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LegenDARy Artists: Anita Baker







By @TrueGodImmortal

Now, admittedly, the end of DAR R&B week, wasn't as concise as it could have been, but we've all been dealing with some personal things, though we still have managed to give you the great content you love us for. Now, as we kick off DAR Classic Soul Week, we looked at some of the best singers of the 80s. Absent from that list was Anita Baker. Why? Because she deserves her own article and post. So, here we are. The beautiful Anita Baker, a product of the midwest, born in Ohio, but raised in Detroit, got her start in the late 70s with a group called Chapter 8. Anita had been singing in Detroit Nightclubs once she turned 16, and was given the opportunity to be the lead vocalist for the band, which resulted in the band touring for some years. Eventually they would be offered a record deal and release their self titled album, which spawned the small hit "Ready For Your Love". Soon after, the group was dropped from their label and Anita returned back home to be a waitress and a receptionist.




A few years later, Anita would get a call from a former executive at the label (Ariola) Chapter 8 was signed to and get an offer to sign with his new start up label, Beverly Glen Records. Her first solo album, titled "The Songstress" would be released in 1983, and while it didn't become a true smash hit album, it produced some chart topping hits from her such as "Angel", "No More Tears", and "You're The Best Thing Yet". The album would be reissued via Elektra Records in 1991 once she was already signed and successful with them. Anita went through label issues with Beverly Glen, which led to her singing with Elektra and she won a court case against Beverly Glen after not being able to get paid properly for her royalties. Once signed with Elektra, she was giving creative control over her music and allowed to write her own material. This would prove to be the big changing point in her career.




In 1986, Anita released her second album "Rapture", and while the initial first single "Watch Your Step" didn't catch on, it was the amazing "Sweet Love" that truly changed the tide for the album and her career. The album started off slow in sales, but picked up off the strength of "Sweet Love". The song would become a top 10 hit, as well as win her a Grammy award. The follow up single "Caught Up In The Rapture" is my favorite Anita Baker song and was another hit, reaching the top 10 on the Billboard R&B charts. Anita would see two more singles "Same Ole Love" and "No One In The World" hit the Billboard R&B top 10, pushing the album to sales of 8 million copies worldwide, with 5 million coming domestically. Anita would win a Grammy for this album, in the female R&B vocal performance category. Riding this wave of success, Anita was now a true star and went to work on her third album. Her third album would prove to her biggest out the gate, though "Rapture" still remains her highest selling to this day worldwide.



Her third album "Giving You The Best That I Got" would debut at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 and hold that position for nearly a month, becoming her first album to reach no. 1 on both the pop and R&B charts. The title track would prove to be one of her biggest hits, reaching the top 5 on all stations and easily skyrocketing to no. 1 on the R&B charts. The follow up single "Just Because" would be a top 20 crossover hit and also take the no. 1 spot on the R&B charts, pushing the third album from Anita to triple platinum sales. The total album of sales to this day stands about 3.9 million in the US, making it her second biggest album domestically, while "Rapture" had a bigger impact worldwide. The album would win three Grammy awards, and rack up a few Soul Train music awards, adding to her award collection yet again. With those two albums, Anita carved a legacy for herself and with that, she set out to work on her fourth album.




Her fourth album "Compositions", released in 1990, would not see the massive success of her previous two, though it landed on the top 5 of the Billboard 200 and became certified platinum. The album spawned two top 10 R&B hits in "Talk To Me" and "Fairy Tales",  and while it didn't achieve the multi platinum success of her first two, she did manage to win a Grammy for best female R&B vocal performance. Anita was winning at every turn. Top 10 hits, platinum albums, Grammys, the list goes on. She could do no wrong. After four albums, platinum plaques, Grammys and such, Anita decided to take a mini break from recording and releasing albums. She would be gone 4 years, before coming back strong with her fifth album in 1994.




Her fifth album "Rhythm of Love" would spawn the huge hits "Body and Soul" and "I Apologize", landing the album at no. 2 on the Billboard charts and giving her yet another no. 1 R&B album. The album would reach double platinum and garner Anita yet another Grammy, this time for "I Apologize". She received four Grammy nominations for this album, which would be her last one on Elektra. Dissatisfied with the promotion and the label in general, Anita would be transferred over to another label within the Warner Music Group, Atlantic Records. However, after the success of this fifth album, Anita took a long hiatus away from the music business and spent time as a mother raising her two sons. The hiatus would prove to be 10 years long, and Anita decided that she wanted to sign with Blue Note Records for her return.



Her sixth album, "My Everything" would go on to be successful, hitting the top 5 of the Billboard 200, and eventually going gold, which for the climate and a comeback album 10 years later, was amazing. Anita still had the voice, still had the music and on her comeback album, everything just flowed as if she never left. Unfortunately, this would be the final album from Anita, aside from a Christmas album released the following year in 2005. There have been rumors for years now that Anita was preparing yet another comeback album, but it has yet to materialize. Will she return? Is there a market for her comeback? Only time will tell, but regardless, she is a true legend and one of best R&B and soul females to grace us. That is undeniable.

-True

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