You might not know his name or recognize his face, but you definitely know LaShawn Daniels’ work. The Grammy-winning songwriter is responsible for some of the most popular R&B hits of the last 20 years.
Tragically, he was killed in a car wreck on Wednesday. He was just 41 years old.
As “Big Shiz,” LaShawn Daniels worked on a huge number of major hits for Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Spice Girls Tamar Braxton, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, and Destiny’s Child.
If you’ve ever had “The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy and Monica stuck in your head, then you can thank Daniels. He also wrote “Say My Name” for Destiny’s Child! He picked up a Grammy for that track in 2001, and earlier this year he told the story of the inspiration behind the lyrics. Turns out, he was thinking about an ex-girlfriend.
“I would be places, I would be at work, and if [my girlfriend] would call or hear anyone laughing, or speaking, or doing anything in the background, she’d be like, ‘Who is that?’” he said. “Then she’d be like, ‘Well, say my name then, and tell me that you love me.’”
Daniels’ wife, April, wrote a touching tribute to her late husband on Instagram as she broke the news to his fans:
It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, family member, and friend Lashawn Daniels, who was the victim of a fatal car accident in South Carolina. A Grammy-award winning producer and songwriter, Daniels was a man of extraordinary faith and a pillar in our family.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation for the continuous outpouring of love and sympathy. We ask that you respect the privacy of our entire family during this difficult time.”
The family requested that donations be made to the Lashawn Daniels Memorial Fund instead of flowers.
LaShawn Daniels was active in the gospel music community and even released a solo album last year called “The Big Shiz Project.” Fellow gospel artist Kirk Franklin tweeted, “The entire music community is feeling the loss of one of the greatest to ever do it. LaShawnDaniels…we just stood together a week ago. No words.”
Other artists have praised him for his genuine soul, incredible talent, and kindness. “An amazing husband, father, son & a brother to many,” LeToya Luckett of Destiny’s Child wrote. Kelly Rowland joined in, writing on Instagram, “YOUR gift wasn’t just in your brilliant melody and lyric, it was when you walked into a room, when you laughed!”