President George W. Bush had a lot of screw-ups during his eight-year term, but he did do a couple things right. One of them was proclaiming June as Black Music Month on May 31, 2002. June is here,* and to celebrate Black Music Month, I'll be featuring one of my favorite artists each day, sharing my ﬁrst or most personal memory of them, and explain what their accomplishments are and why I felt they should make the Black Music Month Top 30 list. There will be some oldies, some newbies and some artists you may not know of yet.
Black Music Month Heat Factor "Why's this artist hot?": From 1986-1990, Anita Baker had songs on the Billboard 200 Albums of the Year charts. In 1986 and 1989, she made the Billboard Hot 100 Songs. With eight Grammys, I can't say Anita Baker is underrated, but she surely isn't seen as much as I'd like her to. BiIIboard.com says she listened to Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Vlﬁlson and Ella Fitzgerald growing up so that explains her sensual jazz sound mixed with R&B. As an accidental jazz fan, I can't recall a time I ever passed up listening to an Anita Baker song if I was ﬂipping through the radio stations. Even her sad songs like "I Apologize" were so beautiful that even if l wanted to be in an upbeat mood, I couldn't pass up listening to her voice. And who wouldn't want to hear her crooning about "Sweet Love"?
First Memory, Most Personal Memory of the Artist: I'm always comfortable with whatever age I am, and I barely ever think "I wish I was a kid again" or ''I wish I was older." But something about Anita Baker's music makes me want to sit in my old bedroom with my pink carpet and Barbie Doll mansion and just chill out. I've always thought she had a beautiful voice. When I was a kid. I worked from time to time at D'PUC Credit Union, the managers would have V103 (VWAZ) playing. That radio station was never shy about playing an Anita Baker song. and since I already enjoyed oldies R&B, I would listen. I like more male R&B singers than female R&B singers, but Anita Baker was one of those singers who warmed my heart. Her voice is soothing in an "Everything is going to be all right" kind of way. Even now when I hear her music, it makes me remember my pre-teenage days at D'PUC and hanging around my childhood home with my parents while they played "quiet storm" music.
Accomplishments from the Artist: The people at Arista record label clearly needed their ears cleaned when Anita Baker ﬁrst came along because they didn't care for her voice and dropped her from the label, according to Billboard.com. Two albums later with a new contract from Elektra, Anita Baker was a Grammy-winning artist of her 1986 album "Rapture" due to two singles, "Sweet Love" and "Caught Up in the Rapture." She also won a Grammy for "Ain't Got No Need to Worry.“ and "Giving You the Best That I Got“ won her two more Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal and Best R&B Song. Her chart-topping singles included "Giving You the Best That I Got" (22 weeks), "You're My Everything" (20 weeks), "Caught Up in the Rapture" (18 weeks), "Just Because" (16 weeks), "Talk to Me" (13 weeks), "I Apologize" (12 weeks) and "SouI Inspiration" (7 weeks).
Anita Baker won eight Grammys.
Arista dropped Anita Baker from its record label because they didn't like her voice.
"My Everything," released in 2003, was her first album in 10 years.
* This entry was originally published on Associated Content in June of 2010. It has been republished with permission from Shamontiel. To find out who the other 29 artists were who were selected in 2010, visit this Pinterest board.
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