Artist Spotlight: Anita Baker

Anita Denise Baker was born on January 26th, 1958 in Toledo, Ohio. The American singer-songwriter was to begin her career in the 1970’s. Chapter 8, was the funk band she had joined and eventually she would later release her first solo album, The Songstress, in the year 1983. A couple of years later she would release her platinum-selling album, Rapture. Her album would include her Grammy winning single “Sweet Love”. Up until now, Baker has won a total of eight Grammy Awards and has quite the credit under her belt, with five platinum albums and one gold album. 

With a vocal range of contralto, Baker would begin singing R&B at Detroit nightclubs at the tender age of 16. At one of those performances she would be discovered by David Washington, a bandleader that would have her audition for a spot in the funk band, Chapter 8. 

Anita would join the group in 1975 and would obtain a deal with Ariola Records in 1979. The first album, Chapter 8, would feature duets that band members Anita Baker and Gerald Lyles would partake in. Sadly, short after the album release, Ariola Records would be bought out by Artist Records and Chapter 8 would be dropped from the label solely because they believed that the groups lead singer, Anita, did not have “star potential”.

Anita would return to Detroit and obtain jobs as a waitress and receptionists for law firms. As a former band mate of Chapter 8, she was reached out to by former members and persuaded her to start her solo career. She began her solo career with Beverly Glen label and would release her first solo album, The Songstress, in 1983. She had much success with her singles such as, “No More Tears”,  “ Will  You Be Mine” and “Angel”. Her mainstream success began in 1986 with her second album release of, Rapture. She would release multiple singles as well and would soon then begin promoting her first tour. Her album had sold 8 million copies worldwide, while 5 million were in the United States alone.Up until now Anita has had great success, from appearing on Frank Sinatra’s Duets album, to returning to the charts in 1994 with Rhythm of Love.

To André, Anita has been such a great influence to his life, as the light that emanates from Anita, emanates from André as well. Baker has been so passionate about staying in the R&B roots, and with those roots being so embedded into her passion for singing and songwriting, it is something that André is passionate about as well. Anita was always so gracious and inviting to André, she always had a hug waiting for you and her vocal ability was forever present on stage.The sweet and funny songstress would be one of the greatest interviews that André would have on Stevens-Thomas with Notes, a radio show André produced. One interview that would leave such a positive impact on André.