Lari White, a soulful singer who made her presence known in the Country Music industry as a singer, songwriter – and also as a producer, passed away Tuesday (Jan. 23) after a brief battle with cancer. She was 52 years old.
Born May 13, 1965 in Dunedin, Florida. She began her musical journey performing in her family’s Gospel band, and eventually studied vocals and music engineering at the University of Miami. White first made waves in Music City as a contestant on the Jim Ed Brown-hosted You Can Be A Star talent show on The Nashville Network. She won the competition, gaining a recording contract with Capitol Nashville. She released one single, “Flying Above the Rain,” for the label, but it failed to hit the charts — and she was soon dropped from the roster.
The next disc, 1994’s Wishes, would see her break through on country radio. The set’s first single, “That’s My Baby,” hit No. 10 on Country Songs, with two more singles following it to the top 10 — “That’s How You Know (When You’re In Love),” and “Now I Know.” Wishes would also be certified Gold by the RIAA, for sales of 500,000 copies. She would release one more album for RCA, but sales of her 1996 album Don’t Fence Me In were not as plentiful as Wishes, and she was dropped from the label.
Being released from a recording contract is never an easy thing for an artist, and White losing her deal with RCA was no different. She began to put her feelings on paper, and came up with a song that would lead to her next hit. “At the time, I just felt like it was so much of a stumbling block,” she admitted in 1998 about the inspiration behind her single “Stepping Stone,” which was her first release on Lyric Street Records. The song would return her to the top 20 on the Country Songs chart, eventually peaking at No. 16.