Anita Baker

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Anita Baker
Anita Baker 1998.jpg
Baker in 1998
Background information
Birth nameAnita Denise Baker
Born (1958-01-26) January 26, 1958 (age 61)
Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
Origin Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Years active1979–2013
Associated acts

Anita Denise Baker (born January 26, 1958) [1] is an American singer-songwriter. Starting her career in the late 1970s with the funk band Chapter 8, Baker released her first solo album, The Songstress , in 1983. In 1986, she rose to stardom following the release of her platinum-selling second album, Rapture , which included the Grammy-winning single "Sweet Love". She is regarded as one of the most popular singers of soulful romantic ballads during the height of the quiet storm period of contemporary R&B in the 1980s. [1] As of 2017, Baker has won eight Grammy Awards and has five platinum albums and one gold album. Her vocal range is contralto. [2] [3] [4] [5]

Singer-songwriter musician who writes, composes and sings

Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose, and perform their own musical material, including lyrics and melodies.

Chapter 8 was a Detroit soul group of the 1970s and 1980s formed by Michael J. Powell and David Washington. Anita Baker was featured as lead vocalist on their first, self-titled album on Ariola in 1979, produced by Michael and Derek.

<i>The Songstress</i> 1983 studio album by Anita Baker

The Songstress is the debut solo album by the American R&B/soul singer Anita Baker. It was originally released in 1983 by Beverly Glen Music, and was Baker's only album for that label prior to signing with Elektra Records with whom she had a string of hit albums. The Songstress was not a commercial success upon its initial release, though the album met with moderate success on the R&B charts. Notorious drug trafficker "Freeway" Rick Ross helped provide the money for the album.


Early life

Anita Baker was born on January 26, 1958 in Toledo, Ohio. When she was two, her mother abandoned her and Baker was raised by a foster family in Detroit, Michigan. [6] When Baker was 12, her foster parents died and her foster sister raised her afterwards. [6] By the time Baker was 16, she began singing R&B at Detroit nightclubs. After one performance, she was discovered by bandleader David Washington, who gave her a card to audition for the funk band, Chapter 8.

Toledo, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Toledo is a city in and the county seat of Lucas County, Ohio, United States. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, at the western end of Lake Erie bordering the state of Michigan. The city was founded in 1833 on the west bank of the Maumee River, and originally incorporated as part of Monroe County, Michigan Territory. It was re-founded in 1837, after conclusion of the Toledo War, when it was incorporated in Ohio.

Foster care system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a "foster parent"

Foster care is a system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a "foster parent" or with a family member approved by the state. The placement of the child is normally arranged through the government or a social service agency. The institution, group home or foster parent is compensated for expenses unless with a family member.

Detroit Largest city in Michigan

Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the largest American city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music and as a repository for art, architecture and design.

Baker joined Chapter 8 in 1975 and the group toured until securing a deal with Ariola Records in 1979. The group's first album, Chapter 8, was released that year and featured the singles "Ready for Your Love," a duet between Baker and bandmate Gerald Lyles, and the Baker-led "I Just Want to Be Your Girl." [7] After Ariola was bought out by Arista Records in 1979, Chapter 8 was dropped by the label who were convinced that Baker, as the group's lead singer, didn't have "star potential." [8] Baker returned to Detroit, working as a waitress and a receptionist until, in 1982, Otis Smith, a former associate of Ariola, convinced Baker to start a solo career under his Beverly Glen label.

Ariola Records German record label

Ariola Records is a German record label. In the late 1980s, it was a subsidiary label of Bertelsmann Music Group, which in turn has become a part of the international media conglomerate Sony Music.

<i>Chapter 8</i> (Chapter 8 album) 1979 studio album by Chapter 8

Chapter 8 is the debut studio album by the Detroit, Michigan-based group Chapter 8. It was released in 1979. It was their only album to include lead vocals from Anita Baker before she went on to solo stardom. The album for the company that was little noticed, except for the Baker-led minor hit single "Ready for Your Love". The single, written by David Washington, prefigured Baker's solo career in a duet with bandmate Gerald Lyles, backed by Michael Powell on guitar and Courtten Hale on sax.

