Lime feature- Music
RIP Whitney Houston
It’s hard to begin to sum up the impact and enormous success that Houston enjoyed at the height of her career.
Shock and an outpouring of grief quickly spread at the news of her passing.
Huston was born on the August 9, 1963 and she was almost predestined for singing stardom. Her mother, Cissy Houston was a renowned gospel singer and her cousin was the legendary Dionne Warwick, add godmother Aretha Franklin and you get and you get an unmatched musical pedigree.
She started singing aged five with the New Hope Baptist Church choir, and soon moved on to providing backing vocals for acts such as Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls.
She was spotted by Clive Davis aged 19 in a Manhattan nightclub who practically signed her on the spot.
Her self-titled debut album was released in 1985 to wide critical acclaim, and there began a record breaking run of success. She scored seven consecutive number 1’s on the Hot 100 chart, breaking the record of six held jointly by the Beatles and the Bee Gees.
In 1992 Houston made a move to the silver screen and starred in her first film ‘The Bodyguard’. Despite a mixed response from critics the film was a huge hit grossing over $400 million dollars worldwide. Houston remained a steady draw at the box office. The success of the film was almost dwarfed by the soundtrack. It sold 44 million worldwide and produced the mega hit ‘I Will Always Love You’. It was a record breaking number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. It stayed in the billboard top 100 for 20 consecutive weeks.
She married r&b singer Bobby Brown in 1992 after a three year courtship and year later had her only child Bobbi Kristina. In her own words Houston described the union as “the princess marries the bad boy”.
Whether he was to blame or not Houston’s personal life stared to spiral downwards around this time. Erratic behaviour and shaky vocal performances increased over the years and even after divorcing Brown in 2007 and admitting to the years of rumoured drug abuse things did not improve.
Her music output continued with 2009’s well received release ‘I Look To You’. But her physical appearance and live vocal performances continued to decline.
Mariah Carey, Nelly Furtudo, Britney Spears, Kelly Rowland, Jennifer Hudson, Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige, Leona Lewis and Beyoncé to name but a few have all acknowledged Whitney Houston as an influence.
Whitney Houston’s funeral was held on February 18 at her hometown in Newark, New Jersey. The emotional service was a private affair but streamed live on the Internet. It was a star studded yet beautiful ‘home going’ which included performances from Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder and R Kelly and tributes from Kevin Costner and Tyler Perry.
Whitney Houston is survived by her mother, two brothers and her daughter Bobbi Kristina.