While sometimes overlooked in retrospectives of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Karyn White was one of that era's biggest R&B singers - even though she only recorded three albums - working with that period's biggest name producers and delivering some of its most memorable R&B songs.
White was born in Los Angeles, the youngest of five children and a singer in her church choir. In her early 20s she became a sought after backing singer, making her major label debut working on Jeff Lorber's single "Facts of Love." She was signed by Warner Bros. Records and worked with top hitmakers Babyface and L.A. Reid on her self-titled debut. It shot to the top of the charts fueled by four hit singles, "The Way You Love Me", "Secret Rendezvous," the duet "Love Saw It" and what became her signature song, "Superwoman."
For her next album, Ritual of Love, she teamed with the other major hitmaking team of the era, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who helped her score again with "Romantic" and "The Way I Feel About You." She and Lewis ultimately married. Her third and final album, 1994's Make Him Do Right brought the hit "Can I Stay With You." Around that time she and Lewis had a daughter, Ashley, and White backed out of the music business to raise her family. She and Lewis divorced and she married guitarist Bobby G.
Over the next several years, White became an interior designer and also worked in real estate, becoming the frequent subject of "whatever happened to..." articles.
With daughter Ashley attending college, White began focusing on her music again in 2011. She began working with Club Nouveau leader Jay King on her first album in more than a decade and a half. The first single, "Sista Sista," hit radio in December, 2011, and the full album is slated for a 2012 release. She approached the new project aggressively: "I don't want to do it like I've done it before—I want it to be new, I want to push the envelope on all of the new social media, internet and website platforms, I want to be the edge not on it........I want to be a difference maker."
By Chris Rizik