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Accomplished Vocalist Leads Off Salute

Anita Jackson

by Randy Pierce

Among the array of eclectic and accomplished performers appearing at the 2023 Midwest Salute to the Arts, being held at Moody Park on Longacre Drive in Fairview Heights later this month, Anita Jackson is returning to the event for the second successive year, sharing her vocal talents on Friday evening, August 25, from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

A 2022 recipient of a St. Louis Arts and Education Council Excellence in Arts Award, Jackson has worked as a background vocalist on the Grammy Award winning 1991 Song of the Year, Bette Midler’s “From A Distance,” Patti Austin’s “I Can Move This Mountain” and Mariah Carey’s “Anytime You Need A Friend” along with serving in a similar role for legendary gospel music artist Shirley Caesar.

Jackson’s impressive resume of supporting vocal work also includes appearing on the 1997 album “Long Time, No See” by Chico DeBarge. She was part of his national tour which featured rhythm and blues artist Joe and recording artist/diva Erykah Badu, widely known for her feminist live rant titled “Tyrone,” who Jackson performed with also.

Other Grammy award performances that included Jackson’s vocals were “Face to Face” by Cissy Houston, released in 1996, which earned the honor for best traditional gospel album that year, then “He Leadeth Me” for which Houston received the same award in the same category in 1997.

A graduate of the American Music and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where she lived for 12 years before returning to St. Louis, Jackson has sung with other gospel stars like Dorothy Norwood, Tramaine Hawkins and the late Albertina Walker along with being a featured vocalist on the live recording for New Hope for World Ministries called “Reach Week in New York City” which was recorded in Harlem in 2014.

In conjunction with New Hope for World Ministries, Jackson was a featured missionary vocalist in such far-reaching locations as Entebbe, Uganda and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A featured player with the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, Jackson has appeared in its productions of “Gospel at Colonus,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Crowns” while also playing lead roles as The Lady in “Blues in the Night” and in “Caroline or Change.”

She has been a featured vocalist, either solo or in a collaborative effort, as part of a great many soul, blues, gospel and rhythm and blues groups throughout the St. Louis area, performing in various clubs, concerts and other venues.

Jackson has been a resident artist with the Kranzberg Arts Foundation of St. Louis since 2018 when she accepted a fellowship in this regard, vocalizing with others in the “Dark Room” series of performances at the Grandel Theatre.

As reflected in her background, Jackson is quick to offer thanks to Jesus Christ and praise to God for the blessings she has received. Admission to Jackson’s upcoming performance at the Midwest Salute to the Arts and for the event itself is free of charge.

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