Most contestants on televised talent shows never are able to forge a lasting career, but Lari White is the exception that proves the rule. After winning on the Nashville Network's You Can Be A Star, White went on to become one of the most popular female new country singers of the mid-'90s, breaking through into the big time in 1994.
Born and raised in Dunedin, FL, Lari White began performing when she was a child, singing in a gospel group with her parents and brother. The group, called the White Family Singers, sang at local church and community gathering. After a while, the children began working pop music into the act, most notably Elvis Presley. As a teenager, Lari sang show tunes at talent contests and sang with a local rock & roll band. She earned a scholarship to the University of Miami, where she studied vocals and music engineering. After a while, she began writing her own songs, singing in local clubs at night and taking professional singing jobs. Upon graduating from college, she travelled around the United States, looking at various local music scenes. In 1988, she decided to move to Nashville and try to become a professional.
Later in 1988, she appeared on the Nashville Network's You Can Be a Star and won the first prize. The award led to a record contract with Capitol. Before the end of the year, she had released a single on Capitol, "Flying Above the Rain," which became a regional hit in the South but failed to break into the big time. Later that same year, she joined Ronnie Milsap's publishing house and began taking acting lessons. For the next few years, White continued in this vein, choosing to hone her talent, sing in local dinner theaters and wait for another break. That break arrived in 1991, after an ASCAP showcase revived interest in her talents. Following the showcase, Rodney Crowell asked her to sing backup vocals in his live band. In 1992, White signed a record contract with RCA and Crowell produced her debut album, Lead Me Not, which was released the following year.
Lead Me Not received strong reviews and produced three minor hit singles: "What a Woman Wants," "Lead Me Not," and "Lay Around and Love You." Wishes, White's second album, became her breakthrough release, producing the Top Ten singles "That's My Baby," "Now I Know," and "That's How You Know (When You're in Love)." Don't Fence Me In, White's third album, wasn't quite as successful as its predecessor, but it continued her success. Stepping Stone followed in 1998. In 2004, after a lenghty hiatus that found the artist building her own home studio, White released the self-produced Green Eyed Soul on the UK based Mesmerizing Records. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine