Crossover contemporary R&B singer Karyn White was born in Los Angeles, California, where her father played trumpet and her mother was a church choir director.
White gained experience singing in choir and also in local talent shows and beauty pageants. She sang with local band Legacy and then toured with R&B vocalist O’Bryan in 1984. A lead vocal on instrumentalist Jeff Lorber’s “Facts of Life” led to a recording contract with Warner Bros. Her self-titled debut, released in 1988 with two-thirds of its material produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface, sold over two million copies and featured three number one R&B singles (“The Way You Love Me,” “Superwoman,” and “Love Saw It”), as well as one that merely went to number four (“Secret Rendezvous”).
Her follow-up, Ritual of Love (1991), featured production by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis; it moved over half a million units, supported by yet another number one R&B single in the form of “Romantic.” White and Lewis subsequently married (and were together for seven years prior to divorcing).