26 January 1958, Toledo, Ohio, USA. The granddaughter of a minister, Baker had a religious upbringing that included church music and gospel singing. After vocal duties with local bands she joined the semi-professional Chapter 8 in 1979 and was the vocalist on their minor US chart hit, I Just Wanna Be Your Girl, the following year. Several years later she left the band and was working in an office when she persuaded the Beverly Glenn label to record and release her debut album in 1983. The Songstress brought her to wider notice and after disagreements with Beverly Glenn she chose to sign with Elektra Records. Her second album was partly funded by Baker herself, who also acted as executive producer, with former Chapter 8 colleague Michael Powell assisting with writing and production. Rapture, a wonderfully mature and emotional album, saw Baker hailed as a female Luther Vandross and she began to win R&B awards with Sweet Love,...
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