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Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Overview
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (born August 9, 1963) is an American singer, actress, producer
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

 and a former model
Model (person)
A model , sometimes called a mannequin, is a person who is employed to display, advertise and promote commercial products or to serve as a subject of works of art....

. Houston is the most awarded female act of all time, according to Guinness World Records, and her list of awards include 1 Emmy Award
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards
American Music Awards
-Conception:The AMAs were created by Dick Clark in 1973 to compete with the Grammys after the move of that year's show to Nashville, Tennessee led to CBS picking up the Grammy telecasts after its first two in 1971 and 1972 were broadcast on ABC...

, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston is also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums and singles worldwide.

Inspired by several prominent soul singers in her family, including mother Cissy Houston
Cissy Houston
Emily "Cissy" Houston is a Grammy Award–winning American soul and gospel singer. She led a very successful career as a backup singer for such artists as Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson, Wishbone Ash and Aretha Franklin, and is now primarily a solo artist...

 and cousins Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warwick is an American singer, actress and TV show host, who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health....

 and the late Dee Dee Warwick
Dee Dee Warwick
Dee Dee Warwick was an American soul singer. Born in Newark, New Jersey as Delia Mae Warrick, she was the sister of Dionne Warwick, niece of Cissy Houston and cousin of Whitney Houston....

, as well as her godmother, Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All...

, Houston began singing with New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 church's junior gospel choir at age 11.
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Quotations

I almost wish I could be more exciting, that I could match what is happening out there to me.

Crack is wack! I make entirely too much money to do crack. If I do crack... show me the receipts.

Kiss my ass! (on Being Bobby Brown)

Let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Crack is wack.

I want to see the receipts, from the drug dealer I bought $730,000 worth of drugs from. I want to see the receipts.

[on Mariah Carey] I love that little lambchop. She's my girl.

[when asked whether she denied having breast implants] Fuck no!

I love for you, but I don't live for you!

(After breaking one of the straps on her dress while performing on The X Factor (UK)|The X Factor) I sang right out of my dress.¹

Encyclopedia
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (born August 9, 1963) is an American singer, actress, producer
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

 and a former model
Model (person)
A model , sometimes called a mannequin, is a person who is employed to display, advertise and promote commercial products or to serve as a subject of works of art....

. Houston is the most awarded female act of all time, according to Guinness World Records, and her list of awards include 1 Emmy Award
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards
American Music Awards
-Conception:The AMAs were created by Dick Clark in 1973 to compete with the Grammys after the move of that year's show to Nashville, Tennessee led to CBS picking up the Grammy telecasts after its first two in 1971 and 1972 were broadcast on ABC...

, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston is also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums and singles worldwide.

Inspired by several prominent soul singers in her family, including mother Cissy Houston
Cissy Houston
Emily "Cissy" Houston is a Grammy Award–winning American soul and gospel singer. She led a very successful career as a backup singer for such artists as Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson, Wishbone Ash and Aretha Franklin, and is now primarily a solo artist...

 and cousins Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warwick is an American singer, actress and TV show host, who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health....

 and the late Dee Dee Warwick
Dee Dee Warwick
Dee Dee Warwick was an American soul singer. Born in Newark, New Jersey as Delia Mae Warrick, she was the sister of Dionne Warwick, niece of Cissy Houston and cousin of Whitney Houston....

, as well as her godmother, Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All...

, Houston began singing with New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 church's junior gospel choir at age 11. After she began performing alongside her mother in night clubs in the New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 area, she was discovered by Arista Records
Arista Records
Arista was an American record label. It was a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment and operated under the RCA Music Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, who formerly worked for CBS Records...

 label head Clive Davis
Clive Davis
Clive Davis is an American record producer and music industry executive. He has won five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. From 1967 to 1973 he was the President of Columbia Records. He was the founder and president of Arista Records from 1975...

. As of 2011, Houston has released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold certification.

Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits ("Saving All My Love for You", "How Will I Know", "Greatest Love of All", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)", "Didn't We Almost Have It All", "So Emotional", and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go"). Houston is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Top Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly "Top Pop Album") on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston's 1985 debut album, Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston (album)
Whitney Houston is the debut album of American R&B and pop singer Whitney Houston, released March 14, 1985 on Arista Records. The album initially had a slow commercial response but began getting more popular since the summer of 1985...

