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Anita Kerr

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Anita Kerr was born in Memphis, Tennessee. When Anita Kerr was 4 years old, she started taking piano lessons. In the 4th grade, Anita Kerr started playing organ in church for mass. When Anita Kerr was 15 years old, she took a radio staff musician job. She also worked with various orchestras in Memphis where she brought her own arrangements for the orchestra to play. Anita Kerr moved to Nashville in 1948 where she formed a 5-voice vocal harmony group for the fun of singing and hearing her own arrangements performed. The program director at WSM heard about Anita Kerr’s group and hired Anita Kerr to lead and arrange for an 8-voice choir.

Anita Kerr’s first recording session, during which the producer named her group “The Anita Kerr Singers”, was with Red Foley. Producers started hiring Anita Kerr’s group to back up singers such as Eddy Arnold, Burl Ives, Ernest Tubb, and other country artists. By 1955, The Anita Kerr Singers were recording a national radio program at WSM with Jim Reeves. The Anita Kerr Singers, after winning the talent show in 1956, started performing on the Arthur Godfrey Show in New York. During this time, Anita Kerr and The Anita Kerr Singers sang with top stars such as Brenda Lee, Perry Como, Pat Boone, Rosemary Clooney, Bobby Vinton, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Jim Reeves, Floyd Cramer, and Al Hirt. She also received her first NARAS nomination. In 1964, Anita Kerr opened for Chet Atkins and Jim Reeves on European tour.

In 1965, Anita Kerr moved to Hollywood in Los Angeles, California to do more orchestral writing and other music, where she learned to conduct an orchestra. Over the next two years, Anita Kerr won 3 NARAS Grammy awards for “We Dig Mancini”, “Southland Favorites”, and “A Man and a Woman.

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