No post yesterday since i gotta pretend i got some kind of life…lol. Anyway today we celebrate the 57th birthday of Miss Anita Baker!!
Until today she has had a quite successful career i’d say she has won 8 grammys, 4 time platinum seller and 2 times gold seller, that ain´t too bad i think 🙂
Let’s go back way back until the year of 1958 and the city of Toledo, Ohio cause it’s was here where Anita made her entrance to this planet. The family didn’t stay long in Toledo since Anita grew up in the town of Motown which means Detroit, Michigan.
Like many other, mostly black, singers of her generation she began singing in the local gospel choir and Anita began when she was 12. Then 4 years later she began performing with different local bands in Detroit. While growing up she listened a lot jazz ladies like Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson and Ella Fitzgerald.
In 1975 she did a successful adition for the local band Chapter 8 who was very popular in Detroit at that time. The band got a record contract with the label Ariola in 1979 and made one album before they got dumped when Ariola were acquired by Arista who paid no attention to Anita´s voice.
Picture below: Chapter 8 featuring Anita.
So here she was all of a sudden in an unexpected situation with no record contract and no job and that means no income. I think we can assume she felt quite dissiluusioned and dissappointed…i know i would if it was me…
However she had to take differenet low paid jobs before she got a steady work as a receptionist at a law firm. In 1982 she was contacted by a guy called Otis Smith whom she knew from the days with Chapter 8. He had a brand new labe called Beverly Glen and wanted to sign up Anita.
Picture above shows how the, at that time, new Beverly Glen label logo look liked.
Pleased with the new employmen benefits she signed up and eventually she flew to the west coast to record her first solo album. The album is a great production with a slick and smooth sound but the record didn´t make it that big as they hoped. Picture below showing the front of Anita’s debut album.
Her second album, “Rapture”, made it big time and is still her biggest seller, today it has sold about 8 million copies world wide. It’s a very elegant and smooth production with a less funky sound but more pop orientated. Never the less it’s a great production and here she picked her former Chapter 8 bandmate, songwriter, producer Michael J. Powell to produce the album. However the record company was initially not pleased with her choice of producer over more established.
This album gave her 2 grammy award, one for “Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female” (album) and one for “Best Rhythm and Blues Song” (the song Sweet Love). She continued making albums throughout the 80:s.
Her style is/was very romantic, smooth, mellow with influences of mainstream pop, jazz, gospel. This is not the “raw” kind of soul more sophisticated and very classy. In the 80:s and perhaps the early 90:s she was the undisputed “Queen of romantic soul”.
Latest album came in 2005 and was a christmas album. Her last album “Only Forever” was supposed to be released in October 2013 but Anita felt she needed to contiune working on it and as far as i know no new date is set. Still in 2013 she received a Grammy nomination for the song “Lately” which was a cover of a Tyrese song see picture above. This doesn´t mean she´s inactive, she is still making performances and touring in the U.S.
First song is taken from her debut album “The Songtress” from 1983 and is called “Feel the need”. This one gives you a taste of what was about to come later from Anita. It´s a great, smooth, mellow and kinda funky slick tune. Don’t forget listening to the horns arranged by the master himself, Jerry Hey.
Since it’s her birthday i’ll give you a bonus video and it’s a live performance from Wembley, London 1988 in benefit for Nelson Mandela and South Africa. She performs a classic tune written by Simon & Garfunkel called “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with the George Duke band featuring Everette Harp on alto sax.
Picture from the 1988 benefit concert held at Wembley Stadium, Lonon
#worldofslickmusic #anitabaker #toledo #ohio #detroit #michigan #sarahvaughan #nancywilson #ellafitzgerald #michigan #chapter8 #otissmith #beverlyglen #thesongtress #rapture #michaeljpowell #queenofromanticsoul #tyrese #jerryhey #wembley #london #nelsonmandela #southafrica #simonandgarfunkel #paulsimon #artgarfunkel #georgeduke #everetteharp
So enjoy the listening!