Country singer Lari White has lost her battle with peritoneal cancer at the age of 52.
Word spread quickly around Nashville with a number of stars posting salutes:
Such a sad day… “Saying Goodbye To A Friend” Lari White passed on today.😞 She was a tremendous talent and such a bright spirit. I am grateful to have had her friendship. She fought cancer like a warrior.
Lari, I will hold the memory of your shining green eyes always and the sound of your beautiful voice bluesy and soulful! My heart is breaking for Chuck and their kids and all all of Lari’s family and dearest folks.😘
I’m extremely saddened by the passing of my friend Lari White. She was so talented and a joy to write and record with. My heart goes out to all of Lari’s family and friends during this extremely difficult time.~ T
Sorry to hear of the passing of Lari White.
A wonderful talent and beautiful person!
My thoughts, love and prayers are with her family, friends and fans.
We will miss her.
White was born in Dunedin, FL and sang in her family’s gospel group as a child. She studied singing and music engineering at the University of Miami Frost School of Music where she began writing and regularly performing in clubs.
Lari received her first national exposure when she won the You Can Be a Star on the Nashville Network in 1988 with a prize of a recording contract with Capitol Records. Unfortunately, her first single, “Flying Above the Rain”, was only a regional southern hit and the label dropped her from the roster.
White used her writing talents to get signed to Ronnie Milsap’s publishing house while, at the same time, taking acting lessons and performing in local theater productions. Rodney Crowell saw her at an ASCAP showcase in 1991 and invited her to sing backup for him.
The next year, White signed with RCA and Crowell produced her debut album, Lead Me Not, which only produced three singles that fell under the Country top forty.
It was her second album, Wishes (1994) that brought her all three of her top ten country hits, “That’s My Baby” (1994 / #10 country), “Now I Know” (1994 / #5 country) and “That’s How You Know (When You’re in Love)” (1995 / #10 country).
One more album and a greatest hits package followed on RCA before moving to Lyric Street Records in 1998 where the album Stepping Stone produced her last top twenty Country hit, “Stepping Stone” (1998 / #16 country).
In 2000, White appeared in the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away, playing the woman to whom Hanks delivers the Fed Ex package after returning from the island. She was also in the 2010 film Country Strong.
She resumed her singing career in 2004 with the album Green Eyed Soul on her own Skinny White Girl label. She continued to release music on her label through last year’s two EP’s, New Loves and Old Friends but she became even better known around Nashville for her production activities, including Billy Dean’s Let Them Be Little (2004) and Toby Keith’s White Trash With Money (2005), making history as the first female producer of a major country album.
Lari announced that she had been diagnosed with cancer in November and entered hospice care last Thursday (January 18).
She is survived by her husband, songwriter Chuck Cannon (“How Do You Like Me Now?!”, “American Soldier”), and their three children.