She had one of the most beautiful voices ever. She conveyed the emotions that her songs portrayed, so well, that the listener feels it deep inside. Such was the kind of connection that fans of Whitney Houston felt whenever her songs were played. Besides that, she was so beautiful and had the most charming of smiles.
As she is laid to rest, the world would miss a star-musician, actress, model, producer and one who many turned to the lyrics of her songs for solace and inspiration. Her music enabled many of us to have faith in ourselves. Those who were heartbroken found some comfort in her songs. The messages were uplifting and positive and taught us to believe in our dreams and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Houston was among the greatest singers of the 1980s and 1990s. She grew up surrounded by gospel and soul music legends like Franklin and Warwick. Her landmark hits brought R&B and gospel touches into pop music’s mainstream.After her debut, her popularity grew exponentially with her second album, “Whitney” (1987), with all four singles - “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional”, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” - hitting No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Whitney was a trail blazer.In the 1980, at a time when MTV(Music Television) was gaining grounds, it received harsh criticism for not playing enough videos by black artists. With Michael Jackson breaking down the color barrier for black male artists, Houston did the same for black female artists. Whitney Houston became the first black female artist to receive heavy rotation on the network following the success of the "How Will I Know" video. This opened doors for more female black artistes.Her 30-year career that peaked with her 1992 signature hit “I Will Always Love You” paved the way for a generation of singers that followed her.
According to the Guinness Book of records, Houston was the most awarded female artist of all time, with two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. She held the all-time record for the most American Music Awards of any female solo artist and shared the record with Michael Jackson for the most AMAs ever won in a single year with eight wins in 1994.Houston won a record 11 Billboard Music Awards at its fourth ceremony in 1993. She also had the record for the most WMAs won in a single year, winning five awards at the 6th World Music Awards in 1994.
Whitney Houston also excelled as an actress, acting in, The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale and Preacher's Wife. Her first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single "I Will Always Love You", became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period.
From America to Asia to Australia to Europe and her roots, Africa, Whitney Houston's music brought joy to many. The musician, who started by singing in her church choir as a little girl and teenager was mentored by her mother, also a singer(gospel), Cissy Houston; and influenced by her cousins, Dionnie and Deedee Warwick and her adopted aunt, singer, Aretha Franklin.
Whitney, like all of us was not perfect, she faced various challenges like alcoholism, drugs and difficult relationships and marriage. She lived through them and was honest and genuine in the face of it. She died at a time many thought she was getting back on track.
Music was her life. Though her life was cut short at 48, while her music career blossomed, she was on top of her game. Her music lives on. She utilized her talent to the fullest and her passion for what she did was legendary, of which the records she set and the numerous awards she won testifies.
Picture, courtesy: MTV, time.com, bellanaija, ukmix.org