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Whitney Houston is one of the top female pop stars of all time. She was the first artist to have achieved a consecutive singles topping the chart. Houston released several hit singles with her biggest in the rock history being the 1993 dolly patron cover “I will always love you”. She was able to handle adult contemporary ballads, stylish dance pop and slick urban contemporary soul with energy that helped her in becoming one of the black artists to be successful on MTV. Houston initially started as a gospel singer in the church before she later turned to secular music. Over time, she developed a singing style that was characterized by a flashy melodic embellishment. More of Houston’s singles were mostly released on soundtracks of films where she appeared. She went for several years without a blockbuster, but that did not ruin her iconic status.
Whitney Houston was born on 9 August 1963, in Newark, New Jersey. Her mother Cissy Houston was a gospel singer. Houston began performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the age of 11 at her Baptist church. Whitney’s experience for performance was not limited to the church, however. She could accompany her mother to entertainment spots, especially the nightclubs where she could perform with her mother on the stage. At the beginning of her professional career as a pop artist, Houston did her first recording as a featured vocalist with Bill Laswell’s experimental jazz-funk materials. In 1982, the band released an album called “One Down” that placed Houston in the limelight alongside Archie Shepp and Fred Frith. The year that followed, Teddy Pendergrass offered Whitney a recording contract that saw her released her first single “Hold Me” in 1984 (Belmont and Belcourt Biographies 5-10).
The debut album of Houston, Whitney Houston was released in 1985. The single “You Give Good Love” was Houston’s first hit song that topped the R&B chart. Despite the unimaginative title of her album “Whitney”, it became the first female album to top the albums charts. This was her second album that had its first four singles hitting number one in the chart, giving a seven straight run. Houston had a top five score in 1988 with her non-Lp single “One Moment in Time” that was recorded foe a compilation album for an Olympic theme (WhitneyHouston website).
One year after releasing of her first album, Whitney won her first Grammy award in 1986 for her song “saving all my love for you”. She performed the song live, a performance that would later see her win an Emmy award. Whitney would later win several American music awards and an MTV award between the years 1986 and 1987. She even has a Grammy award nomination in the 1987 ceremonies (Belmont and Belcourt Biographies 21).
Houston began to pursue an acting career in 1992, a career that she had never pursued since her childhood years. Her first film, The Bodyguard was released in 1992 where it performed well in the box office by the help of a campaign on climatic change in her soundtrack record “I Will Always Love You”. In the summer of 1992, she also married singer Bobby Brown. In her interview with Opera Winfrey in 2009 portrays the married between her and Bobby Brown to be passionate which later turned turbulent with drug use (Belmont and Belcourt Biographies 15). The marriage was affected by the professional jealousy, which resulted into a psychological abuse and a gross physical confrontation. Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown divorced in the year 2007 and they had a daughter called Bobbi Kristina.
During the time when Whitney stopped appearing in award nominations, she released a drama “Waiting to Exhale” in 1995. Before the release of the drama, she and her husband Bobby Brown separated. Houston then decided to turn to gospel roots in 1996 with the film Preacher’s wife. The soundtrack for the film was composed of gospel songs. It featured Houston’s mother as the guest appearance. Illness forced her to cancel appearing in several TV and concerts (nytimes).
Her first full album was released in 1998. This was her first in 8 years where Houston combined the work with pop and smooth souls artists like Babyface and David Foster. She also included hip-hop artists like Missy Elliot, Laurine Hill and Wyclef Jean. The album sold fewer copies than the previous ones, but it received several reviews over a time. Houston also released a duet with Mariah Carey, “When You Believe”, and a song for an animated film (Belmont and Belcourt Biographies 36).
Whitney Houston has been in the picture for constant drag abuse, which normally put her in the wrong side of the law. For example, in the year 2000, Houston was arrested in Hawaii after authorities at the airline found marijuana in her luggage. Houston was later dropped from the Academic award telecast in 2000, an act that developed speculations about her personal life.
Whitney Houston seemed to have given up her professional carrier to her personal life as she argued in her interview with Oprah Winfrey that she wanted to be normal. Houston descended into drug abuse and began turning away from her carrier all because of her love for her former husband. The singer was at point living in denial as she said in 2002 that she does not use cocaine by saying “crack is whack”. Whitney Houston was at point attributed her abuse of drug as a passion to her husband. For instance, in the 2009 interview with Winfrey, Houston said that her husband was her drug and that he could not do anything without him. She even explained that whenever she got high, it was her and her husband together .
Between the years 1990 and 1998, Whitney experienced a turbulent decade. It was during the early times of the decade when rap music was taking over other music. Whitney suffered a blow since most African-Americans resented her claiming she was abandoning her roots. Fortunately, when Whitney married Booby Brown, rapper and songwriter, her comeback started. She regained the African-Americans support. To attest to this comeback, Houston released her new album “My Love is Your Love”. However, it was not long before Whitney changed and rumor went round that she was struggling with drugs. Her physique changed to skeletal, as observed in Michael Jackson show, far away from well-cared body. Indeed Whitney, as she confessed on interviews, had a drugs problem. Owing to the struggle, Whitney sought help through rehab in the year 2004, for drug and alcohol treatment. This was a struggle never to be completed. Different events unfolded between Whitney’s first time in rehab and 2011. As confessed to Oprah, Whitney’s life continued to wobble even with her partner, Bobby. The music career took a diving fall too. Therefore, on May 2011, Whitney enrolled once again to rehab, as an outpatient. Her bodyguard licked out this information and the world continued watching Houston’s once glaring lights, dwindle.
On 2009, Whitney had an anticipated interview with Media mogul Winfrey Oprah. It was during a time of Whitney’s life when so many things were going around; marriage, career and substance use. During the interview, the gifted singer confessed to audience on how her mother played an important role in trying to patch things back to normal. Whitney was already having trouble with Bobby Brown and the drug use bothered her mother very much. Whitney confessed that at one point, Cissy, her mother came to their house with government officials in desperation to salvage her daughter. It was an emotional moment but this is what the fans needed (Pareles and Nagourney 1) .
Whitney released her new albums in 2002 that described her new personality as Just Whitney, which came out to be more defensive and insisted of her loyalty to her husband. In 2009, she released a studio album I Look to You. This album included a breakup song Salute and the song “I didn’t know my own strength” which was a hymn like anthem.
In March 2012, Whitney Houston accidentally drowned at a bath tab at a Los Angeles county hotel. It is believed that cocaine and heart diseases might have played a role in her death. An autopsy conducted on her revealed that there were illegal drugs in her system by the time of her death. The contribution of cocaine to her death did not provide many details as it was alleged. Initial investigation dismisses a foul play in her death giving room for further investigations (nytimes).
Whitney Houston influenced a generation of upcoming singers such as Maria Carey and Christina Aguilera. However, the end of her carrier saw her becoming a tale of caution of drug use. Mrs. Houston confesses on using cocaine, pills and marijuana. The same substances later became the subject as the cause of her death.