, became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was also named Rolling Stones best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stones list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album, Whitney
Whitney (album)
Whitney is the second studio album by American pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston, released in the United States on June 2, 1987 by Arista Records as the follow-up to her best selling debut album, Whitney Houston. The album met the expectations of many people and was sensationally popular after its...

 (1987), became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

 albums chart. Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts as well as her prominence on MTV
MTV
MTV, formerly an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs....

, starting with her video for "How Will I Know
How Will I Know
"How Will I Know" is a song recorded by American recording artist Whitney Houston for her debut album, entitled Whitney Houston, which was released in February 1985. It was released by Arista Records in November that year, as the album's third single. Composed by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam,...

", influenced several African-American female artists to follow in her footsteps.

Houston's first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard
The Bodyguard
The Bodyguard is a 1992 American romantic-thriller film starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Costner stars as a former Secret Service Agent turned bodyguard who is hired to protect Houston's character, a music star, from an unknown stalker. Lawrence Kasdan wrote the film in the 1970s,...

 (1992). The movie's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year
Grammy Award for Album of the Year
The Grammy Award for Album of the Year is the most prestigious award category at the Grammys. It has been awarded since 1959 and though it was originally presented to the artist alone, the award is now presented to the artist, the producer, the engineer and/or mixer and the mastering engineer...

. Its lead single, "I Will Always Love You
I Will Always Love You
"I Will Always Love You" is a song written by American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton in 1973, who first released the song as a single in 1974.-Dolly Parton version:...

", became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With this album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period. The album also makes her the only female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their adjoining soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale
Waiting to Exhale
Waiting to Exhale is a 1995 romance film starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett, directed by Forest Whitaker. The movie was adapted from the 1992 novel of the same name by Terry McMillan. Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon, Dennis Haysbert, Michael Beach, Gregory Hines, Donald Faison and Mykelti...

 (1995) and The Preacher's Wife
The Preacher's Wife
The Preacher's Wife is a 1996 romantic-family-dramedy-christmas film directed by Penny Marshall, and starring Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, and Loretta Devine. It is a remake of the 1947 film The Bishop's Wife....

 (1996). The Preacher's Wife soundtrack would go on to become the best-selling gospel album in history. Three years after the release of her fourth studio album, My Love Is Your Love
My Love Is Your Love
My Love Is Your Love is the fourth studio album by American singer Whitney Houston, released worldwide on November 17, 1998. The album, her first studio album in eight years since I'm Your Baby Tonight, was composed of mid-tempo R&B, hip hop, ballads, urban-dance, reggae, and torch songs, produced...

 (1998), she renewed her recording contract with Arista Records
Arista Records
Arista was an American record label. It was a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment and operated under the RCA Music Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, who formerly worked for CBS Records...

. She released her fifth studio album, Just Whitney
Just Whitney
Just Whitney is the fifth studio album by American recording artist Whitney Houston, released on December 10, 2002 in North America by Arista Records...

, in 2002, and the Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

-themed One Wish: The Holiday Album
One Wish: The Holiday Album
-Credits and personnel:Personnel*Whitney Houston – vocals, vocal arrangement*Julien Barber – viola*Sandra Billingslea – violin*Edie Lehmann Boddicker – background vocals*Joseph Bongiorno – upright bass*Alfred Brown – viola*Carmen Carter – background vocals...

 in 2003. Amid widespread media coverage of personal and professional turmoil, Houston ended her 14-year marriage to singer Bobby Brown
Bobby Brown
Robert Barisford "Bobby" Brown is an American R&B singer-songwriter, occasional rapper, and dancer. After success in pop group New Edition, Brown began his solo career in 1987 and had a string of Top 10 Billboard hits, culminating in a Grammy Award. He was a pioneer of New Jack Swing music, a...

 in 2006. In 2009, Houston released her seventh studio album, I Look to You
I Look to You
I Look to You is the seventh studio album by American R&B-pop singer Whitney Houston. It was first released on August 28, 2009 through Sony Music in Europe, then August 31, 2009 with Arista Records in the United States before being released by RCA Records in the United Kingdom on October 19, 2009...

.