Arista Records, Inc. is an American record label owned by Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. The label was previously handled by Bertelsmann Music Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, who formerly worked for Columbia Records. Until its demise in 2011, it was a major distributor and promoter of albums throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Along with Columbia, RCA, and Epic, Arista is one of Sony's four flagship record labels.

Music career

Baker released her debut solo album, The Songstress , in 1983. [1] The album produced four singles: "No More Tears" and its B-side, "Will You Be Mine", "Angel" and "You're the Best Thing Yet". "Angel" became Baker's first top ten single, reaching number five on the R&B charts in late 1983. "You're the Best Thing Yet" followed it in the R&B top 40 early the following year. Despite this early success, Baker later complained that she hadn't received any royalties from the work. In addition, the label delayed work on Baker's follow-up of The Songstress. By 1984, after two years, Baker sought to leave the label but was sued by Smith for breach of contract in 1985. After months in court debating the matter, it was concluded that Baker should be allowed to record for other labels, winning the case against Smith. Baker then signed with the Warner Music Group-associated Elektra Records label in 1985 and began working on her next album. Her Elektra contract allowed the singer to have creative control and produce her own music, something she wasn't allowed to do at Beverly Glen. Baker used her old Chapter 8 bandmate, songwriter and producer Michael J. Powell on her first Elektra album, though label execs were initially unhappy with her choice of Powell over more established producers.[ citation needed ]

Warner Music Group American global music conglomerate

Warner Music Group Inc. (WMG), also known as Warner Music, is an American multinational entertainment and record label conglomerate headquartered in New York City. It is one of the "big three" recording companies and the third largest in the global music industry, after Universal Music Group (UMG) and Sony Music Entertainment (SME). Formerly part of Time Warner, the company was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange until May 2011, when it announced its privatization and sale to Access Industries, which was completed in July 2011. With a multibillion-dollar annual turnover, WMG employs more than 3,500 people and has operations in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

Elektra Records American record label

Elektra Records is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group, founded in 1950 by Jac Holzman and Paul Rickolt. It played an important role in the development of contemporary folk music and rock music between the 1950s and 1970s. In 2004, it was consolidated into WMG's Atlantic Records Group. After five years of dormancy, the label was revived as an imprint of Atlantic in 2009. As of October 2018, Elektra was detached from the Atlantic Records umbrella and reorganized into Elektra Music Group, once again operating as an independently managed frontline label of Warner Music.

Michael J. Powell is an American R&B musician, record producer and arranger who is best known for his work as producer for eight time Grammy Award-winning soul / R&B vocalist Anita Baker.

In March 1986, Baker released her second album, Rapture . While sales were initially slow following the release of the album's debut single, "Watch Your Step", Elektra released the mid-tempo ballad, "Sweet Love", which became her first pop hit, reaching number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and also reaching the UK Top 20. The album eventually launched three further hit singles, including "Caught Up in the Rapture", "No One in the World" and "Same Ole Love (365 Days a Year)". Throughout 1986 and 1987, Baker promoted the album by touring, headlining her first tour, The Rapture Tour , a show from which was later released on home video as A Night of Rapture . By 1988, the album had sold over 8 million copies worldwide, 5 million of which were sold in the United States alone. The album resulted in Baker's winning two Grammy Awards at the 1987 ceremony. In 1987, Baker collaborated with The Winans on their song, "Ain't No Need to Worry", which gave Baker a third Grammy, this time in the Best Soul Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group, Choir or Chorus category.

<i>Rapture</i> (Anita Baker album) 1986 studio album by Anita Baker

Rapture is the second album by American vocalist Anita Baker, released in 1986. This became Baker's breakout album, selling over 8 million copies worldwide and earning her two Grammy Awards. The album's first track, "Sweet Love", was a top 10 Billboard hit in addition to winning a Grammy Award. The music video for the track "Same Ole Love" was filmed and recorded at Baker's Keyboard Lounge.

Sweet Love (Anita Baker song) single by Anita Baker

"Sweet Love" is a song by American R&B singer and songwriter Anita Baker from her second studio album, Rapture (1986). It was written by Anita Baker, Louis A. Johnson, and Gary Bias, and produced by Michael J. Powell. It was released on May 27, 1986 as the album's first single.

