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Interview:
Anita Baker Enjoying "Crazy Good" Times
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Anita Baker says things are “crazy good” in her world these days.

The Grosse Pointe Shores-based jazz and R&B singer, an eight-time Grammy Award winner, is enjoying a summer run that includes headlining spots on major festivals — including he July 4th holiday weekend Essence Music Festival alongside Beyoncé, Lionel Richie and Frankie Beverly & Maze, and the Macy’s Music Festival with John Legend in Cincinnati.

“We’re back to playing stadiums,” Baker, 51, notes. “We’re still doing what we’ve always done, but we’re headlining major events with very young contemporaries — and we haven’t had to change anything we do in order to do that, which is amazing!

“It helps me to validate myself, that there’s a place for live music and for great musicians, and also there’s a place where contemporary music and what we do can not only coexist but thrive side by side. It says that the audience is as varied as the musical landscape, which is always good for everybody.”

Baker, whose last studio album, “My Everything,” came out in 2004 (with a holiday set, “Christmas Fantasy,” following in 2005), is ready to put some new product of her own on that landscape, too. There may be a live album and/or DVD, primarily from concerts taped over Valentine’s Day weekend last February at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, but also including footage shot last year at the DTE Energy Music Theatre. But another studio album is also a possibility, according to Baker.

“I have a couple of songs that I had in mind for a couple of artists that I think I’m going to use for myself,” she reports, saying that the new music is “not a departure. It will be an Anita Baker record, but it will have a lot of surprising elements in it,” including an adaptation of Curtis Mayfield’s “Give Me Your Love (Love Song)” from the “Superfly” film soundtrack. “We’ll take a lot of our contemporaries and bring them into my project where they may fit.”

But, she adds, we shouldn’t necessarily hold our breaths waiting for what’s next.

“The record company (Blue Note) wants next spring, and I would love for that to happen,” Baker says. “That would be lovely, but we all are mindful of the fact that we want it to be right. So when they say spring, they really are planning for the fall. It’s like ... I’m a mom. If we want to be at brunch at 1, I have to tell my kids 12 o’clock — you know what I mean?”



Anita Baker performs at 8 p.m. Friday (July 31st) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75. Tickets are $39.50 and $59.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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