Whitney Houston: The Voice (8/9/1963 – 2/11/2012)

This is going to be the hardest thing I've ever had to write. In fact I'm already tearing up and I haven't even started. I don't know how to start out on writing about someone that honestly changed everything for music for me.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston, born on August 9 in 1963 was more than a singer or performer to me.

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My parents had and played her "I'm Your Baby Tonight" album constantly when I was growing up. They played other artists, but it was only Whitney whose entire album I knew. I can recall jumping up and down and dancing around in my socks in the living room to the single "I'm Your Baby Tonight" with both my parents and sister. "I'm Your Baby Tonight" is and always be not just my favorite R&B album, but my favorite album of all time.

When Whitney did "The Bodyguard", I was two. As soon as the soundtrack came out, I became obsessed with that one. My mother while pregnant with my sister would dance for hours to "I'm Every Woman" with me. Her rendition of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" was the best selling single by a female artist in music history. This album didn't just win her a Grammy for best soundtrack, it won her a part in making music history because she became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album in the first week. 

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I'm going to speak very little about her problems with addiction and by that I mean I'm not going to speak about it beyond acknowledging the fact that she had one. Because thinking and speaking about those bitter moments are not what made Whitney. What made Whitney was that God gave her a talent and a gift. She knew this and was never hesitant to show it. When she made an appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show she let loose a beautiful unscripted raw piece from her first song she ever performed in church. When she did the movie and the soundtrack, "The Preacher's Wife", it became the best selling gospel album of all time.

As time passed I fell even more in love with Whitney Houston. When she sang it was as though it was effortless. Whatever emotions the lyrics were supposed to portray and make the listener feel, I felt. I was enraged at some unknown guy for cheating on Whitney when she sang "It's Not Right But It's Okay" or "Heartbreak Hotel" Kelly Price and Faith Evans. I remembered how great a friendship is each and every single time I hear the hit "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" from the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. "Exhale" is actually my go to "everything will be fine" song. I listened to it right after I made my post about having to leave DC. I cried. Played the song. Didn't cry again about leaving DC. I even fell in love with love listening to "Run to You" and her live performance of "All The Man That I Need".

Some people are wondering why I'm so upset about her passing. It's very simple. Because of her I love music. I was always "Team Whitney". When people wrote her off and said that she wasn't the same she used to be, I asked "Well who is?" I always wanted her to get better. I always believed she would get better. 

Over the span of her career she won two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards, and numerous other wards that gave her a grand total of 415 awards throughout her career in 2010. This placed her in the Guinness World Records as being the most awarded female act of all time.

From her first big hit "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" to her last big hit  "I Look to You" I was a fan.

Whitney Houston was not a perfect woman. But without her, I would not have a love for music. I would not have an understanding of how music can aid a person when they need it the most. So for now, I shall go back to the multitude of memories that Whitney Houston gave me and remember her for who she was.

The artist. The mother. The woman.

The Voice.

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