<i>Billboard</i> Hot 100 Song chart in U.S

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

Baker's follow-up, Giving You the Best That I Got , was released in October 1988 and immediately became a success, topping the Billboard 200 and selling 5 million copies worldwide, 3 million of which sold alone in the United States. The title track reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the R&B and adult contemporary charts, becoming her most successful charted single. [9] The follow-up, "Just Because", reached the top 20 on the pop chart, while a third single, "Lead Me Into Love", became a top ten R&B hit. The album resulted in three more Grammy Awards for the singer. In 1990, Baker released Compositions , which had Baker more involved in the songwriting and production process and the first in which she began incorporating more jazz elements than in previous albums. The album launched the singles "Talk to Me", "Soul Inspiration" and "Fairy Tales", and eventually sold over a million copies. After the end of the album's touring and promotion schedule in 1991, Baker took a break from the business when she settled down with her husband at the time, later having two children together. Also in 1991, Elektra re-issued Baker's first album, The Songstress, after buying rights to the album. It has sold more than 300,000 copies since its release.

<i>Giving You the Best That I Got</i> (album) 1988 studio album by Anita Baker

Giving You the Best That I Got is the third album by American R&B/soul singer Anita Baker, released in 1988. It was Baker's first and only #1 Pop album in the US, her second #1 R&B Album, and was certified 3x platinum in 1989 by the RIAA.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

Giving You the Best That I Got (song) 1988 single by Anita Baker

"Giving You the Best That I Got" is a 1988 song by American R&B recording artist Anita Baker. The song appears on Baker's album of the same name, which was released in the fall of that year. The song was written by Baker, Skip Scarborough and Randy Holland.

After appearing on Frank Sinatra's Duets album, Baker officially returned to the charts with Rhythm of Love in 1994. The album featured the hit "Body and Soul", which became her first top 40 pop hit since 1989; the second single, the mid-tempo "I Apologize", later won Baker an eighth Grammy. The album eventually sold over 2 million copies, resulting in her fourth consecutive platinum-selling album. Baker undertook the Rhythm of Love World Tour from December 14, 1994 to November 14, 1995. Baker was transferred to another label within the Warner Music Group, Atlantic Records, in 1996.

Taking a hiatus after the end of the Rhythm of Love Tour to care for her two sons, Baker returned to the studio in 2000. In May 2001, Baker filed a lawsuit against Zomba Recording and its Dreamhire division for alleged damage to her recordings caused by the hired 24-track tape machine. [1] [10] Due to a label restructuring, Baker was let go from Atlantic that November without releasing any material with the company. [11] During this hiatus, Rhino Records released the compilation, The Best of Anita Baker (named Sweet Love: The Very Best of Anita Baker in the UK) in June 2002. The album eventually was certified platinum by the RIAA, denoting sales in excess of 1,000,000 units in the US. That year, Baker returned to live performing, signing with Blue Note Records in March 2004. That September, Baker released the album, My Everything . The album peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 and number-one on the R&B charts, eventually being certified gold.

In 2005, Baker released Christmas Fantasy , winning a Grammy nomination for the song, "Christmas Time Is Here". In May 2005, Baker was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. [12] Starting in 2007, Baker embarked on a two-year concert tour titled An Evening with Anita Baker. She occasionally sang the American national anthem at sports events. [13] In August 2012, Baker released her version of Tyrese's hit, "Lately". The song made headlines for Baker after the song was played on every single hour of the hour throughout the day on urban adult contemporary radio, making her the first artist to make this kind of debut. Baker had been working on the album featuring the single, "Only Forever", since 2010. [14] Though Blue Note set release dates for the album in October and December 2012, Baker decided she still needed to work on the album, causing delays. The album never materialized. In February 2013, Baker returned to the national spotlight, performing "Lately" and "Same Ole Love" on Jimmy Kimmel Live! . That same month, she appeared at the Grammys where "Lately" was nominated for a Grammy Award. In January 2017, Baker confirmed she had retired. [15] In 2018 Anita Baker came out of retirement.

