Anita Baker working on new album, plans to give ‘Body and Soul’ at New Orleans jazz festBy AP
Friday, April 23, 2010
Anita Baker headlines New Orleans jazz festival
CHICAGO — When Anita Baker leaves the stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this weekend, she doesn’t plan on taking anything with her.
Baker has headlined in the Crescent City before, but five years after Hurricane Katrina, she says “I think that we’re more adamant about just leaving my whole body there. And just giving everything that I have. Because we want them to be entertained.”
The 52-year-old singer with the husky, red velvet vocals has won eight Grammy Awards for hits including “Giving You the Best That I Got,” ”Rapture” and “I Apologize.”
She’ll step away from a music studio in Nashville where she’s working on a new album, just in time for Sunday’s show. It will be an opportunity “to play, talk and holler and scream and dance,” she says.
Performing before live audiences is Baker’s thing. She and her crew have been playing a roster of summer dates every year since 2004.
“That’s the main reason I haven’t done a record,” says Baker. “The VP of A&R, Eli Wolf (of Blue Note Records), pulled me off the road — came to Radio City (Music Hall) Valentine’s Day weekend.”
Now that she’s back in the studio — more than 25 years since her debut album was released — Baker says, “Oh my goodness. I’m just having a good time.”
But she’s nervous, too.
“It’s always scary. But it’s scary for different reasons. For example in ‘05, it was scary because I hadn’t done it in 10 years. Now it’s scary because my fans have proven to me that we’re family and I don’t want to let them down.”
Among her fans is “Queen of Hip-hop Soul,” Mary J. Blige, who has asked Baker to join her on a jazz album.
“Mary and I — I have a song, and we’ve talked about it,” says Baker. “I have a retro piece that we’re cutting today that I’m going to send to her.”
Baker says she looks forward to the collaboration.
“These young ladies have just really empowered me for the 21st century. I mean, Miss Beyonce doing ‘Sweet Love’ on her live video — I mean that just touches me. And just the support that these ladies give me is amazing. They just give me an energy that I didn’t know I would have right now.”
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