Gifted, Awarded, Loved and Adored: Whitney Houston
Voice packed with power, looks of an angel, gifted by God, success and fame wrapped up in one great legend. Yes, honey we are talking about our girl Whitney “Nippy” Houston! Her voice was a true gift from God, and she shared that amazing talent with the world. She made music for many popular music genres to ensure she didn’t leave anyone out of her journey through music. Houston was music and singing was her vice.
Houston began singing for the church where her mother, Cissy Houston, led the choir. Cissy taught Houston everything she knew and strongly impacted Houston’s life throughout her teenage years. Cissy controlled most of Houston’s affairs, including when and where she would sing. She wanted to see her daughter make it to success and was determined to make sure her voice and her presence were absolutely perfect for it.
By the age of 19, Houston was signed to Arista Records by Clive Davis. Whitney transitioned from singing gospel to singing pop music, from there her light grew. In 1985, Houston released her first album, Whitney Houston. We fell in love with her voice and music instantly. Hits from this album include “Saving All My Love for You” and “How Will I Know”.
These songs as well as the album topped charts and held its spot for 14 weeks. In 1986, she won her first Grammy for “Saving All My Love for You”. That same year, Whitney received five American music awards. This album was the start of her success selling over 86 million copies globally making it a platinum album. Her next hit album, Whitney, had us dancing with somebody… anybody really.
Her hit single, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” won her another Grammy with an astounding tour to follow. This album also went platinum. Whitney was definitely booming and anywhere her voice took her, success was sure to follow.
By 1992, Houston landed on the big screen as a lead in The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner. She released singles to go with the movie which took her popularity to a new level.
Her cover of Dolly Parton’s song, “I Will Always Love You” became Houston’s biggest hit ever. There is not a soul out there that can listen to this song without screaming it from the top of their lungs. With this song and soundtrack album as a whole, Houston received three more Grammys, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. Mid-90s she was one of the leads in Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher’s Wife. Houston was well on her way to becoming an icon legend.
Though Houston was on top of the world, there were other forces that caused some complications down the road. At a young age, she was introduced to all kinds of drugs. The heightened fame and personal issues aided in her addiction. In 1992, she married R&B singer, Bobby Brown, former member of New Edition. Their relationship started off loving and passionate, but as the years went on things became a bit muddy. Both Brown and Houston suffered from substance abuse which increased their unhinged behavior.
As Houston became more successful, Brown’s own frustrations started to rear their heads in his marriage. With Houston’s drug addiction and Bobby’s alcoholism, together they were a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. During their marriage, they had a daughter, Bobby Kristina, and Whitney dedicated the rest of her life trying to clean up her act for her daughter, her career, but most importantly herself. After several years of marriage, Brown and Houston divorced in 2007.
Despite the drug abuse, Houston’s career was still on top of the world. In 1998, she released her third non-soundtrack album, My Love Is Your Love. This album earned her yet another award for her song “It’s Not Right but It’s Okay”. Though the album was not as successful as the last five albums she still received many awards. Her life at this point was on a wild roller coaster. Her unstable marriage, drug abuse, and health problems threatened her voice and in turn her career.
She had an interview with Diane Sawyer, who addressed her addictions to drugs and fame. Many saw this interview as a breakdown waiting to happen. A couple of years later she released Just Whitney to take some attention off of her pressing life issues. The album was not as successful as her earlier work but, she was still very much celebrated as an amazing singer. By this time, Houston had achieved great success.
She went down in the Guinness World Records for most-awarded female artist. “…success doesn’t change you, fame does,” Whitney Houston said in an interview where she was asked about the changes that happened to her in her career.
Houston took an extended break from music to work on her personal health and growth. After almost a decade of getting help, Houston released her last album, I Look to You in 2009. She spoke of the album as her new refined self. The album addressed the changes she had made in her life and where she stood in between it all. The fans welcomed her back with open arms, after all IT IS WHITNEY! She seemed to have control over issues she had previously dealt with in her life. Her career was once again on an upward climb, sadly, Houston did not live to see her future dreams through.
Whitney died on February 11, 2012; drugs brought about her demise.
Music was her life and she blessed us all with her amazing voice and angelic smile. Hearing Houston’s music still puts us on our feet and in our feelings. Her voice was truly a gift from God, and we appreciated her for sharing it with us week after week, year after year.
The story of Whitney is a great one, filled with emotion, stress, happiness, and success and WWF could only cover highlights of it. There are a few documentaries such as Whitney and Can I Be Me that show the full stories of her life and struggles through the years. She was and still is one of our greatest, amazing icons and we will always love her for the music she shared with us, the life lessons she taught us, but most importantly for opening up and pouring her heart out to us.
We miss you Whitney Houston and may your spirit lives with us forever.