NEW YORK — Kashif Saleem, the singer, songwriter and producer who crafted dance-funk hits in the 1980s and also produced Whitney Houston’s first big hit, died Sunday from undetermined causes in his California home, his representative said Tuesday. He was 59.
No further details about the musician’s death were provided.
Saleem produced Houston’s “You Give Good Love,” which became a worldwide hit in 1985. It reached No. 3 on the main Billboard chart and reached No. 1 on the R&B chart, becoming Houston’s first breakout hit song.
Saleem also worked on dance-floor hits for Evelyn “Champagne” King in the 1980s, including “Love Come Down,” ”I’m In Love,” sampled by Janet Jackson in 2004, and “Betcha She Don’t Love You,” sampled by Monica and Missy Elliott in 2010.
His biggest hit as an artist was a remake of the 1978’s “Love Changes” by R&B group Mother’s Finest. Saleem’s 1987 duet version with Meli’sa Morgan peaked at No. 2 on the R&B charts. The song was covered by Mary J. Blige and Jamie Foxx in 2005.
Saleem was born Michael Jones in New York, on Dec. 26, 1956, and was raised in various foster homes. He changed his name to Kashif Saleem after studying Islam. As a teenager, he joined the funk-disco group B.T. Express.
Pam and Mike Stitt, a couple Saleem unofficially adopted as his brother and sister more than 20 years ago, said they were saddened by his death.
“We are saddened by the passing of our brother. We ask for your thoughts and prayers to be with us at this time,” they said in a statement.
Saleem also had Top 10 R&B hits with songs like “I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On),” ”Personality” and “Baby Don’t Break Your Baby’s Heart.”
Saleem wrote the book, “Everything You’d Better Know About The Record Business,” published in 1996. His rep said he had conducted more than 200 interviews for a 10-part documentary called “The History of R&B Music and Its Influence On World Culture” before he died.