1963–76: Early life


Whitney Houston was born in what was then a middle-income neighbourhood of Newark
Newark, New Jersey
Newark is the largest city in the American state of New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Newark had a population of 277,140, maintaining its status as the largest municipality in New Jersey. It is the 68th largest city in the U.S...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, the third and youngest child of John and gospel singer Cissy Houston
Cissy Houston
Emily "Cissy" Houston is a Grammy Award–winning American soul and gospel singer. She led a very successful career as a backup singer for such artists as Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson, Wishbone Ash and Aretha Franklin, and is now primarily a solo artist...

. She is mostly African-American, with some Native-American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 and Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 ancestry. Her mother, along with cousins Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warwick is an American singer, actress and TV show host, who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health....

 and the late Dee Dee Warwick
Dee Dee Warwick
Dee Dee Warwick was an American soul singer. Born in Newark, New Jersey as Delia Mae Warrick, she was the sister of Dionne Warwick, niece of Cissy Houston and cousin of Whitney Houston....

 and godmother Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All...

 were all notable figures in the gospel, rhythm and blues, pop, and soul
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

 genres. Houston was raised a Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

, but was also exposed to the Pentecostal church. After the 1967 Newark riots
1967 Newark riots
The 1967 Newark riots were a major civil disturbance that occurred in the city of Newark, New Jersey between July 12 and July 17, 1967. The six days of rioting, looting, and destruction left 26 dead and hundreds injured.-Social unrest:...

, the family moved to a middle class area in East Orange, New Jersey
East Orange, New Jersey
East Orange is a city in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census the city's population 64,270, making it the state's 20th largest municipality, having dropped 5,554 residents from its population of 69,824 in the 2000 Census, when it was the state's 14th most...

 when she was four.

At the age of eleven, Houston began to follow in her mother's footsteps and started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she also learned to play the piano. Her first solo performance in the church was "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah".

When Houston was a teenager, she attended a Catholic girls high school, Mount Saint Dominic Academy
Mount Saint Dominic Academy
Mount Saint Dominic Academy is a four-year Catholic college preparatory school for women located in Caldwell, New Jersey, United States, serving students in grades 9-12. The school was founded in 1892 by the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell...

, where she met her best friend Robyn Crawford, whom she describes as the "sister she never had." While Houston was still in school, her mother continued to teach her how to sing. In addition to her mother, Franklin, and Warwick, Houston was also exposed to the music of Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan , frequently known as the Queen of Funk, is a 10-time Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter who gained fame in the 1970s as the frontwoman and focal point of the funk band Rufus. While still a member of the group in 1978, Khan embarked on a successful solo career...

, Gladys Knight
Gladys Knight
Gladys Maria Knight , known as the "Empress of Soul", is an American singer-songwriter, actress, businesswoman, humanitarian, and author...

, and Roberta Flack
Roberta Flack
Roberta Flack is an American singer, songwriter, and musician who is notable for jazz, soul, R&B, and folk music...

, most of whom would have an impact on her as a singer and performer.

1977–84: Early career


Houston spent some of her teenage years touring nightclubs where her mother Cissy was performing, and she would occasionally get on stage and perform with her. In 1977, at age 14, she became a backup singer on the Michael Zager Band's single "Life's a Party". Zager subsequently offered to obtain a recording contract for the young singer, but Cissy declined, wanting her daughter to finish school first. Then in 1978, at age 15, Houston sang background vocals on Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan , frequently known as the Queen of Funk, is a 10-time Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter who gained fame in the 1970s as the frontwoman and focal point of the funk band Rufus. While still a member of the group in 1978, Khan embarked on a successful solo career...

's hit single "I'm Every Woman
I'm Every Woman
"I'm Every Woman" is a hit song recorded by Chaka Khan in 1978. It was Chaka Khan's first hit outside of her recordings with funk band Rufus; the song was included on her platinum debut solo album Chaka. Produced by Arif Mardin and written by successful songwriting team Nickolas Ashford and Valerie...

", a song she would later turn into a larger hit for herself on her monster-selling The Bodyguard soundtrack album. She also sang back-up on albums by Lou Rawls
Lou Rawls
Louis Allen "Lou" Rawls was an American soul, jazz, and blues singer. He was known for his smooth vocal style: Frank Sinatra once said that Rawls had "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game"...

 and Jermaine Jackson
Jermaine Jackson
Jermaine La Jaune Jackson is an American singer, bassist, composer, a member of The Jackson 5, older brother of American pop stars Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson and occasional film director...

