Songwriter and producer

Born: December 28, 1977;

Died: September 3, 2019

LAShawn Daniels, who has died aged 41, was a US songwriter and producer whose relative lack of personal fame was counterbalanced by the extensive number of hit singles he worked on throughout his tragically short life. He collaborated regularly in contemporary R&B and pop with Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins, creating music for such artists as Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson and the Spice Girls.

After his death, it was speculated that records with Daniels’ name in the credits had sold over 400 million copies internationally, while productions he was integrally involved with received several Grammy nominations. In this regard the most successful song he worked on was Say My Name, Destiny’s Child’s US number one single of 1999, which won two Grammy Awards and was instrumental in their transition from popular R&B group to later superstardom.

Alongside Jerkins, Daniels returned to work with Destiny’s Child on Lose My Breath (2004), from their final album, Destiny Fulfilled, and the pair shared another credit with Beyoncé on Lady Gaga’s 2010 hit Telephone,. Other notable songs which bore his name were Brandy & Monica’s huge 1998 summer hit The Boy is Mine; major late-career hits for Whitney Houston (It’s Not Right But It’s Okay, 1999) and Michael Jackson (You Rock My World, 2001); and Jennifer Lopez’ massive debut single. If You Had My Love (1999).

Other songs were notable for the artists they involved. If I Told You That was a duet between Houston and George Michael, and a modest hit in 2000, while Jerkins and Daniels were instrumental in the Spice Girls’ attempted reinvention as more mature, R&B-influence artists with their final album, Forever (2000).

In recent years, Daniels and his wife April came to fame in their own right through regular guest appearances on the reality show Tamar & Vince (2012-2017), as best friends of singer Tamar Braxton and her music executive husband Vince Herbert. Daniels produced music for Braxton during this time, having previously produced her sister Toni. Daniels also appeared as a vocal coach on television series including Making the Band and American Idol.

He and April developed marriage counselling courses based upon their TV image as a close and successful couple. Daniels released his solo album The Big Shiz Project (titled after his own nickname) in 2018 and launched his ‘I Put Me On’ conference for aspiring artists this summer.

LaShawn Daniels was born and raised in New Jersey, one of five children of a local preacher, who taught his children how to play music for church; Daniels was the drummer, and remained committed to religion throughout his life. It was Jerkins – also a New Jersey preacher’s son – who persuaded Daniels to move to LA in 1997. The pair remained lifelong friends. In a post-2000 era of committee-led pop songwriting, Daniels was one of the distinguished professionals whose names are most celebrated within their industry or by fans who pore over liner notes or published credits. He died in a car accident in North Carolina at the age of 41, and is survived by his April and three children.