90s R&B singer Sam Salter dies at age 46

No official date or cause of death has been reported by Salter's family

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1990s R&B singer Sam Salter has died at 46, You Know I Got Soul reported Saturday on social media. No additional information has been released by his family.

“We are saddened to share the news that R&B singer Sam Salter recently passed away at age 46,” You Know I Got Soul tweeted. “Confirmed in posts by his family. A special and often overlooked talent gone too soon.”

A Los Angeles, California native and the second of seven children, Salter developed his passion for singing at the Faithful Church of God in Christ, going on to win his high school’s talent show during his senior year.

“I won $30!” Salter told Billboard in 1997, adding that the achievement motivated him to pursue a career as a singer. “It felt so good. I was like, ‘I can do this!’”

Salter got his start in the music industry earlier that year after record executive and producer L.A. Reid signed him to his Atlanta, Georgia-based label LaFace Records, adding the young singer to an all-star roster featuring the likes of OutKast, Toni Braxton, Goodie Mob and more.

“I was floored,” Reid told Billboard about hearing Salter’s demo tape for the first time. “He’s a great singer. I mean, we live in an era where you don’t necessarily have to be, but he is!” 

Salter relocated from Los Angeles to Atlanta to work on a debut album with LaFace co-founder and producer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, who the singer named as one of his musical influences alongside R&B legend Stevie Wonder.

“They are very sincere in what they do,” Salter told Billboard about why Wonder and Babyface inspired him. “They put their all into every song. And I’m a fan of longevity. They’ve been able to sustain it, [and] that’s what I want to do.”

Salter’s debut single “After 12 Before 6” peaked at 19 on the Billboard U.S. R&B chart and at 51 on the Hot 100 ranking. According to Billboard’s Jeff Clark, the “smooth, classic” song “tells the story of a man trying to balance a career and a relationship.”

The song was featured in the tracklist of Salter’s debut album It’s On Tonight, which peaked at 15 on Billboard’s ranking of up-and-coming artists at the time. The album included production from Grammy-winning producer Cristopher “Tricky” Stewart and his brother, songwriter and producer Laney Stewart, as well as singer-songwriter Robin Thicke and songwriter Tony Rich, who have both won Grammys. 

The album is Salter’s only full-length commercial release, after two of his subsequent albums, Little Black Book and Strictly 4 The Bedroom were shelved. Throughout Salter’s career, he was credited with contributing to releases by The Isley Brothers, Charlie Wilson, K. Michelle, Tyrese, Deborah Cox and more.

Fans of the late singer reacted to news of his passing on social media, several of them expressing their love for his album It’s On Tonight.

“When I tell you I Love this album, I LOVE this album!!,”  user @TrifeMack132 tweeted Saturday. “Every single track is a super banger to me. I have 2 copies for safe keeping. Definitely an album I wanna pass down to my children. The epitome of 90’s r&b. Sad to hear that he passed away yesterday. ? #SamSalter.”

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