This week on My Classic Soul Podcast, SoulMusic.com founder David Nathan and A&R man Darone Bowers talk about all things Anita Baker, from her beginnings with Chapter 8 to her landmark classic album Rapture.
ON BAKER'S MUSICAL BEGINNINGS:
BOWERS: "So Rapture. Yes. Release date was March 20th, 1986. And that was kind of a drop dead date. But what was so crazy about. That date, that album, that time, and the least single was "Sweet Love." People kind of knew about Anita Baker, but the bomb of that album where it just set off and it was just so internationally accepted."
"She won her first Grammy from that album. And it was something that people just fell in love with as if she was always there, but she was kind of always there."
ON HOW THEY DISCOVERED BAKER:
BOWERS: "And just a little bit before we get there, I want to talk about the first time that a lot of people fell in love with that voice, and it was kind of what my generation calling underground, but it was kind of an underground R&B hit called, "I Just Want To Be Your Girl" from a group she was in called Chapter 8."
NATHAN: "I heard it on the radio. I lived in New York at the time, so I'm pretty much sure I heard it on WBLS, which is going to Maine, where you're one of the main R&B/Urban - we called it back then, it was just a radio station that I'd listen to. I don't recall doing any kind of an interview or anything around Chapter 8."
"What I remember about the song, this is probably gonna make you laugh, I remember the end of the song, because you could hear Anita really kind of hit that note at the end of the song, and I do remember that because I was like, 'Ooh, whoa.'"
ON NATHAN'S FIRST INTERVIEW WITH THE SONGSTRESS:
NATHAN: "And at one point. I remember I was on my way to do an interview with her and I called and said, 'Oh, I'm running late. I'm just waiting for the bus cause I didn't drive in LA.'"
"And she said, 'Which number?' And I can't remember the, I wanna say the number of 212, there you go. Okay. Right back to me, she said, 'The 212.' I said, 'Yeah.' She said, 'I used to take the 212.' I said, 'When did you take the 212?' She said, 'I used to take it when I was recording The Songstress I was out here in LA,' because she didn't live here at the time."
"She was still living in Detroit and she came out to do that album. And if you know much about Anita's history and you know what she's talked about in interviews, she had to really be persuaded to come out and do that because she had been, you know, with Chapter 8 and working with the same company with Beverly Glen."
"I often wonder if in retrospect, the passengers on the 212 had known who she was on the bus, who she would pick up. You know what I mean? I unfortunately, again, didn't see her perform in person around the time of The Songstress, but I do remember that it hit a kind of something that wasn't in the marketplace already. Do you know what I mean? There was nothing, there wasn't anybody to say, 'Oh, she sounds like she's out. This is in the tradition of, or this is like so-and-so.' And I think that uniqueness is really what contributed to the success afterwards with Rapture."
Listen to the full podcast here.