Jazz Gallery
Soul / Gospel & World gallery
Essential Listening
Gig Guide / News
Opinion / Music Talk
The Hi Fi Experience
Related services
Related Sites & Info
Staff Profiles
Guest Feedback
Contact M V Studio
Back to Home Page




Anita Baker
Anita Baker Anita Baker

Anita Baker
@ Pigeon Island, St. Lucia Jazz Festival
11 May 2008

Click an image to enlarge.


Anita Baker was born in Toledo, Ohio, U.S.A, 26 January 1958. At the age of 12, she began singing in the gospel choir at her grandfathers Baptist church.

At age 16, Baker formed the band Humanity with school friends; she would also perform with other local bands at the time. David Washington (bass player from the Detroit based group Chapter 8) approached Baker suggesting that she attend an audition for lead singer of the group. She did attend the audition and subsequently joined the group. Chapter 8 were signed to Ariola Records and released the album “Chapter 8” in 1979, however, Ariola were suffering financial difficulties and were eventually bought by Arista Records. Arista did not renew the contract with Chapter 8 stating that ‘Anita Baker could not sing’.

Baker had to pay the bills. She worked as a cook and waited tables in a bar before landing a job as the receptionist in a law firm. In 1982, Otis Smith (the man behind Chapter 8’s contract with Ariola) formed the Beverly Glen label. It would take a few telephone calls from Smith offering the right figure to persuade Baker to leave the relative security of full time ‘normal’ employment and sign to his label.

In 1983, Baker’s debut “Songstress” was released. Though this jazz / soul gem was not a major commercial success at the time, “Songstress” was well received by soul / jazz aficionados and was given ‘rare groove’ status. “Songstress” would be re-packaged and re-released many years later on the Elektra label.

In 1986, Baker signed to Elektra Records. Here she would request production assistance from old chum Chapter 8 band member Michael J Powell. The result of this collaboration would be the US platinum selling, double Grammy award winning album “Rapture”. In 1987, Baker and Powell produced her successful follow up “Givin you the best that I got”.

Her third Elektra album, “Compositions” was released in 1990. Powell again produced this album, but this time Baker would become more involved in both the production and song writing process, writing 7 of the 9 tracks. “Compositions” was certified Platinum selling status and received a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B vocal performance in1991.

At this point in her career, Baker decided to divert her energy towards her personal life. She suffered two miscarriages in the last few years, so took a well-earned rest from the music business. In January 1993, Baker and Walter Bridgforth Jr. (her husband) were blessed with their first child (Walter Baker Bridgewater). Baker returned to the studio just 5 months after the birth of her son to record her fifth solo album “Rhythm Of Life”. During recording she fell pregnant again; much of the album would be recorded at her home studio.

The eagerly anticipated “Rhythm Of Life was released in September 1994. Baker would produce much of this album but would also invite contributions from other iconic producers such as Arif Mardin, George Duke, Tommy, LiPuma and Barry Eastmond. “Rhythm Of Life” earned Baker a Grammy Award for Best Female vocal performance in 1995 (“I Apologise”).

After “Rhythm Of Life, Baker again decided to concentrate on family life. The loss of her mother in1996 and her father two years later would obviously take their tole. She also had to deal with contractual issues with Elektra Records. She would eventually leave Elektra and sign a deal with Atlantic Records.

Baker began working on her new album in 2000; however, technical issues with recording equipment after recording meant she would have had to start the process from scratch. She ended up filing a suit in the US District Court in Detroit against Zomba Recording Corp who allegedly supplied her with faulty recording equipment.

In 2004, Baker signed to Blue Note on a two-album release deal. As well as celebrated live performances, Baker would contribute on albums released by jazz giants Dave Koz and Cyrus Chestnut.

Music lovers always want to hear ‘more’, especially from artists who have a proven track record for producing ‘quality real music’. However, such music takes time to create. I guess Mrs Anita Baker Bridgeforth will let us have more when she is ready.

Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio.

Anita Baker

Anita Baker

Anita Baker

Anita Baker

Anita Baker & Angie Stone



Rhythm of Love Rapture Compositions Christmas Fantasy
My Everything Givingyou the best that I got The best of The Songstress


Further Recommended

  Click Angie Stone's image to view her photographs and read her biography...
Click Dionne Warwick's image to view her photographs and read her biography...

Angie Stone @ Pigeon Island  (click to go to her page) Dionne Warwick @ Pigeon Island (click to go to her page)

Go back to the St. Lucia Jazz Festival 2008 home page.

Go back to the soul gallery.

[ Top ]