Anita was born January 26, 1958 in Toledo, Ohio and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She began singing in the church choir when she was 12 and at 16 sang in a local group along with high school friends. In 1975 she successfully auditioned for the group Chapter 8, having been approached by bass player, David Washington, and spent the next few years playing in and around Detroit. She eventually signed with Ariola, releasing an album in 1979. However, when Ariola was bought out by Arista, the group's contract was not renewed.
Anita returned to Detroit and worked with a law firm as a receptionist. In 1981, Otis Smith, who was the man behind Chapter 8's contract, formed his own label, Beverly Glenn.
He contacted her in 1982 and offered her a deal which at first she refused, but when Smith increased the amount of his original offer, and the contract was approved legally, she accepted, releasing the album "Songstress" in 1983.
In 1986 she signed with Elektra, and at the same time was an executive producer on "Rapture", her debut album for the label, which sold over 6 million records worldwide. She won two Grammy awards: Best R&B Female Performance for the album "Rapture" and Best R&B Song for "Sweet Love".
In 1987, Anita began work on her follow-up album "Giving you the best that I got" in between a busy performance schedule. This album was also awarded three Grammies: one in1989 for Best R&B Female Performance, one in 1990 for Best R&B Song ("Giving You The Best That I Got") and one for Best R&B Song ("Just Because").
She took a more involved role in the song-writing for her third album, Compositions, also moving towards experimenting with jazz. The album contained 7 self-penned songs, which won her a seventh Grammy award for Best R&B Female Performance.
On Christmas Eve 1988, she married Walter Bridgforth, Jr, whom she had met two years earlier in Detroit and in January 1993, she gave birth to a son, Walter Baker Bridgforth. Five months later Anita started working on her next project, "Rhythm of Love" and produced most of the album, which was mainly recorded in her home due to another pregnancy, she wrote five out of the 12 songs. In September 1994 (after the birth of her second son, Edward Carlton Bridgforth earlier that year) the album was released and attracted an eighth Grammy for Best R&B Song ("I Apologize") in 1995.
Sadly, her parents died within the space of two years; her mother in 1996 and her father 2 years later, and during this time, attempted to record and release a new CD. Unfortunately, the tracks recorded for the new CD were damaged in the recording process and could not be salvaged. Anita sued and won the case against Elektra.She later signed with Atlantic Records.
During her career, she has appeared with other artistes such as The Winans, Howard Hewitt, and James Ingram, and since December 2002 has been touring on a limited basis.
Two years later, in March 2004, Blue Note Records announced that they had signed Baker to an exclusive recording contract that would result in at least two albums. Bruce Lundvall, president and CEO of EMI Jazz & Classics, signed her after she approached him to record for Blue Note. At the same time Rhino Records released “A Night of Rapture”: Live, a compilation that contained nine live tracks and three multimedia videos recorded in the late 1980s.
In September 2004, a decade after her last studio album, Baker released a new album, entitled ‘My Everything.’ Co-produced by Barry J. Eastmond and Baker herself, she wrote or co-wrote nine of this album's ten tracks, including a duet with Babyface, "Like You Used to Do".
Though she had been out of the limelight for some considerable time, the album was a success and debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The album was certified gold by the RIAA, denoting sales in excess of 500,000 units in the U.S.
In October 2005, Baker released her first Christmas album, “Christmas Fantasy”. Again produced by Baker and Eastmond, the album mixed traditional Christmas carols ("God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen"), standards ("I'll Be Home for Christmas"), re-imagined classics ("Frosty's Rag"), Broadway show tunes ("My Favorite Things"), and three new songs by Baker and Eastmond ("Moonlight Sleighride", "Family of Man", and "Christmas Fantasy"). She received a Grammy Award nomination in 2007 for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for the song "Christmas Time Is Here".
Selected awards and accolades
1987 Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
“Rapture” Won Best Rhythm & Blues Song
"Sweet Love" Won 1988 Best Soul Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group, Choir or Chorus
"Ain't No Need to Worry" (with the Winans) Won 1989 Record of the Year Best R&B Vocal Performance
Female "Giving You the Best That I Got" Won Best Rhythm & Blues Song
"Giving You the Best That I Got" Won 1990 Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
“Giving You the Best That I Got” Won 1991 Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
“Compositions” Won Best Album Package
"I Apologize" Won Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals
2007 Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance
1987 Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist
Rapture Won 1990 Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist
Won Favorite Soul/R&B Single "Just Because"
Won 1996 Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist
International Artist of the Year Canadian Smooth Jazz Award Won in1994
Hollywood Walk of Fame Star at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.