Songwriter/producer Kashif, who was most celebrated for his work with Whitney Houston, passed away in his home on Sunday (September 25), with his death a result of undetermined causes. The decorated musician was 59.
Kashif, who was born Michael Jones, worked with a handful of musicians throughout his lengthy career and first got his start playing in 1970s disco/funk band B.T. Express, holding down the keys and vocals at only 15 years old.
In addition to working behind the scenes with artists, Kashif was a solo musician in his own right, charting eight Top 20 R&B singles after first breaking out as a singer on the scene in 1983.
The musician helped Evelyn “Champagne” King get her first No. 1 single in 1981 with “I’m In Love” and then went on to help her single “Betcha She Don’t Love You” peak at the No. 2 slot. Kashif also was behind Howard Johnson’s biggest R&B hit, with the track “So Fine” peaking at No. 6.
Fast-forward a couple years later and Kashif found himself working with none other than the likes of Whitney Houston, working on her 1985 hit “You Give Good Love,” which helped put the legendary singer on the map forever.
On top of helping to score hit classics with a plethora of artists, Khasif also penned a book, Everything You’d Better Know About the Record Industry, and established the foster care organization Team ICare, inspired by his own upbringing in foster care.
Prior to his death, the educator and musician was in the middle of filming and producing a 10-part documentary, The History of R&B Music and Its Influence on World Culture.
Kashif’s important cultural contributions to R&B and the music industry will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family during this time.
(Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)