Kashif (musician)

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Kashif in 2011
Michael Jones

(1956-12-26)December 26, 1956[1][2]
Died September 25, 2016(2016-09-25) (aged 59)[1][2]
Resting placeNew York City
Other namesKashif Saleem
ChildrenTanya Jones (daughter)
Musical career
Years active1974–2016

Kashif Saleem (born Michael Jones; December 26, 1956 – September 25, 2016)[1][2] was an American singer, songwriter, and record producer from New York City. As a teenager, Kashif joined the funk group B. T. Express.[3] He studied Islam and changed his name from Michael Jones to Kashif.[4] He later signed with Arista Records enjoying success as a solo artist.[5]

Together with Stevie Wonder, he was considered a pioneer in urban music thanks to his specific synthesizer technology approach and the introduction of MIDI in his production.[5]

Early life[edit]

Kashif was born Michael Jones[6] on December 26, 1956 (Some media outlets list his birth year as 1959),[4][7] in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. His only connection to his birth family is his birth certificate, which indicates that his biological mother was incarcerated when he was four months old. He was immediately put in foster care.[4] He was constantly abused physically and mentally by his foster parents, and at the age of six, he moved into a more stable foster home.[5] His introduction to music came in the form of a $3.00 song flute when he was in elementary school.[3]



In 1974, Kashif was recruited as a keyboard player and vocalist to join the funk band B. T. Express,[5] whose credits included the hits "Express" and "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)", among others. Seeking a more challenging musical assignment in 1978, Kashif exited B. T. Express and landed a job as a keyboardist for R&B musician Stephanie Mills.[5]

1983–1989: Solo career and nominations[edit]

In 1983, Kashif signed with Arista Records as a solo artist. Introduced to Arista by Milton Allen, the artist development director, his self-titled debut album Kashif (1983) spawned the hits "I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On)", "Stone Love", "Help Yourself to My Love", "Say Something Love", and the instrumental track "The Mood".[4] With this release, Kashif was well received as an innovator in music, as R&B artists were only beginning to experiment with synthesizers and other electronic instruments. In 1984, his second album, Send Me Your Love resulted in two Grammy nominations, "Edgartown Groove", featuring Al Jarreau, and the instrumental "Call Me Tonight" along with the hits "Baby Don't Break Your Baby's Heart" and "Are You the Woman".

His other albums include Condition of the Heart (1985), Love Changes (1987) and Kashif (1989). On the Love Changes album, Exposé provided background vocals. 1989's Kashif included the cover of the Four Tops' hit "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)".[5] In 1989, Kashif also had a hit with the song "Personality" which was written by Nick Mundy and Gina "Go Go" Gomez.[8] It made it to no. 6 on the Cashbox Top R&B Singles chart,[8] holding the position for three weeks.[9][10]

Record producer and activist[edit]

1981: "I'm in Love"[edit]

In 1981 Kashif wrote and produced the hit "I'm in Love" for Evelyn "Champagne" King,[5] which was a shift in sound from King's "Shame" to a minimalist becoming Kashif's signature sound. The song revitalized King's career and branded Kashif as one of the most sought-after producers of the day. Over the next ten years, he created hits including "So Fine" for Howard Johnson, "Love Come Down", "Betcha She Don't Love You", and "Back to Love", among many others.[5]


Kashif's Grammy nominations are for the instrumentals "The Mood", "Call Me Tonight", "Edgartown Groove" featuring Al Jarreau.[5]

In 1985, he received another Grammy nomination for another instrumental entitled "The Movie Song". He also wrote and produced "Inside Love" for his musical idol, George Benson. It was during this time that he met and launched the career of then unknown Kenny G with "Hi How Ya Doin" and "Tribeca".[4]

In 1985, Kashif teamed up with then newcomer Whitney Houston. The result was the hit "You Give Good Love". Kashif also produced and was her duet partner on "Thinking About You",[5] a single track from Houston's 17-million selling (30 million until current day) debut album. The album became the bestselling debut album by a female artist. Kashif also produced "Where You Are" on Houston's second project, the result, a 15-million selling (25 million until current day) album entitled Whitney.

