Anita Baker is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, but had just one number-one album in the U.S. On Christmas Eve 1988, her third album, Giving You the Best That I Got, hit the top spot of Billboard's album chart, where it remained for four weeks. The title song and "Just Because" also were number-one hits and the album earned three Grammy Awards.
Baker was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1958, but grew up in Detroit, where she was raised by a foster family. Her first performances were delivered before her church's congregation at age 12. As a teenager she and her high school friends also formed a group.
She began singing professionally in 1975 as a member of the group Chapter 8, which released an album in 1979. When the group's label, Ariolda, was bought by Arista and their contract wasn't renewed, Baker went to work as a secretary at a local law firm.
Baker released her debut solo album, The Songstress, in 1983, through Beverly Glen Records. A few years later, she signed with Elektra, and her first album for the label sold more than six million records worldwide and earned her two Grammy Awards and over the years she has won a total of eight of the prestigious awards for her work in the '80s and '90s.
Baker received her 16th Grammy nomination in 2013 for the song "Lately."
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(Photo: Jan Persson/Redferns)