Lari White

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Lari White
White in 2014
White in 2014
Background information
Birth nameLari Michele White[1]
Born(1965-05-13)May 13, 1965
Dunedin, Florida, U.S.
DiedJanuary 23, 2018(2018-01-23) (aged 52)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
record producer
rhythm guitar
Years active1988–2017
LabelsCapitol, RCA, Lyric Street, Skinny WhiteGirl
Associated actsChuck Cannon

Lari Michele White Cannon (/ˈlɑːri/; May 13, 1965 – January 23, 2018) was an American country music singer-songwriter 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 her own label, Skinny White Girl.[3] Overall, White charted twelve times on the Billboard country music charts. White was also married to Nashville-based songwriter Chuck Cannon.


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 was composed of 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.[4]

Musical career[edit]

White made her first national appearance in 1988 on the talent show You Can Be a Star on The Nashville Network[5] (now known as Paramount Network), 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.[5]

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 No. 18 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.[6] 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.[5] 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.

Later career[edit]

White appeared in the first and final scenes of the 2000 film Cast Away as Bettina, a welder of metal angel wings who sent a package through FedEx which the main character had with him while stranded on an island. 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, White was an original cast member of the Broadway musical Ring of Fire.[7] That year, she 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.[8]

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

In 2010, 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.[9]

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.[10]

Illness and death[edit]

In September 2017, White was diagnosed with cancer. Exploratory surgery in October 2017 revealed advanced peritoneal cancer. She died in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 23, 2018, at the age of 52. She is survived by her husband, songwriter Chuck Cannon, and three children.[11]


Albums and EPs[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US Country[12] US[13] US Heat[14]
Lead Me Not 36
  • Release date: June 14, 1994
  • Label: RCA Nashville
24 125 1
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
New Loves EP[16]
  • Release date: 2017
  • Label: Skinny White Girl
Old Friends EP[17]
  • Release date: 2017
  • Label: Skinny White Girl
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Country[18] US[19] CAN Country[20]
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
"Amazing Grace"[21] Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel
"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 [a] 27
1999 "John Wayne Walking Away" 64
2004 "Nothing but Love" Green Eyed Soul
"—" denotes releases that did not chart
  1. ^ "Take Me" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 25 on Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles, which acts as a 25-song extension of the Hot 100.[22]

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist Peak chart
US Country[18] CAN Country[20]
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"[23]
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
2016 "Champagne" Christin Sites


  1. ^ a b c d e Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Lari White biography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  2. ^ "About Lari White". Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  3. ^ Fenity, Joseph (January 25, 2018). "Lari White Talks Radio Discrimination, Defying Genres in Rare Interview". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  4. ^ "Lari White's Time In Nashville Has Been A Growing Experience". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Juli, Thanki (January 24, 2018). "Singer, songwriter Lari White dead at 52". The Tennessean. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  6. ^ "Travis Tritt". Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  7. ^ "Lari White Takes Johnny Cash Songs to Broadway". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  8. ^ "Toby Keith's White Trash With Money Certified Platinum". Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  9. ^ "Lari White discusses writing "I Will Not Say Goodbye," Danny Gokey single". Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  10. ^ "Lari White Produces 'Shoe Burnin" Album". Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  11. ^ Betts, Stephen L. (January 23, 2018). "Lari White, 'Now I Know' Country Singer and Actress, Dead at 52". Rolling Stone. ISSN 0035-791X.
  12. ^ "Country Albums search results for Lari White". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  13. ^ "Billboard 200 search results for Lari White". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  14. ^ "Heatseekers search results for Lari White". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  15. ^ "RIAA search results for Lari White". RIAA. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  16. ^ "New Loves EP — Lari White". Lari White. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  17. ^ "Old Friends EP — Lari White". Lari White. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Country Songs search results for Lari White". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  19. ^ "Hot 100 search results for Lari White". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Search results for Lari White". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  21. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. October 7, 1995.
  22. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2012). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 366. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.
  23. ^ "How did this 1993 music video simply disappear?". Joseph Fenity. Retrieved January 6, 2021.

External links[edit]