In Memoriam: Lari White (1965-2018)

Lari White, the wonderful singer-songwriter who had hits in the nineties with “That’s My Baby,” “Now I Know,” and “That’s How You Know (When You’re in Love),” and then went on to produce hit albums by Toby Keith and Billy Dean, has died at age 52.

WSMV Nashville reports:

Country music performer Lari White died on Tuesday morning after a battle with cancer, according to her mother’s post on her CaringBridge site. She was 52.

Yvonne White said Lari White died at 4:44 a.m. with her husband Chuck Cannon and their three children at her side.

Lari White won one of Music Row’s most diversified stars. She was diagnosed with advanced peritoneal cancer in September.

Last Friday, Lari White’s mom posted on the CaringBridge site that her daughter was moved into hospice care.

“She has been fighting the most valiant battle anyone could possibly imagine, staying strong and loving, courageous and determined … always thanking of others, especially Chuck and her beautiful children,” Yvonne White posted on Friday. “She wanted to be at home; be with them, love on them as long as possible, and have their loving care.”

Lari White made her first national appearance in 1988 on the talent show You Can Be a Star on The Nashville Network. She won first prize, which included a recording contract with Capitol Records.

She was a trailblazer in so many entertainment areas. She was the first female record producer for a male superstar Toby Keith, which was also a Platinum-selling album.

In 2000, she appeared in the Tom Hanks movie Castaway at the beginning and end of the movie.

She won three Grammy Awards for her music in the Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album category. She won in 1996 for Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel, 1998 for Amazing Grace 2: A Country Salute to Gospel and in 1999 for The Apostle Soundtrack.

I know that I should be writing something eulogizing and articulate here, but all I can say is that news makes me feel overwhelmingly sad. Lari White was such a vibrant talent, and I always felt that she didn’t get the opportunities that she deserved to be heard as an artist. But I had so much respect for how she persevered, and reinvented herself as a producer and an independent artist.

Here are some of her best moments:

8 Comments

  1. This news is so terribly sad. I have always loved “Helping me get over you”. She had a lovely voice. May she rest in peace. :(

  2. I just now saw this, and I’m very saddened. :( No way should she be gone this soon. Like Leeann, I’m also very fond of her Wishes album. I’ve always loved “Now I Know” and “That’s How You Know (When You’re In Love),” especially. “Stepping Stone” from 1998 also brings back great memories from the summer of that year for me. Lari was one of the more underrated artists from the 90’s, imo. She had such a great voice and her albums were pretty solid. She’ll certainly be missed. :(

  3. The losses we’ve seen in the music world these last several years have been incredibly catastrophic, but Lari’s passing seems particularly shocking because of the rareness of what she was diagnosed with and her being only 52. She certainly was a great force for women in country music, most especially during their big Golden Age in the 1990s.

  4. Aw! :( RIP Lari…

    I liked some of her early singles, and still have a couple of her albums on cassette. Love her recording of Cole Porter’s “Don’t Fence Me In” (both the harmonious album intro with Shelby Lynne and Trisha Yearwood, and the full-length rock ‘n’ roll “reprise”):

  5. Very sad. Great voice. Saw her about five times at the Bluebird. She used to host benefit shows there for the Nashville YMCA youth development programs.

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