I haven’t done one of these in a while. So, let me inject some classic R&B into your morning with Detroit’s own Anita Baker and a classic single from her very first album.
Anita Baker was one of the most successful R&B singers of the late ‘80s and early to mid-’90s. Of course, she didn’t start that big though. Born in Toledo, Ohio but raised in Detroit, Anita got her start early on by singing in nightclubs as a teen. That’s how she ultimately got her big break, working with David Washington’s group, Chapter 8.
Baker’s debut album The Songstress was released in 1983. This album was interesting in that it was financed by noted drug kingpin Rick “Freeway” Ross. He put the money up for the album when the label’s founder ran out of funds. While it wasn’t a commercial success, it didn’t do terribly, either. Of the album’s eight tracks, three charted: “Angel” (one of her signature ballads now), “No More Tears” and “You’re The Best Thing Yet”. My personal favorite though is “Will You Be Mine”.
This song is just dripping with classic Detroit soul/funk, from the intro to Baker’s smooth and unique vocals. Honestly, it should have charted with the other three songs. But doesn’t ti seem the gems on albums are always the ones that don’t get much attention? Baker would go on to record seven more albums, do countless tours (she came out of retirement to do a brief Las Vegas residency), and win eight Grammys. That’s more than Madonna!