Whitney Houston, the multimillion-selling singer who emerged in the 1980s as one of her generation’s greatest R & B voices, died on Saturday in Beverly Hills, California at the age of 48.
The world watched her life deteriorate over the past few years due to the years of cocaine use and an abusive marriage.
Houston’s Death came as the music industry prepares for the annual celebration of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. She was staying at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel on Saturday to attend a pre-Grammy party that was being hosted by Clive Davis, her pop mentor.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born Aug. 9, 1963, in Newark, N.J., and had one of the most powerful female voices for her time. It is said that the sound of choirs were in her ears before she could even walk or talk. Her mother, Cissy Houston, was a gospel singer and back-up singer who worked with artists such as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Dusty Springfield. Aretha Franklin was the Whitney’s godmother, and Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick were her cousins. There was little doubt that young Whitney would follow their career paths.
Davis, who saw a rare talent in her at the age of 19, spotted Houston singing in a club. Davis spent 2 years and $250,000 on Houston preparing her for the releas of the first mega-selling debut album in 1985, “Whitney Houston”.
She will be remembered as the first female artist to have a a single album yield three No. 1 singles: “Saving All My Love for You,” “How Will I Know” and “The Greatest Love of All.” All of Ms. Houston’s studio albums were million-sellers, and two have sold more than 10 million copies in the United States alone
After meeting singer Bobby Brown at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards and the two superstars got hitched only three years later. To some, it seemed an odd match, the glamorous pop star with a one time bad boy.
Unfortunately, Houston’s public profile turned dark and more volatile as her relationship with Bobby Brown continued. Fans saw this as the axis on which her life seemed to be spinning so madly. Houston acknowledged that she was immersed in drugs, and the toll on her voice and her appearance was difficult to watch.
By mid-1990s, Houston was moving into an acting career with films like “The Bodyguard” and “The Preacher’s Wife.”
Although in a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Houston was described, as a “heavy” user of marijuana and cocaine. By the 2000s she was struggling even more, her voice grew smaller, scratchier and less secure, and her performances grew erratic.
It’s been a rough past few years for the pop star but she is now in a better place.
RIP Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012)