Personal life

Baker married Walter Bridgeforth, Jr. on December 24, 1988. The couple separated in 2005 and finalized their divorce two years later. [16] They have two sons, Walter Baker Bridgeforth (born January 1993) and Edward Carlton Bridgeforth (born May 1994). [17] Baker currently lives in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. [18] Her son Walter is now attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, as a drum principal, majoring in Music Production & Engineering.

More than five years after her divorce, Baker filed for a legal name change from Bridgeforth to Baker in her private life. [19]

Awards and honors

In 2013, Anita Baker was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame. [20]

BET Awards

The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate African Americans in music, acting, sports, and other fields of entertainment over the past year. The awards are presented annually, and are broadcast live on BET. [21]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2018 Anita BakerLifetime Achievement AwardWon

Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Baker has received eight awards from 18 nominations.

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1987 Rapture Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female Won
"Sweet Love" Best Rhythm & Blues Song Won
1988 "Ain't No Need to Worry" (with The Winans) Best Soul Gospel Performance by a Duo, Group, Choir or Chorus Won
1989 "Giving You the Best That I Got" Record of the Year Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated
Best R&B Vocal Performance, FemaleWon
Best Rhythm & Blues SongWon
1990 Giving You the Best That I Got Best R&B Vocal Performance, FemaleWon
1991 Compositions Best R&B Vocal Performance, FemaleWon
Compositions Best Album PackageNominated
1995 "Body and Soul"Best Female R&B Vocal PerformanceNominated
Rhythm of Love Best R&B Album Nominated
1996 "When You Love Someone" (with James Ingram) Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Nominated
"I Apologize"Best Female R&B Vocal PerformanceWon
2005 "You're My Everything" Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance Nominated
My Everything Best R&B AlbumNominated
2007 "Christmas Time Is Here"Best Traditional R&B Vocal PerformanceNominated
2013 "Lately" Best Traditional R&B Performance Nominated

American Music Awards

The American Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony created by Dick Clark in 1973. Baker has received four awards from nine nominations.

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1987 Anita Baker Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist Nominated
Rapture Favorite Soul/R&B AlbumNominated
1988 Anita BakerFavorite Soul/R&B Female ArtistWon
RaptureFavorite Soul/R&B AlbumWon
1990 Anita Baker Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist Nominated
Favorite Soul/R&B Female ArtistWon
"Just Because"Favorite Soul/R&B SingleNominated
1995 Anita BakerFavorite Soul/R&B Female ArtistWon
1996 Anita BakerFavorite Soul/R&B Female ArtistNominated

Soul Train Music Awards

The Soul Train Music Awards is an annual award show aired in national broadcast syndication that honors the best in African American music and entertainment established in 1987.

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1987 "Sweet Love" Best Single, Female Won
Best Music Video Nominated
Rapture Album of the Year, Female Nominated
1989 "Giving You the Best That I Got" Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Song of the Year Won
Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Single, FemaleWon
Giving You the Best That I Got Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Album of the Year, FemaleWon
1991 "Talk to Me"Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Single, FemaleNominated
Compositions Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Album of the Year, FemaleNominated
1995 "Body and Soul" Best R&B/Soul or Rap Music Video Nominated
Best R&B/Soul Single, FemaleWon
Rhythm of Love R&B/Soul Album of the Year, FemaleWon
2010 Anita BakerLegend Award, FemaleWon

Other honors

1994 Hollywood Walk of Fame Star at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.
2005International Artist of the YearCanadian Smooth Jazz Award [22] Won



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The Rapture Tour is a concert tour and the first headlining tour by American recording artist Anita Baker in support of her hit multi-platinum album Rapture. The tour started in mid-March 1986, visiting several cities throughout North America and Europe. In 1987, Baker kicked off a North America second leg trek, which included seven dates in Los Angeles at the Beverly Theatre in January, including two and three-night dates in Merrillville, Indiana, New York City, and Miami, Florida. The outing included four sold-out shows scheduled in Washington D.C. and three consecutive dates for a second visit in Merrillville, Indiana.

This discography documents the releases of albums and singles by Anita Baker.

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  22. Archived December 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine