Anita Baker

Anita Baker was born in 1958 in Toledo, Ohio. She grew up in Detroit, Michigan where she sang in the choir. At the age of 16, Anita joined a band, Humanity, which included her friends and performed around the city.

Anita got her chance to establish herself in the music industry when David Washington of the band Chapter 8 asked her to audition for the group. In 1975, Anita joined the group and played around Detroit. The group was signed by Ariola and released a self-titled album in 1979. Their two singles, 'Ready for Your Love' and 'I Just Wanna Be Your Girl,' made it onto the R&B charts.

However, after Ariola was purchased by Arista records, Chapter 8's deal was dropped and Anita had to return to Michigan. While in Michigan, Anita had to return to regular life, working as a short order cook and waiting tables at a bar.

That wasn't the last of Anita however, as in 1982 she was given the chance for a solo career. Otis Smith, the person in charge of Chapter 8's contract had started his own label, Beverly Glen, in 1981 and wanted Anita to be on it.

On Beverly Glen, Anita released her debut album, The Songstress, in 1983. The album had a strong single with 'Angel' which reached #5 on the R&B charts. The album's other singles included 'No More Tears,' and 'You're the Best Thing Yet' which reached #49 and #28 on the R&B charts respectively.

Despite the album's reasonable performance, Beverly Glen did not seem to show an interest in putting out another album. As such, Anita left for Elektra Records in 1985 when she was offered a strong contract.

At Elektra, Anita released the album Rapture in 1986. The album was a breakaway success, going 5X platinum over the course of Anita's career. Anita had a lot of creative control on the album, working with Michael J. Powell of Chapter 8, Anita wrote 'Been So Long,' 'Watch Your Step,' and 'Sweet Love.' Its single 'Sweet Love' reached #8 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B charts. Other successful tracks on the album included 'Caught Up In The Rapture,' 'Same Ole Love (365 Days A Year),' and 'No One In the World' which reached #6, 8 and 5 on the R&B charts respectively, and all were in the top 50 of the Hot 100.

1988 saw the release of Anita's third album, Giving You the Best That I Got. The album saw Anita working with Michael Powell again and it did well, going 3x platinum in the United States. Its singles had similar success with the title track reaching #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B charts, and 'Just Because' topping the R&B charts and reaching #14 on the Hot 100. The album's other singles also performed well on the R&B charts with "Lead Me Into Love" reaching #4 on the R&B charts and "Good Love" reaching #10.

In 1990, Anita released the album Compositions. Anita put a lot of effort into the album, writing seven of the tracks and cutting the album live. The album failed to meet the standards of Anita's first two albums, only going platinum, but still was very successful. The album had two top 20 hits on the R&B charts, with 'Talk To Me' reaching #3 and 'Fairy Tales' reaching #8.

Anita took a break after her fourth album and it wasn't until 1994 that she returned with Rhythm of Love. The album was produced predominantly by Anita after she ended her connections with Michael Powell and involved a great deal of writing by her. A big success, the album sold one million copies in its first week alone. It went on to go 2X platinum with the single 'Body & Soul' reaching #4 on the R&B charts and 'I Apologize' reaching #8.

Anita went on a five year hiatus after the release of Rhythm of Love. She had gotten married to Walter Bridgforth Jr. on Christmas Eve 1988 and had two children during 1993-94. In addition, tragedy plagued Anita's life in the mid-90s as first her mother died, and then in 1998 her 'earth father' died (Anita did not know her father so she referred to the man who acted as her father as earth father). In addition, the daughter of her earth father died of a heart attack, causing a great amount of stress in Anita's life.

Finally, in 2004, Anita was able to release an album, after trouble arose between her and various record labels. Teaming up with Blue Note Records, Anita released the album My Everything. The album went gold and was well-received by the critics. Despite the commercial and critical success, the album's singles never made a significant impact on the charts, with 'You're My Everything' reaching #25 on the R&B charts and 'How Does It Feel' reaching #41.