Whitney Houston remembered
As a pop star turned Diva during the 80s and 90s, Whitney Houston’s star and talent was immense and rarely faltered. At the height of her recording career, she seemingly could have had whatever she wanted and could have written her own ticket. She had the look, the style, the smile and, most of all, the voice. She had an immensely powerful voice that was at once strong and powerful and sultry and smooth which could easily carry any song she put her mind to performing. She was definitely the Diva in every sense of the word. In her untimely passing on February 11th, 2012, she has left us with a legacy of number 1 hits, but more than the fact that they were number 1’s, they were just plain great songs with soaring powerful, passionate and often amazing vocals. Vocal performances that very few people can actually match and even fewer performers want to perform on the heels of her stellar performances. Despite the fact that I had never purchased a Whitney Houston CD until last week, I had heard most of her songs anyway. There was just no way not to have heard them on the radio, in stores, in restaurants or just generally out and about at her peak. You just couldn’t not hear her songs during her reign as Diva. Last week I purchased her Greatest Hits CD because I had decided I wanted to hear her catalog again as it had been quite a long while. I had no way to know that in less than a week she would be gone and I’d be writing this article.
Fast forward to the 2000s when her veneer starts to crack and her star begins to fade (with fewer and fewer releases). Like many musicians, she had succumbed to her own vices which lead to her down the path of drug and alcohol abuse and that, unfortunately, took a toll on her voice and her body. This may or may not have contributed to her death, but it didn’t help her career in her last decade or her own health. It’s unfortunate too because she could have had a very long, strong and prosperous career if she had been able to get out from under her own vices including her rocky tumultuous relationship with Bobby Brown.
Unfortunately, Whitney’s is not the unfamiliar tale in the entertainment industry. A bright shining star with huge talent bringing in a lot of money is always attractive to those who wish to leech from that talent (and money) to keep the party going. Unfortunately, these leeches tend to do things that they think help the star remain a star. In fact, they are actually doing just the opposite by enabling such behaviors as drug and alcohol use. They do these things to help keep the Star ‘happy’, but, in fact these leeches are destroying the person behind the star and then leave the person to fend for themselves after the veneer cracks and the money dries up. After all, these stars are still people just like you and me with insecurities, frailties, personal vices and emotions. They are not just sources of cash or talent. Whitney’s final story is not unfamiliar and yet people are always surprised when a musical artist dies too early in life. It’s a sad refrain that seemingly repeats as often as a pop music hook. However, it’s a refrain that we definitely do not need to hear more than once and Whitney’s death is proof of that.
Even with all of her vices and personal demons, she still managed to release a formidable catalog and rack up a large number of hits. And, that’s no small feat. This is how we should remember Whitney. As the Diva who amassed a large number of hits with her spectacular voice. We must celebrate her career, her talent and most of all her vocals. Let’s remember her as she was, the Diva with soaring high power vocals and not what her vices had led her to become. Even though her life ends both sadly and tragically right before the Grammy’s, she leaves behind a legacy at a poignant time when her career and her talent can be both celebrated and remembered perfectly by everyone. If there is such a thing as a perfect timing, she couldn’t have chosen a more ideal venue for us to celebrate her life, her works and her talent, ironically the evening just before the music industry celebrates the best and most talented musical artists, the Grammy Awards. Whitney definitely stole this show in her final curtain call.
We’ll both remember and miss you Whitney.