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). Jam & Lewis also contributed production help on 1994's Make Him Do Right, which didn't fare nearly as well as White's first two releases. She spent several years away from the music industry to take care of her family while operating real estate and interior design businesses. In 2012, she returned with her fourth album, Carpe Diem, on the EMI-distributed Lightyear label.