Music Spotlight: Whitney Houston – The Phenomenal Diva Who Paved Way For Black Singers

by Yvonne
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Incredible vocals, enviable finesse, R&B legend Whitney Houston was an unparalleled magnetic performer with an even bigger personality, who dominated the music industry between the mid 1980s to late 1990s, endearing souls all around the world.

Whitney Houston in the early 1980s started working as a fashion model after a photographer after being spotted at the Carnegie Hall singing with her mother. Many thanks to her successful modeling career, she became the first woman of color to appear on the cover of Seventeen and further appeared in Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Young Miss.

Young Whitney Houston

Young Whitney Houston as a model

The singer who descended from a line of star singers; daughter of gospel star Cissy Houston and cousin of singer Dionne Warwick
began her career in the church choir
1977, at age 14, her talent had already begun paving way for her, she became a backup singer on the Michael Zager Band’s single “Life’s a Party”, when Whitney turned 15, she had landed backup vocals on Chaka Khan’s 1978 soul hit I’m Every Woman.

Houston wasted no time establishing herself as a megastar, between the year 1985–1986 she had risen to international stardom.
In 1985 she released her debut album, just a year later in 1986, there was no contesting, Hoston was a force in the music world; topping the Billboard 200 albums chart and holding the spot for 14 non-consecutive weeks with  final single, “Greatest Love of All” – a cover of George Benson’s 1977 song, it would become known as Houston’s biggest hit yet.

The beloved megastar made a name for herself with pop songs such as I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), How Will I Know and bug time hits The Greatest Love of All and her record-breaking 12m-selling version of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You.

An undeniably natural talent: the ever iconic Houston possessed a dazzling voice which thrilled fans. Houston released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Proudly one of the world’s best selling artists, Houston stood tall as one of the most influential pop singers all time. The singer was also known for classics such as
“Where Do Broken Hearts Go” “I’m Your Baby Tonight”, and “All the Man That I Need.”

Guinness World Records declared Houston as the most-awarded female act of all time, having sold over 170 million albums, singles, and videos worldwide.

A compelling entertainer, Houston is the only artist to have seven consecutive number-one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. A versatile entertainer, Houston made her acting debut with the romantic thriller film The Bodyguard (1992), going on to star as well as record soundtracks for two other high-profile films, Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher’s Wife (1996), the latter’s soundtrack dubbed the best-selling gospel album of all time. The Grammy award winner also starred in Cinderella.

In 1989 at the Soul Train Music Awards, she then met R&B singer Bobby Brown at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards, the two got married in July 18, 1992. On March 4, 1993, Houston gave birth to their daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown.

Houston was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.

February 11, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California, it all came to a sad end when the singer’s body was found in a bathtub in her Hotel room in Beverly Hills. She had been due to attend a pre-Grammy awards party  at the hotel hosted by Clive Davis – credited with discovering her in a New York nightclub in 1983. She was pronounced dead at 3.55pm. The coroner confirmed she died by accidental drowning, heart disease and cocaine use were contributing factors.

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