“Fear doesn’t overcome me. I say if it’s going to be done, let’s do it.
Let’s not put it in the hands of fate.
Let’s not put it in the hands of someone who doesn’t know me.”
I conducted research by using scholarly journal articles that included Anita Baker’s background information and her influence on soul and R&B in the industry. Before researching Anita Baker, I did not know much about her than her two songs, “Sweet Love” and “Giving You The Best That I Got.” Quite honestly, I thought Anita Baker had passed away not too long ago. At the time I did not know how much of an impact Baker had on the soul/R&B genre. Not only that, but how many awards her albums and songs have gotten, and her lasting influence she has had on performers that came after her. I chose Anita baker because I really enjoy listening to both of her songs I mentioned earlier and I wanted to learn more about her and her work. It was also pleasant to know she is still alive today!
Anita Baker is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter known for her elegant R&B canon, with hits like “Sweet Love” and “Just Because.” Baker made her album debut in 1983 with The Songstress before releasing several years later her megahit Rapture, featuring the single “Sweet Love.” With a lush, soaring voice, Baker has remained a revered force in contemporary soul music for decades with tunes like “Just Because,” “Talk to Me” and “Body and Soul.” She has not only won eight Grammy awards, and has five platinum albums, but one gold album to her name. Anita 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.
Although Anita was among other popular female soul singers of her time, Anita Baker is a tiny powerhouse who helped unleash a new generation of female soul singers by her many achievements at a young age.
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. When she was 12, her foster parents died and her foster sister raised her. 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. Anita 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.” 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.” 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.
Baker got married to Walter Bridgeforth Jr. in December of 1988. However, the marriage ended in a divorce in 2007. The couple has two children, both sons, named Walter Baker Bridgeforth and Edward Carlton Bridgeforth.
Baker’s most important work in her career was the album ‘Rapture’ which sold more than eight million copies. Baker also won two Grammy Awards in recognition of her efforts for that album. In 1987, Baker won the Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for ‘Rapture’ and the Best Rhythm & Blues Song for the song ‘Sweet Love’. In 1988, she won the Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance by a Duo, Group, Choir or Chorus for the song ‘Ain’t No Need to Worry’. That following year, Baker won the Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female and the Best Rhythm & Blues Song for the song ‘Giving You The Best That I Got’. In 1991, she won the Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for ‘Compositions’. In 1996, she won the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for the song ‘I Apologize’.
Anita Baker 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. Anita had a strong foundation within herself, influenced by her childhood life and the idea that she was told early on that she did not have “star potential.” She not only has taken her craft seriously to become a great musician, but a performer as well. She has taken a lot of her influences from her own two idols, Mahalia jackson and Sarah Vaughan, to obtain the ability to synthesize all genre’s of music into her own style. Anita Baker has made a lasting impact on music that will continue to live on.
“Anita Baker.” In Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. New York: Schirmer, 2001. Biography in Context (accessed March 6, 2018). http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.auctr.edu:2051/apps/doc/K2420000710/BIC1?u=auctr_woodruff&xid=77ae0fa5.
“Anita Baker.” In Notable Black American Women. Gale, 1996. Biography in Context (accessed March 6, 2018). http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.auctr.edu:2051/apps/doc/K1623000508/BIC1?u=auctr_woodruff&xid=60dc4
Holden, Stephen. “THE POP LIFE; ANITA BAKER AND HER MUSICAL ROOTS.” New York Times, Sep 03, 1986, Late Edition (East Coast). https://login.ezproxy.auctr.edu:2050/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.auctr.edu:2050/docview/426275421?accountid=8422.
Jones,James T.,,IV. “Baker Takes to Jazz;She Turns a New Leaf of Composure.” USA TODAY (Pre-1997 Fulltext), Jul 05, 1990. https://login.ezproxy.auctr.edu:2050/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.auctr.edu:2050/docview/306330836?accountid=8422.
NORMENT, LYNN. “ANITA BAKER.” Ebony 42, no. 2 (December 1986): 52. MAS Ultra – School Edition, EBSCOhost(accessed March 6, 2018).
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