Kashif, born Michael Jones, was found unresponsive by a neighbor on Monday (Sept. 26), but the Los Angeles County Coroners’s office believed the singer-songwriter passed away on Sunday.
Kashif was an important staple in R&B, notably for his innovative use of synthesizers. The Harlem native began his career at age 15 as a keyboard player and vocalist in the funk band B. T. Express. He went on to work with acts like Evelyn “Champagne” King (“Shame,” “Love Come Down”) and Howard Johnson (“So Fine.”) His signature use of synthesizers paired with lyrics of love and devotion helped defined urban sounds following the exit of disco music. Kashif pursued a solo career in the early 80’s and earned Grammy nominations for his second album, Send Me Your Love. The singer is also credited with launching the career of jazz legend, Kenny G.
Many remember Kashif for his single, “Love Changes” with Meli’sa Morgan and penning “You Give Good Love” for a young Whitney Houston. In between albums, he also worked with Jermaine Jackson, The Stylistics, Melba Moore, George Benson, Stacy Lattisaw and Dionne Warwick.
Members of the music world, including Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, paid tribute to Kashif on Twitter.