By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Singer Whitney Houston was found dead Feb. 11, in the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Calif., after emergency medical personnel were called sometime Saturday, said the sources, who asked to remain anonymous because the investigation is ongoing.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Houston, 48, was in the Los Angeles area for a musical tribute to music executive Clive Davis and had performed and spoken to reporters earlier in the week.
Among her many hits were: “How Will I Know,” “Saving All My Love for You” and “I Will Always Love You.” She won multiple Grammys including album and record of the year.
“The performer had drug and alcohol problems for years, and in May her spokeswoman said she was going back to rehab,” said the LA Times story.
“Publicist Kristen Foster told the Associated Press on Saturday that Houston had died but did not provide further details.”
Fox News reported that the Beverly Hills Police Department responded to an emergency call at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Saturday, Lt. Mark Rosen, of the Beverly Hills Police Department said.
She began singing in the church
Houston first started singing in the church as a child. In her teens, she sang backup for Chaka Khan, Jermaine Jackson and others, in addition to modeling. It was around that time when music mogul Clive Davis first heard Houston perform.
“The time that I first saw her singing in her mother’s act in a club … it was such a stunning impact,” Davis told “Good Morning America.”
“To hear this young girl breathe such fire into this song. I mean, it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine,” he added.
Before long, the rest of the country would feel it, too. Houston made her album debut in 1985 with “Whitney Houston,” which sold millions and spawned hit after hit. “Saving All My Love for You” brought Houstob her first Grammy, for best female pop vocal. “How Will I Know,” “You Give Good Love” and “The Greatest Love of All” also became hit singles.
Another multiplatinum album, “Whitney,” came out in 1987 and included hits like “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
The New York Times wrote that Houston “possesses one of her generation’s most powerful gospel-trained voices, but she eschews many of the churchier mannerisms of her forerunners. She uses ornamental gospel phrasing only sparingly, and instead of projecting an earthy, tearful vulnerability, communicates cool self-assurance and strength, building pop ballads to majestic, sustained peaks of intensity.”
Her decision not to follow the more soulful inflections of singers like Franklin drew criticism by some who saw her as playing down her black roots to go pop and reach white audiences. The criticism would become a constant refrain through much of her career. She was even booed during the “Soul Train Awards” in 1989.
“At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen,” said Fox News.
“Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like ‘The Bodyguard’ and ‘Waiting to Exhale.’
“She had the perfect voice, and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.”
Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy said in a statement, “Six-time GRAMMY winner Whitney Houston was one of the world’s greatest pop singers of all time who leaves behind a robust musical soundtrack spanning the past three decades.
“Her powerful voice graced many memorable and award-winning songs. A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice,” he said.
She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.
“But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use,” added Fox News. “Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her once pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.”
Fox News added, “Some saw her 1992 marriage to former New Edition member and soul crooner Bobby Brown as an attempt to refute those critics. It seemed to be an odd union; she was seen as pop’s pure princess while he had a bad-boy image, and already had children of his own. The couple had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993. Over the years, he would be arrested several times, on charges ranging from DUI to failure to pay child support.
“But Houston said their true personalities were not as far apart as people may have believed.”
Now Whitney Houston has left us with memories of the great days when at her peak in the 1980s and ’90s, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry and one of the world’s best-selling artists.
Once again it appears that substance abuse may have taken the life of another great performer.