LaShawn Daniels, Grammy-Winning Songwriter, Dies at 41

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LaShawn Daniels, a songwriter and producer who wrote for pop megastars like Whitney Houston and Beyoncé and shared a Grammy Award in 2000 for his work on the Destiny’s Child anthem “Say My Name,” died on Tuesday in a car accident in South Carolina. He was 41.

His death was confirmed by his publicist, Jojo Pada. She said she had no details on the accident.

The list of artists with whom Mr. Daniels had songwriting credits reads like a concert promoter’s dream lineup. He was credited as a composer on songs by Michael Jackson (“You Rock My World”); Lady Gaga (“Telephone” which featured Beyoncé); Jennifer Lopez (“If You Had My Love“); and Whitney Houston (“It’s Not Right But It’s Okay”), among many other artists.

Mr. Daniels, who was known in the music industry by the nickname Big Shiz, often worked with the producer Rodney Jerkins. They collaborated (along with other writers) on “Say My Name” for “The Writing’s on the Wall,” the sophomore album by the R&B group Destiny’s Child, which at the time consisted of LeToya Luckett, LaTavia Roberson, Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé, then billed as Beyoncé Knowles.

In an interview this year with the Recording Academy to mark the 20th anniversary of “Say My Name’s” release, Mr. Daniels said the idea for the song came from life experience. He said that his girlfriend had been in the habit of calling him while he was out, and that if she heard anyone “doing anything in the background, she’d be like, ‘Who is that?’ Then she’d be like, ‘Well, say my name then, and tell me that you love me.’”

Mr. Daniels’s recollection is echoed in the song’s chorus, which includes the lines “Say my name, say my name/ If no one is around you, / Say baby I love you/ If you ain’t running game.”

“Say My Name” became the second single from “The Writing’s on the Wall” to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. (The first was “Bills, Bills, Bills,” which Mr. Daniels did not have a hand in writing.) It won the Grammy for best R&B performance in 2000. Mr. Daniels was nominated for seven other Grammys but never won another.

He noted proudly that “Say My Name” seemed to have more lasting appeal than many pop hits.

“We did everything we possibly could to make sure we were successful, and lo and behold, 20 years later, I’m doing an interview about a song that we did,” he told the Recording Academy. “I think the mission was accomplished.”

LaShawn Ameen Daniels was born in Newark on Dec. 28, 1977. He broke into songwriting when he was still young and received his first Grammy nominations (for record of the year and best R&B song) in 1998, for “The Boy Is Mine,” a duet by Monica and Brandy in which they argue over a lover.

Mr. Daniels’s survivors include his wife, April Daniels.

In recent years he helped write several popular songs for Tamar Braxton, including “Love and War,” which was nominated for a Grammy in 2013.

Many of the songs Mr. Daniels wrote conveyed feminist messages, which he said was a reflection of his beliefs.

“I’m one of the guys who believes that women are extremely smarter than men,” he said this year. “I think if you empower a woman, you empower the world.”


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