Lari White

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Lari White (Cannon)
Lari White, September 6, 2014
Background information
Birth name Lari Michele White[1]
Born (1965-05-13) May 13, 1965 (age 51)
Origin Dunedin, Florida, United States
Genres Country
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Record producer
Instruments Vocals
Rhythm guitar
Years active 1988–present
Labels Capitol, RCA, Lyric Street, Skinny WhiteGirl
Associated acts Chuck Cannon
Website Official website

Lari Michele White (/ˈlɑːri/; born May 13, 1965) is an American country music artist and actress. She first gained national attention in 1988 as a winner on You Can Be a Star, a talent competition which aired on The Nashville Network.[2] A recording contract with RCA Records Nashville followed a year later, producing three studio albums, a greatest hits package, and several chart singles, with three of her singles having reached Top Ten: "That's My Baby" and "That's How You Know (When You're In Love)" at No. 10, and "Now I Know" at No. 5. A fourth studio album was released in 1998 on Lyric Street Records, followed by two more releases on White's own label, Skinny White Girl. Overall, White has charted 12 times on the Billboard country music charts.


Lari White was born May 13, 1965 in Dunedin, Florida. As a child, she sang in her family's gospel group, The White Family Singers, which comprised her parents, sister, and brother.[1] White sang at talent contests and performed in a local rock band called White Sound as well. She later studied vocals and music engineering at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, and while in college, she started to write her own music and perform in local clubs.[1] She was a classmate of The Mavericks' Paul Deakin.[3]

Musical career[edit]

White made her first national appearance in 1988 on the talent show You Can Be a Star on The Nashville Network (now known as Spike TV), where she won first prize, which included a recording contract with Capitol Records. Although her debut single "Flying Above the Rain" received airplay in the Southern United States, it failed to chart and White was dropped from Capitol's roster without releasing anything else.[1]

She later joined a publishing house owned by Ronnie Milsap and began to take acting lessons, eventually performing at local dinner theaters. After attending an ASCAP showcase in 1991, she was invited by Rodney Crowell to sing in his backing band. White was then signed in 1992 to RCA Records, releasing her debut album Lead Me Not a year later. The album, produced by Crowell, included three singles: "What a Woman Wants", the title track, and "Lay Around and Love on You". All three of these singles entered the Billboard country charts, and although none reached Top 40, the album peaked at No. 36 on the Top Heatseekers charts.

White's breakthrough album, Wishes, followed one year later. This was her most commercially successful album, producing three consecutive Top Ten country hits in "That's My Baby", "Now I Know", and "That's How You Know (When You're In Love)", which respectively reached No. 10, No. 5, and No. 10.[1] The album was a No. 1 album on Top Heatseekers and No. 24 on Top Country Albums, and was certified gold by the RIAA for U.S. shipments of 500,000 copies.

Don't Fence Me In was the title of White's third RCA release, with the title track being a cover of the Cole Porter-written song made famous by The Andrews Sisters. Its lead-off single was "Ready, Willing and Able", which was previously recorded by Daron Norwood in 1995 as the title track to his second album. White's rendition of the song was a Top 20 hit in 1996, although the only other single from the album did not reach Top 40. In 1997, White also sang duet vocals on Travis Tritt's single "Helping Me Get Over You", a release from his album The Restless Kind, which peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.[4] 1997 also saw White's final release for RCA, a greatest hits package called The Best of Lari White which reprised all of her singles to that point including the Tritt duet, as well as two newly recorded tracks, and the non-single "Itty Bitty Single Solitary Piece 'o My Heart", from her debut album.

White's third recording contract came in 1998 when she signed to Lyric Street Records. Her first release for the label was the single "Stepping Stone", which was also the title track to her fourth studio album. This song became not only a Top 20 country hit, but also her only entry on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at No. 73. Following it were "Take Me" at No. 32 and "John Wayne Walking Away" at No. 64. Also included on this album were two songs that would later become singles for other artists: "Only God (Could Stop Me Loving You)", which she recorded as a duet with Toby Keith, had previously been a cut on Billy Ray Cyrus's 1994 album Storm in the Heartland and would later become a minor hit in 2003 for the Canadian band Emerson Drive, while "Flies on the Butter" was also a minor hit in 2004 for Wynonna Judd, who recorded it as a duet with mother Naomi on her 2003 album What the World Needs Now Is Love.

She debuted a cabaret production in 2007 called My First Affair.

White appeared in the 2000 film Cast Away. After the film she placed her musical career on hiatus. She returned in 2004 with the self-released album Green Eyed Soul. She also co-produced four tracks on Billy Dean's 2004 album Let Them Be Little, and the entirety of Toby Keith's 2005 album White Trash with Money. White also co-wrote Sarah Buxton's late-2008 single "Space".

In 2006, she was an original cast member of the Broadway musical Ring of Fire.[5] In the same year, Lari made music history as the first female producer of a male superstar's album with the release of Toby Keith's White Trash with Money. The album was ultimately certified platinum by the RIAA.[6]

In 2010 American Idol season 8 finalist Danny Gokey released the White-penned track "I Will Not Say Goodbye" as a single. White, who wrote the song with her husband Chuck Cannon and Vicky McGehee, was inspired by the untimely death of a friend's son.[7]

In 2014 a group of 24 authors and songwriters assembled a collection of stories in a book entitled The Shoe Burnin: Stories of Southern Soul. Included alongside the hardback publication is an audio CD that includes 18 original works by the songwriters featured in the book. White is a featured storyteller in The Shoe Burnin as well as the producer of the audio component of the project.[8]

Film career[edit]

White has appeared in several movies.[9] In the opening and closing scenes of Cast Away (2000) she played "Bettina Peterson", the woman Tom Hanks meets who gives him road directions. She appeared alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw in the 2010 film "Country Strong".


White is married to songwriter Chuck Cannon.[10] They have two daughters, M'Kenzy and Kyra Ciel, and a son, Jaxon.


In 1994 (leading into 1995), White was featured on Happy New Year, America.[11]



Lari has earned 3 Grammy Awards for her music:



Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US Country US US Heat
Lead Me Not 36
  • Release date: June 14, 1994
  • Label: RCA Nashville
24 125 1
  • US: Gold
Don't Fence Me In
  • Release date: February 16, 1996
  • Label: RCA Nashville
53 30
The Best of Lari White
  • Release date: January 28, 1997
  • Label: RCA Nashville
Stepping Stone 50 38
Green Eyed Soul
  • Release date: May 10, 2004
  • Label: Skinny White Girl
My First Affair (soundtrack)
  • Release date: 2007
  • Label: Skinny White Girl
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Country US CAN Country
1988 "Flying Above the Rain" N/A
1993 "What a Woman Wants" 44 39 Lead Me Not
"Lead Me Not" 47 63
"Lay Around and Love on You" 68 72
1994 "That's My Baby" 10 23 Wishes
"Now I Know" 5 22
1995 "That's How You Know (When You're in Love)" 10 18
"White Christmas" Country Christmas, Volume V
"Ready, Willing and Able" 20 14 Don't Fence Me In
1996 "Wild at Heart" 52 80
1998 "Stepping Stone" 16 73 10 Stepping Stone
"Take Me" 32 125 27
1999 "John Wayne Walking Away" 64
2004 "Nothing but Love" Green Eyed Soul
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist Peak chart
US Country CAN Country
1997 "Helping Me Get Over You" Travis Tritt 18 21 The Restless Kind

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1993 "What a Woman Wants" Joanne Gardner
"Lead Me Not"
1994 "That's My Baby" Steven Goldmann
"Now I Know"
1995 "That's How You Know (When You're In Love)"
"White Christmas"
1996 "Wild at Heart" Michael Salomon
"Another Broken Heart" (with Esera Tuaolo)
1997 "Amazing Grace"
"Helping Me Get Over You" (with Travis Tritt) Michael Merriman
1999 "Take Me" Peter Zavadil
2005 "Nothing But Love" Dani Jacobs


External links[edit]