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Whitney Houston is one of most iconic singers to ever grace the stage and the most awarded female act of all time. She was born August 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey and is the daughter of entertainment executive John Russell Houston Jr. and gospel singer Emily “Cissy” Houston.
Houston got her start singing in the choir at the New Hope Baptist Church. Her first solo performance at the church was “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” As a teenager, she toured with her mother, and at 14 she became the backup singer on the track “Life’s A Party.”
In the 1980s, Houston worked as a fashion model and appeared in Seventeen magazine as the first woman of color to appear on the cover. She also appeared in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Young Miss.
After having her mother turn down several recording agency contracts prior to her high school graduation, Houston signed to a worldwide recording contract with Arista Records in 1983. In 1985, Houston released her debut self titled album which produced multiple chart topping hits including “You Give Good Love,” ” Saving All My Love For You,” and “How Will I Know.” The album went on to top the Billboard 200 and stayed there for a total of 14 weeks.
Houston won even more success and awards with her second album Whitney, which was released in 1987. In 1992, Houston married R&B singer Bobby Brown, and for the first time in her life, Houston began to experience the down side of fame and fortune developing issues with substance abuse and exhibiting erratic behavior.
The success of the 1992 movie The Bodyguard produced her biggest ever hit with her cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” The song spent a record breaking 14 weeks at the top of US charts, and the films soundtrack won Houston three Grammy Awards.
Houston’s later release of My Love Is Your Love in 1998 earned her another Grammy but did not reach the level of success of her previous albums. Houston went on to release another album and appear in multiple films, but she died tragically on February 11, 2012 from accidental drowning at The Beverly Hilton hotel. Medical officials reported that heart disease and cocaine use were contributing factors in her death. The world lost a music legend, but her legacy lives on in her music and influence.
Check out the following full length, fan made documentary to learn more about Houston’s life and her career.