His credits include Whitney Houston’s breakthrough hit ‘You Give Good Love’
Kashif, the innovative songwriter/producer behind hits by Whitney Houston and Evelyn “Champagne” King -- and a popular solo artist in his own right -- has died. The 59-year-old passed away in his Playa del Rey, Calif. home on Sunday (Sept. 25) of undetermined causes.
Joining Chuck D and others on Twitter paying homage to Kashif’s musical legacy, fellow songwriter/producer Jimmy Jam tweeted that "So Fine," a Kashif-written/produced 1982 hit for soul singer Howard Johnson, “blew my mind the 1st time I heard it. I listened to all @Kashifcreative did. VERY influential on me. #RIPKashif #lostanotherone.”
Born Michael Jones in Harlem, New York on Dec. 26, 1956, and raised in the Brooklyn foster care system, Kashif -- whose name means discoverer and inventor -- initially launched his career as a multi-instrumentalist (piano, flute, trumpet, saxophone and tuba). His first professional gig was as the 15-year-old keyboardist/vocalist for the ‘70s disco/funk band B.T. Express. Going out on his own in 1978, Kashif first played keyboards for Stephanie Mills, then segued into studio work for projects by Nona Hendryx, Gloria Gaynor, Tavares and the Four Tops, among others.