She was gone?!?!

Singer Anita Baker Returns After 10-Year Break
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Timeless hits like “Sweet Love” may have transformed sultry singer Anita Baker into an international star, but after 10 years as a stay-at-home mom, her young sons offer a more humble assessment of her career.
“Their friends at school used to tell them, ‘Your mom’s famous!”‘ Baker told Reuters in an interview. “And they would say, ‘No, she used to sing — (now) she’s retired.”‘
Indeed, it may have seemed like retirement for Baker when she dropped from sight after her 1994 album “Rhythm of Love,” for which she earned her eighth Grammy Award. Baker’s hiatus ends this month with “My Everything” (Blue Note), the 46-year-old vocalist’s first album of new songs in a decade.
Her sons, now aged 11 and 10, were not completely wrong about their mom, who has sold more than 13 million albums.
Once the touring and excitement from “Rhythm of Love” simmered down, she retreated to tend to family matters, namely raising her babies and caring for ailing elders.
“Unfortunately, I buried my parents during that time, and my cousin,” she said. “But, it’s part of living life — the same thing that you have been doing, I have been doing. When the time was right I was able to get up from the grief and the pots and pans in the kitchen, and the extra pounds.”
Some things haven’t changed. Baker still wears her trademark short hairstyle that sets free the warmth of her smile and bobs a little when the animated performer speaks.
Her album features collaborations with producer Barry Eastmond and singer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. She hopes its familiar sound reconnects with the sort of faithful fans who have flocked back in recent years to acts like Steely Dan and Sade when they returned from professional hibernation.
“My Everything” continues the thread Baker established with songs like 1988’s “Giving You The Best That I Got.” Still in stride, she croons lush, lyrical stories of love, life and maturity that simmer with emotion — all delivered in expansive style with her smoky, full-bodied alto voice.
“That I would sound pretty much the same in 2004 as I did in 1995 is because I have creative control. And I always want my product to be what’s in my heart, so I’m writing and in the sessions. It sounds like me because I’m there,” she said.
The album’s 10 songs include the tune “Men in My Life,” an ode to her two sons and husband Walter Bridgeforth, whom she married in 1988.
Two years ago, Baker, who has a reputation as a tenacious businesswoman, was still seeking the right partner to work on her new project. She left Elektra Records after some legal sparring, and another label deal fell through.
She eventually found her way to prestigious jazz imprint Blue Note Records at the urging of industry heavyweight Bruce Lundvall, president and chief executive of EMI Jazz & Classics, the parent of Blue Note.
“I called him,” she said of Lundvall. “I was basically just looking for a home. So I said, ‘Can I just come over there and do a little jazz record?”‘
Blue Note’s artists typically are not household names, but Lundvall has had a knack for finding critical gems in eclectic jazz vocalists including Cassandra Wilson, Diane Reeves and Rachelle Ferrelle.
She invited Lundvall to attend a sold-out performance in New York in 2002. Afterwards, he told Baker, “Your audience is still here — and Blue Note wants to be here, so let’s get it done,” she recalled.
What began as a humble urge to satisfy her jazz yearnings turned out to be a savvy move by Baker, as Blue Note’s cache soared thanks to the blockbuster success of singer Norah Jones. With a debut album that sold 6 million copies, Jones’ broad, genre-crossing ascent mirrored that of Baker 15 years earlier.
Still, with “My Everything” due in stores on Tuesday, Baker remains semi-retired. Although the lead single, “You’re My Everything,” is already topping the charts, Baker does not plan to fully promote her album with U.S. concert dates until mid-2005, perhaps coinciding with the start of the summer season.
“Back in the day, the music industry was my God,” she said. “But I have got kids, and I can’t do a tour unless they are out of school.”