In 1987, he produced "Love Changes", a chart topper in which Me'lisa Morgan was his duet partner and that name was taken from his bestselling album, which had the same name. The track also appears on Meli'sa Morgan's album Good Love. Also contained on that album was another duet that yielded yet another international hit, the song "Reservations For Two" with Dionne Warwick. Between 1987 and 1989, Kashif continued to churn out the hits for Jermaine Jackson, The Stylistics, Melba Moore, George Benson, Stacy Lattisaw, and many others.[11]


In 1996, with an invitation from the UCLA Extension program, Kashif created "Contemporary Record Production with Kashif". He also wrote and self-published the book Everything You'd Better Know About the Record Industry[5]

In 2000, Kashif produced the theme song for the Para-Olympics, and wrote and produced "Brooklyn Breezes" for R&B singer Will Downing. He also co-produced along with George Duke the Duke Ellington Tribute CD for the Duke Ellington Foundation.[4] On November 14, 2004, Kashif was inducted into the R&B Hall of Fame as a "Living Legend".[4] That year Janet Jackson's hit "R&B Junkie" used a sample of "I'm in Love" written and produced by Kashif.

He died of undetermined causes on September 25, 2016.[2][6]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions Record label

1983 Kashif 54 10 Arista
1984 Send Me Your Love 51 4
1985 Condition of the Heart 144 32
1987 Love Changes 118 17
1989 Kashif 29
1998 Who Loves You? Expansion
2004 Music from My Mind Brooklyn Boy
"—" denotes the album failed to chart

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions Record label
1992 The Best of Kashif Arista/BMG
1998 The Definitive Collection Arista
2002 The Best of Kashif BMG
"—" denotes the album failed to chart


Year Single Chart positions Album



1983 "I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On)" 103 5 28 79 Kashif (1983 album)
"Stone Love" 22
"Help Yourself to My Love" 28
"Say Something Love"
1984 "Baby Don't Break Your Baby's Heart" 108 6 40 Send Me Your Love
"Are You the Woman" 25
"Ooh Love" 75
1985 "Love on the Rise" (with Kenny G) 24 87 Gravity
"Condition of the Heart" 34 Condition of the Heart
1986 "Dancing in the Dark (Heart to Heart)" 36
"Love the One I'm With (A Lot of Love)" (with Melba Moore) 5 A Lot of Love
1987 "Reservations for Two" (with Dionne Warwick) 62 20 7 Love Changes
"Love Changes" (with Meli'sa Morgan) 2
1988 "Love Me All Over" 14
"Loving You Only" 60
"I'm in Love" (with Melba Moore) 13 I'm in Love
1989 "Personality" 6 Kashif (1989 album)
1990 "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)" 33
"—" denotes the single failed to chart


1.^ The documentary has not yet been released, nor an update if it is completed or is still in production. In 2014 an Indiegogo fundraiser was created that did not reach its target for the production.


  1. ^ a b c Caramanica, Jon (October 2, 2016). "Kashif, R&B Singer, Writer and Producer, Dies at 59". The New York Times. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Producer Kashif Dies at 59". Billboard. September 27, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Kalia, Ammar (October 4, 2016). "Cult heroes: Kashif – inspirational pioneer of boogie and R&B". The Guardian. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Kashif Page". Soulwalking.co.uk. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kellman, Andy. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Yoo, Noah (September 27, 2016). "Producer Kashif, Whitney Houston Collaborator and B.T. Express Member, Dead at 59". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  7. ^ Willis, Kiersten (September 27, 2016). "Tributes Pour In After R&B Singer, Innovator Kashif Passes Away at 56". Atlanta Black Star. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Music Publishing" (PDF). Cashbox. December 9, 1989. pp. 5 & 14.
  9. ^ "Top R&B Singles" (PDF). Cashbox. December 2, 1989. p. 14.
  10. ^ "Top R&B Singles" (PDF). Cashbox. November 25, 1989. p. 33.
  11. ^ Paige, Nathan (September 30, 2016). "R&B singer/songwriter/producer Kashif dies at age 59". Cleveland.com. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  12. ^ "Kashif - BILLBOARD 200 Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 10, 2022. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  13. ^ "Kashif - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2022.
  14. ^ a b "Kashif Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  15. ^ "Kashif - DANCE CLUB SONGS". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 19, 2022. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  16. ^ "Kashif - ADULT CONTEMPORARY Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 10, 2022. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  17. ^ "Kashif - full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 2, 2011.

External links[edit]