Grammy Award-winning pop singer, Whitney Houston, died at 48 years old Saturday. Her publicist, Kristen Foster said Saturday that Houston had died although the location and cause of death were still unknown. The tragic news came just weeks after reports of her bankruptcy surrounded the internet, and in the eve of music’s biggest night: The Grammy Awards.
Houston was found unresponsive by paramedics in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton, just days after enjoying a night out with daughter Bobbi Kristina in Hollywood. She also stepped out in a rare public appearance at the Kelly Price & Friends Unplugged: For The Love of R&B GRAMMY Party at Tru Hollywood on Thursday night. Houston even sang with Kelly Price at the event, which turned out as her very last performance. Watch the video here.
The once golden girl of the music industry was known to have had a beautiful majestic voice before she fell into drug use which caused her erratic behavior. In the middle 1980s up to the late 1990s, Houston was noted as one of the world’s top-selling singers with her powerful, soulful and unbeatable vocals. Her image was squeaky-clean, a singer known to even the lesser part of the world, physically beautiful with a dash of not overplayed sexiness and a poise every lady longed to have. Houston’s influence on younger generation of female singers spread far and wide, especially to Christina Aguilera who shared a similar timbre with Houston.
Whitney Houston, daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, cousin of Dionne Warwick and goddaughter of music legend, Aretha Franklin was discovered by music mogul, Clive Davis, who signed her into her debut album in 1985: “Whitney Houston”. It was the album which brought Houston to her first “Best Female Pop Vocal” Grammy for the hit “Saving All My Love for You”. Other hit singles in the album included “How Will I Know”, “You Give Good Love” and “The Greatest Love of All”.
The girl who started singing in church and sang backup for Chaka Khan and Jermaine Jackson had arrived. Her multiplatinum album, “Whitney” dropped in 1987 and marked another success for Houston with hits like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”.
Before her career ended, Houston also went into the movie industry with her movie “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale”. Her once great image, was thrown by her confession of cocaine, marijuana and pills abuse, which also took a toll on her once great voice. She was unable to hit the high notes she used to sing, and came the erratic behavior, low-number album sales and the non-existent hit songs. Her marriage to rapper Bobby Brown in 1992 also made things worse with domestic abuse and more drug abuse. Many people frowned upon the pop princess’ marriage to the bad boy, however Houston said her image is not who she really was.
She told Rolling Stone magazine in a 1993 interview:
“When you love, you love. I mean, do you stop loving somebody because you have different images? You know, Bobby and I basically come from the same place. You see somebody, and you deal with their image, that’s their image. It’s part of them, it’s not the whole picture. I am not always in a sequined gown. I am nobody’s angel. I can get down and dirty. I can get raunchy.”
In 2009, Houston made a comeback with the album “I Look To You”, and made the world believe she was back. However, cancelled tour dates and awful performances made fans walk away from the concert, feeling like they lost the Whitney they once knew. Which is ironic to the fact that once The New York Times wrote:
“[Houston] possesses one of her generation’s most powerful gospel-trained voices, but she eschews many of the churchier mannerisms of her forerunners. She uses ornamental gospel phrasing only sparingly, and instead of projecting an earthy, tearful vulnerability, communicates cool self-assurance and strength, building pop ballads to majestic, sustained peaks of intensity.”
Our hearts go to Whitney Houston’s family in this difficult time. May she finally found the peace she’s been looking for. Rest in Peace dear Whitney, you will be greatly missed.