Soul veteran Anita Baker is making a return to the music world, following a 10-year absence.

The GRAMMY-winning SWEET LOVE singer has signed a deal with BLUE NOTE RECORDS to produce at least two albums and expects to release her first project before the end of the year (04).

Baker stepped away from the music industry after the 1994 release of her album RHYTHM OF LOVE because she had two young sons to take care of, a mother suffering from Alzheimer's disease and a father dying of bone cancer.

Following their deaths - Baker's father died in 1998 and her mother passed away in 2000 - she felt ready to pursue her career again.

She says of her mother, "She took care of me, she didn't hand me off to someone else. I'm really happy in retrospect that I did it that way, because she breathed her last in my arms."

Now that her mother has passed, Baker has decided to chase her career goals with full force - even though she had to do a little research on the current music market first.

She says, "For the past five years I had been channel surfing and all you see is MTV and kids. The demographics became very, very young. I figured I was relic and my time has passed."

But now she's encouraged by the response she's had from fans at recent shows, adding, "I didn't know that anybody would give a hoot. I'm pleasantly surprised."

05/03/2004 02:09