entire album being lost after a lengthy recording period, leading to lawsuits and to delays in Baker's comeback. This was combined the following year with a series of family illnesses and Baker's separation from Bridgeforth, leaving her as a busy, full time mother and caregiver.

After the death of her mother in 2002, Baker was ready to try to sing in public again. It began by her performing the national anthem at a basketball game and ultimate led to her singing a few concerts at the end of the year. Also that year, Rhino Records released The Best of Anita Baker, an excellent compilation of her five albums (including two cuts from The Songstress).

In September, 2004, Anita released My Everything on Blue Note Records, her first new studio album in a decade. It landed in the Pop and Soul top 10 and earned her a Grammy nomination. She followed it two years later with Christmas Fantasy, her first holiday album. She then went quiet again for three years before beginning work on a new studio album in early 2010. Bits and pieces were leaked out over the next two years, before the single "Lately" was issued in August, 2012. It was the first release from the album Only Forever, which is presumably to be issued in late 2012.

In many ways, it is difficult to believe Anita Baker has only released five regular studio albums, as her effect on Soul radio has been immense. Along with Luther Vandross, she virtually created Urban Adult Contemporary as a viable radio format in the 80s, and, while her music was more sophisticated and orchestral than today's neo-Soul women such as Jill Scott and India.Arie, they owe a huge debt to Baker for demonstrating that a mature soul audience would buy CDs and for creating a pathway for artists to reach that audience.

by Chris Rizik


Video

Comments

We need more Anita!

Hey Anita! We need another album from you!

Compositons is her best/We need a Live DVD

Isnt it amazing how this lady only has 7 CDs.Anita is even better Live

New CD

Hey Kema. I know you keep track of this stuff. Does she have anything new coming soon?

still supported

I love Anita Baker, she was performing in Atlantic City on August 18th I know I could not attend do to a prior engagement but i brought a ticket anyway

New CD

she is currently working on a new cd with blue note she can take her time so it will be a couple of years, it took her two and a half years to finish My Everything

Wow

Anita,

I hope you get around to reading these things. As a result of the current writer's strike, they played an older Tonite Show where you performed. You reminded me of the the beauty and dreams of how things should be.

All the best.

Ciao,

Wayne
wayne.pennington@baesystems.com

to the moderator

I'm in Korea and am not up to date on everything going on over there. So if my previous message is out of line, please pardon my ignorance. You get a little disconnected after being away for a while.

I did enjoy seeing Anita and her magic on the Tonight show which was filmed ... probably quite a while ago. Jay's hair still had some darkness in it. ;-)

Happy holidays and all the best to all of you and yours.

Wayne

Raleigh Concert

I just came back from an Anita Baker concert in Raleigh at the RBC Center that was VERY disappointing. First, our tickets said the concert started at 6:00. We arrived 30 minutes early and ended up being kept outside until after 7:00 because Miss Baker was doing a sound check. When we finally were allowed into the building, we got seated and waited until 7:45 when a comedian came on to "warm up the crowd". He ended up talking on stage for about 15 minutes in total darkness because no one was there to put a spot light on him. Eventually, he got a spot light and he did his thing until 8:15 when he left saying that Miss Baker would be right out. He ended up having to come back out to stall again. The crowd wasn't happy. He kept saying Miss Baker would be out in a few minutes. When he left the stage, they had an intermission for another 15 minutes and when the crowd started clapping and booing, the comic came back out. He told us again that Miss Baker was coming right out. This time she did come out finally at around 9:00. The crowd was glad to see her - but when her band started playing and she began to sing the sound was way too loud and distorted. Apparently, the sound problem, the problem all along, was still not fixed. We tried to stay to hear her concert - but just couldn't deal with the screaming and the poor sound. It was very disapointing. When we complained to the venue about the sound, they told us Miss Baker uses her own sound people and equipment and that they had nothing to do with it. One more thing about this concert was when Miss Baker did come out on stage she never mentioned WHY everyone was kept waiting for so long. It was very unprofessional and we felt like we were sitting in a bad high school perfomance - except this one cost us $150 for the tickets and another $10 to park.
yardshoper

I just ordered another one

I just ordered another one of her albums can't wait to get it, i've played out every other track of hers. I know my nephrite doesn't like her music so i got him some nickelback tickets for him and his friends.

I just bought airline

I just bought airline tickets,show tickets, and hotel resort reservations to see Anita in San Diego,Ca. September. Can't wait !!

I went to see Anita last

I went to see Anita last night in Birmingham at the BJCC. When I left, I felt like I still owed her some money. The tickets were 65+, but the preformance was 100+. Her performance was awesome. I love Anita and I want to see her again. Anita if you read this, know that if you EVER need a kidney, I am willing to give you one of mine.

angelahbryant@earthlink.net

Hi, I'm hoping Anita will

Hi, I'm hoping Anita will read this. My Fiancee is her biggest fan ever. She recently turned me on to her music and I must say I now am also A fan. I however will never match her unbridled enthusiasm for Anita. She is rabid! I don't think anybody could possibly match her devotion to one artist. I asked her what would be the best present she could imagine. She said to meet Anita Baker! So if you read this and want to meet your biggest fan ever please contact me.

Chuckydog@q.com

Hey Anita, yes we all need

Hey Anita, yes we all need another good album from you

we love you anita baker you

we love you anita baker you are the best i enjoy listening to your music.

we love you anita baker you

we love you anita baker you are the best i enjoy listening to your music.