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The world lost a treasured voice when Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012. She is being remembered not only as a great singer but as a trailblazer in the industry, setting many records and becoming one of pop music’s divas.
Whitney Houston’s groundbreaking achievements included more than 400 career awards, and a record-setting string of seven consecutive Number One singles. She sold more than 170 million albums worldwide including one of the best-selling movie soundtracks of all time, The Bodyguard.
Whitney Houston was from a musical family. Her mother is the She was the daughter of a famous gospel singer Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick was her cousin and Aretha Franklin was her godmother. Whitney began singing as a gospel singer and pianist in her mother’s church and sometimes she performed alongside her mother in nightclubs. At age 15, Whitney sang backup on Chaka Khan’s song “I’m Every Woman,” a tune she later performed on The Bodyguard soundtrack. Her vocal range became her signature sound.
But Whitney wasn’t only a singer. She was also an actress, starring in “The Bodyguard,” “Waiting To Exhale,” and “The Preacher’s Wife.” In 1998, she released her most musically-diverse album to date, “My Love Is Your Love.” Her final album, I Look To You, sold more than two million copies and reached the Number One spot in 2009.
The past 10 years were filled with highs and lows. Whitney’s contract at Arista Records was renewed for $100 million but album sales began to drop. Her marriage to singer Bobby Brown ended in 2007, and she canceled concerts and interviews. There were also allegations of drug abuse. In May of 2011, she went to a rehabilitation facility for drug and alcohol problems.
Houston’s untimely death prompted tributes the world over. Celebrities in Los Angeles for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards spoke about her contributions. Mariah Carey said, “She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices ever to grace the earth.” And Tony Bennett, who dedicated a song to her at a pre-Grammy party, said, “When I first heard her I called Clive Davis and said, ‘You finally found the greatest singer I’ve ever heard in my life.’”