His career spans more than four decades, 4 Grammy nominations and more than 70 million records sold world-wide.
Born Michael Jones on the 26th December 1959 in Harlem, New York, he never knew is biological family. When legally an adult, he changed his name to “KASHIF, which means ‘inventor, discoverer and magic maker’. He has forged a career doing just that. As a singer/songwriter, a super producer, artist, author, director, documentarian, and a music icon he is a legend.
KASHIF’S writing and production credits have generated hits for Whitney Houston, Kenny G, George Benson, Barry White, Lil’ Kim, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Will Downing, Dionne Warwick, Janet Jackson, Johnny Kemp, Glenn Jones, Al Jarreau, Da Brat, Me’lisa Morgan, Johnny Kemp, Mariah Carey and Monica just to name a few.
His introduction to music came in the form of a $3.00 song flute when he was in the 4th grade. Music would prove to be the only common denominator amidst the uncertainty of moving between eight foster homes. By age 12, he had mastered several musical instruments and was performing in some of New York’s finest clubs such as The Copacabana and Lloyd Price’s Turntable.
In 1974, at the age of 17, KASHIF was recruited to join world renown funk band B.T. Express, whose credits included the mega hits ‘Here Comes The Express’ and ‘Do It ‘Til You’re Satisfied’. Seeking a more challenging musical assignment in 1978, KASHIF left B.T. Express and landed a job as keyboardist for R&B sensation, Stephanie Mills. 1979 marked a major milestone for KASHIF’s budding career because he wrote and produced the smash hit ‘I’m In Love’ for Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King. The song revitalised King’s career and branded KASHIF as one of the most sought after producers.
Over the next ten years his creativity blossomed and he penned hit after hit including ‘So Fine’ for Howard Johnson, ‘Love Come Down’, ‘Becha She Don’t Love You’ and ‘Back To Love’. In 1980, KASHIF signed with Arista Records as a solo artist and continued his unrelenting assault on the R&B music charts with hits like ‘I Just Got To Have You, Lover Turn Me On’ ‘Stone Love’, ‘Help Yourself To My Love’ and the Grammy-nominated instrumental ‘The Mood’. In 1983, his second album, ‘Send Me Your Love’ resulted in two Grammy nominations, ‘Edgartown Groove’, featuring Al Jarreau, and instrumental ‘Call Me Tonight’ along with the hits ‘Baby Don’t Break Your Baby’s Heart’ and ‘Are You The Woman’.
In 1985, he received another Grammy nomination for yet 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 the electrifying ‘Hi How Ya Doin’ and ‘Nighttime In Tribeca’.
In 1985, KASHIF teamed up with then newcomer, Whitney Houston. The result was the Billboard chart no. 3 placed hit ‘You Give Good Love’ which instantly sent her career into the stratosphere. KASHIF also produced and was her duet partner on ‘Thinking About You’, a single track from Whitney’s astounding 17-million selling debut- album. The album became the best selling debut album by a female artist. KASHIF also produced ‘Where You Are’ on Whitney’s second project, the result, a 15-million selling 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. Also contained on that album, was another duet that yielded yet another international hit, the song, ‘Reservations For Two’, the artist? The legendary, Dionne Warwick. Between 1987 and 1989 KASHIF generated hits for Jermaine Jackson, The Stylistics, Melba Moore, George Benson, Stacy Lattisaw and many others.
In 1996, with an invitation from the famed UCLA Extension program, KASHIF created the critically acclaimed ‘Contemporary Record Production With Kashif’, one of the most successful courses in UCLA Extension history. He also wrote and self-published the highly acclaimed book ‘Everything You’d Better Know About The Record Industry’, considered by many to be the music industry bible, it has sold over 375,000 copies worldwide!
Year 2000 was another banner year for KASHIF, as he produced the theme song for the Para- Olympics, and wrote and produced ‘Brooklyn Breezes’ for R&B great Will Downing. He also co-produced along with George Duke the Duke Ellington Tribute CD for The Duke Ellington Foundation.
On November 14th, 2004, KASHIF was inducted into the R&B Hall of Fame as a ‘Living Legend’. That year Janet Jackson’s hit “R&B Junkie” utilised a sample of ‘I’m In Love’ written and produced by KASHIF.
Growing up in the foster care system has inspired KASHIF to lend his time and energy to help find ways to improve the lives of the more than 518,000 young people who are in foster care every day in America. In 2006, he created and founded Team iCare Foundation produced the very first Walk/Run for Foster Care at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena California. The result was 247 individuals signed up to become foster parents. He also created the Mentorship Dinner Cruise for youth in foster care, an event where 200 youth went on a cruise in Marina Del Rey, California and were paired with 250 professional in various industries for the purpose of creating mentoring relationships.
KASHIF has received community awards from the California State Senate, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villariagosa, all five Los Angeles County members of the Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles County Children & Family Services and others. KASHIF remains humbled and driven to help bring a better life to America’s most valuable resource, our children.
KASHIF has also added Producer/Director to his list of talents. He has written directed and produced commercials and corporate films for Hyundai Motors America, Casey Family Programs, St Joseph Health System, Patten Academy and many others.
In 2006 -2011, KASHIF founded Kashif University, which was originally located at Pepperdine University as a summer program for youth in foster care. As the program expanded it was relocated to Morningside Highschool. It is an integrated education and arts training program for at-risk-youth ages 8-18. The results of the program have been no less than superb.
In 2008 Kashif and his iCare Foundation produced the first ever walk for foster care at the Rosebowl Stadium in Pasadena, California.
KASHIF lives in Maui, Hawaii where he is currently producing and directing a ten part documentary series entitled "The History Of R&B Music and Its Influence On World Culture" for world wide distribution.
KASHIF’s influence is not only felt and heard in his music, but his innovations will benefit the music industry as a whole and will be felt for many generations to come!