Today, I read on Bookcrossing that Diva, actor and songwriter, Whitney Houston, passed away in a hotel room in Los Angeles. What a loss to the entertainment industry this is; as well as the world of music.
Whitney started out her life in a gospel church group with her Mother Cissy Houston, related to superstars such as Dee Dee Warwick (cousin) and Dionne Warwick (sister), it's a little wonder that Whitney would take to the music industry as easily as she did. Her mother nurtured her talent and passion for gospel singing from a young age. As a teenager, Whitney was already singing on the scene in New York, and records with her first young performances in the '70s and early '80s album credits with such eclectic acts as Michael Zager, Chaka Khan, Herbie Mann, the Neville Brothers, Bill Laswell's Material, and others are much sought-after collectors items.
In 1983, Clive Davis saw Whitney singing in a club in New York and signed her on the spot. Two were spent in making her debut record; and in 1985, her self-titled album came out yielding a string of great hits such as 'The Greatest Love of All' (which became her veritable anthem), 'Saving All My Love For You', and 'How Will I Know'. Not only did the album establish her as an important new recording artist, but it went on to sell over 12 million copies in the U.S., plus many millions more abroad. This LP set the record as the biggest selling debut album by a solo artist.
With her second album, Whitney made history as the first female artist to make it onto the Billboard album charts #1. The new album soared past 9x-platinum on the strength of four #1 chart-toppers.
In 1992, after establishing her place on the big screen with Kevin Costner in 'The Bodyguard', Whitney Houston, three of her hits made it onto 'The Bodyguard' soundtrack which sold over 42 million copies worldwide. Filmwork continued for Whitney as other roles showed up for her and she starred in 'Waiting to Exhale' (1995), 'The Preacher's Wife' (1996).
By 2000, Whitney Houston received her sixth Grammy Award and was named the Best Female R&B Vocal; a month later, she was named Female Artist Of the Decade at the "Soul Train" Music Awards annual ceremonies virtually 15 years to the day since her debut single, "You Give Good Love" entered the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart on March 9, 1985.
The Guinness Book Of World Records lists Whitney as music's "most awarded female artist of all time," with an amazing tally of 411 awards (as of 2006) a tally that is certainly topped by her two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, and 23 American Music Awards, as well as MTV VMAs in the U.S. and Europe, NAACP Image Awards, BET Awards, "Soul Train" Music Awards, and so on. She received the Nickelodeon "Kids Choice" award (she was inducted into the "Kids Choice" Hall Of Fame in 1996), the Dove (Gospel Music Association) Award, and Blockbuster Entertainment Award. Whitney was inducted into the BET (Black Entertainment Television) Walk Of Fame in 1996; and received "Soul Train"'s prestigious Quincy Jones Career Achievement Award in 1998.