Anita Baker was born on today, on January 26, 1958. She is a multiple Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter that is part of the original and unforgettable “soul” era of R&B music. Her debut album was in 1983 with the hit album “The Songstress.” although the music that put her on the map came several years after.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Baker spent most of her life in Michigan being raised by her foster parents. Like all great soul singers of the time, she started in church. This got her recognized by Ariola records, and she eventually got her start in music by joining the group Chapter 8. They had a hit song and good chemistry, but the record label went under and Chapter 8 was disbanded. After a tough break on the first go round with this group, she decided to quit singing. However, she was later scouted by a former Ariola executive to join the Beverly Glen Record label and put out her first album as a solo artist.
It wasn’t long after that when Baker began to truly understand how much of a diamond in the rough she was. A peaceful release from her contract with Beverly Glen was negotiated so that Baker could sign with the bigger Elektra Records. This also allowed Baker more creative freedom, and she was even the executive producer for her next album, “Rapture.” Although her first solo album was very good, it was Rapture that was truly Anita Baker. It easily became a multi-platinum album and helped to boost the sales of her third solo album in 1988, “Giving You the Best That I Got.”
Throughout her success, she found time for personal life with marriage, kids, and taking care of her adoptive parents–all without missing a single beat in her career. Her career continued to thrive even when she signed to Blue Note in 2004 and released the stellar “My Everything.” Her total amount of Grammys won by 2013 was a whopping eight, and she continued to be a favorite for anyone that wanted to see a tour.
Anita Baker has survived a lot of changes in the music industry, and has done so while remaining true to her roots. This is a testament to her musical prowess, and to the many fans that understand that good soul can’t be created in a studio. It’s something you have to be born with.