Whitney Elizabeth Houston
(August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012)
“I Will Always Love You”, “One Moment in Time“, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go“, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All“, “Greatest Love of All” and “Saving All My Love for You” – these are just of the few songs that I grew up listening to.
As kid born in the last decade of the 90s, I have watched the music industry grow fond of one genre to another; but the above mentioned songs were never gone. It always served as a foundation, a go-to sappy love song or a go-to karaoke song. Those songs grew with me as I watched young aspiring singers belt out to each and every one of those songs in talent shows or singing competitions.
I remember tearing up when I first heard “When You Believe” and I remember learning how to really believe. I remember trying to decipher what “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” meant. I remember feeling as if I am the “Queen of the Night” and of course feeling like “I Have Nothing”.
I remember one a time when “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and feeling like “I’m Every Woman”.
I remember Whitney Houston and when I do, I remember a legend; an icon; an inspiration.
Today, February 12 (in the Philippines and 11 on the other side of the world), I woke up to the sad news that Whitney Houston died inside the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Houston, 48, died the night before the Grammy’s – music’s biggest night, which she dominated a few years back.
For all the music enthusiasts, like me, this news is devastating and we all could agree that this event is going to change the face of the industry for the rest of our lives. In a world where people can easily be called musicians the moment he releases a fast-selling single, it always helped to know that there’s someone to remind us that once, the definition of musician or singer is Whitney Houston.
Sure, I was never a die-hard fan of Whitney Houston but I do recognize her contributions, I recognize the person that she is, I recognize the voice that she has – had.
She was the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits and that right there is a record that won’t be broken unless a voice as genuine as hers will emerge out of nowhere into this catastrophe that the industry has become.
At one point, her voice seemed that of an angel. Although that comparison can never be proven since I really haven’t heard the voice of an angel, I’m pretty sure her voice comes close to that.
Houston was everything a singer could wish. She used her talent and let the whole world hear her sing but at the end of the day, just like everyone else, she’s just human. She makes mistakes and she struggled with her marriage, with her confidence. She found comfort in vices and her life fell apart as her spotlight faded.
On a phone interview with CNN, Lionel Richie said (not his exact words but how I remember it), “What would you do if your voice is your identity and you lost it?”
What happened to Houston happens to everyone else who lives in this world with so much pressure to be famous, to be who you need to be – to be who you once were. It’s human nature to force yourself back to who you were to come back to where you once were but she didn’t make it.
Nobody expected it but Whitney Houston said goodbye to life leaving us her timeless music and unbridled talent.
For the next few weeks, stories will circling about the latter part of her life and I bet there would be unpleasant ones – those that talked about her addiction and marriage – but I hope, as we hear these stories, we’ll always remember who she was during those days that she graced the stage.
She’s still the person whose hits made us all want to hit the right notes and at the end of the day, I hope we remember her as the person who showed us how real singing is like.
Whitney died but her legacy will forever; along with the music of Michael Jackson, Etta James, the Beatles and all the other artists that inspired us. I hope every artist will learn from the story of her life and I hope she will stay as an inspiration to everyone.
When a person dies, it doesn’t matter what caused it or why it happened – it’s about what she did between the day she was born and the day she died. At the end of the day, all the should matter is how she changed lives and how she taught us how to dream.
I’m not sure about you but I will always love Whitney Houston for introducing me to talent, the real kind of talent.