I woke up this morning, switched on CNN and was shocked to learn that Whitney Houston had passed away suddenly on the eve of the 2012 Grammy awards. As I took in the startling news I felt even worse when I learned that she was only 48 years old.
Growing up in the 80’s, I was introduced to Whitney’s music at an early age. My mum is a diehard fan and I even remember how upset I was when my mum and dad went to watch ‘The Bodyguard’ and left me alone at home one evening.
In an industry flooded with artists who disappear after scoring one hit single or album, Houston’s longevity was unquestioned and unparalleled. Starting young, she dominated the charts for over two decades with one platinum selling album after another. Her songs always displayed her soulful church-choir roots while also celebrating her pop sensibilities. Every single or ballad had meaningful lyrics and haunting tunes that reverberated long after the album had released. Her sound was distinct. It was heartfelt. It was moving.
Sadly in her later years, Whitney’s tumultuous personal life overshadowed her professional brilliance. In the early 90’s her music suffered and her album sales plummeted and she continued to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. An abusive husband, drug problems, and bad publicity combined together and sent the diva spiraling out of control. It was quite a while before she eventually emerged restored and healed.
Today I watch numerous teens trying to find a foothold in the music industry. So many of them attempt to recreate the magic of ‘I Will Always Love You’ or ‘When You Believe’ and fail miserably. There can never be another Whitney. Ever.
I was so happy when she made a comeback alongside Enrique Iglesias with the track ‘Could I Have This Kiss Forever’. I assumed it was time for the comeback of ‘The Voice’ but sadly that was not meant to be. Regardless of her many troubles and fall from grace, I will always remember her as amazing woman behind hits such as “I Will Always Love You” and ‘Dance With Somebody’.
To say that Whitney Houston influenced my own musical sensibilities – is an understatement. I grew up listening to her music and being amazed by her talent. Though she is no more, her memory will live on through her music and through the lives of those who were touched by it. I hope that this legendary woman who sang so bravely and so vulnerably about the power of love will also be remembered and celebrated with much love.
R.I.P Whitney, you will be missed.