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Kashif Saleem (1959–2016)

by Legacy Staff

Kashif Saleem, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer, died Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Los Angeles, California, according to multiple news sources. Saleem was 56.

Saleem was born Michael Jones Dec. 26, 1959, in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. After becoming interested in music at a young age, he learned to play multiple instruments as a teenager. Around that time, he joined the funk band B.T. Express, which had two U.S. No. 1 R&B hits in 1974 with “Do It (‘Til You’re Satisfied)” and “Express.” Jones, who had changed his name to Kashif Saleem after studying Islam, left B.T. Express in 1978. He then backed the Grammy-winning singer Stephanie Mills on keyboards.

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Saleem went solo in in 1983, supported by Arista Records. His strongest singles as a solo artist included the top-10 R&B hits “I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On)” (1983), “Baby Don’t Break Your Baby’s Heart” (1984), and “Personality” (1989). He teamed with multiple singers including Melba Moore, Dionne Warwick, and Whitney Houston.

Two of his albums reached the top 10 on the R&B chart: “Kashif,” his 1983 debut album, and “Send Me Your Love” the following year.

Friends and fans of the artist shared their condolences on social media.

“2016 has been absolutely devastating,” wrote the singer Chaka Khan in a post on Facebook. “My prayers and condolences go out to Kashif’s family.”

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