. In the early 1980s, Houston started working as a fashion model after a photographer saw her at Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 singing with her mother. She appeared as a lead vocalist on a Paul Jabara
Paul Jabara
Paul Jabara was an American actor, singer, and songwriter of Lebanese ancestry. He wrote Donna Summer's "Last Dance" from Thank God It's Friday and Barbra Streisand's song "The Main Event/Fight" from The Main Event...

 album, entitled Paul Jabara and Friends
Paul Jabara & Friends
Paul Jabara & Friends is a the fourth studio album by American actor, singer and songwriter Paul Jabara. The album includes the multimillion-selling single release "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls, written and produced by Jabara in late 1982...

, released by Columbia Records
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

 in 1983. She appeared in Seventeen
Seventeen (magazine)
Seventeen is an American magazine for teenagers. It was first published in September 1944 by Walter Annenberg's Triangle Publications. News Corporation bought Triangle in 1988, and sold Seventeen to K-III Communications in 1991. Primedia sold the magazine to Hearst in 2003. It is still in the...

 and became one of the first women of color to grace the cover of the magazine. She was also featured in layouts in the pages of Glamour
Glamour (magazine)
Glamour is a women's magazine published by Condé Nast Publications. Founded in 1939 in the United States, it was originally called Glamour of Hollywood....

, Cosmopolitan
Cosmopolitan (magazine)
Cosmopolitan is an international magazine for women. It was first published in 1886 in the United States as a family magazine, was later transformed into a literary magazine and eventually became a women's magazine in the late 1960s...

, Young Miss, and appeared in a Canada Dry
Canada Dry
Canada Dry is a brand of soft drinks owned since 2008 by the Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group. For over a century Canada Dry has been known for its ginger ale, though the company also manufactures a number of other soft drinks and mixers...

 soft drink TV commercial. Her striking looks and girl-next-door charm made her one of the most sought after teen models of that time. While modeling, she continued her burgeoning recording career by working with producers Ben Dover, Bill Laswell
Bill Laswell
Bill Laswell is an American bassist, producer and record label owner....

 and Martin Bisi
Martin bisi
Martin Bisi is an American producer and songwriter.He is known for recording important records by Sonic Youth, Swans, John Zorn, Material, Bill Laswell, Helmet, Unsane, Cop Shoot Cop, White Zombie, Boredoms, Angels of Light and Herbie Hancock's Grammy-winning song Rockit,In 1979, Martin Bisi...

 on an album they were spearheading called One Down, which was credited to the group Material
Material (band)
For the rock band of the same name, see The MaterialMaterial is a musical group formed in 1979 and led by bass guitarist Bill Laswell.-1978-82: The band:...

. For that project, Houston contributed the ballad "Memories". Robert Christgau of The Village Voice
The Village Voice
The Village Voice is a free weekly newspaper and news and features website in New York City that features investigative articles, analysis of current affairs and culture, arts and music coverage, and events listings for New York City...

 called her contribution "one of the most gorgeous ballads you've ever heard."

Houston had previously been offered several recording agencies (Michael Zager in 1980, and Elektra Records
Elektra Records
Elektra Records is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group. In 2004, it was consolidated into WMG's Atlantic Records Group. After five years of dormancy, the label was revived by Atlantic in 2009....

 in 1981). In 1983, Gerry Griffith, an A&R representative from Arista Records
Arista Records
Arista was an American record label. It was a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment and operated under the RCA Music Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, who formerly worked for CBS Records...

 saw her performing with her mother in a New York City nightclub and was impressed. He convinced Arista's head Clive Davis
Clive Davis
Clive Davis is an American record producer and music industry executive. He has won five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. From 1967 to 1973 he was the President of Columbia Records. He was the founder and president of Arista Records from 1975...

 to make time to see Houston perform. Davis too was impressed and offered a worldwide recording contract which Houston signed. Later that year, she made her national televised debut alongside Davis on The Merv Griffin Show
The Merv Griffin Show
The Merv Griffin Show is an American television talk show, starring Merv Griffin. The series ran from October 1, 1962 to March 29, 1963 on NBC, September 20, 1965 to September 26, 1969 in first-run syndication, from August 18, 1969 to February 11, 1972 at 11:30 PM ET weeknights on CBS and again in...

.

Houston signed with Arista in 1983 but did not begin work on her album immediately. The label wanted to make sure no other label signed the singer away. Davis wanted to ensure he had the right material and producers for Houston's debut album. Some producers had to pass on the project due to prior commitments. Houston first recorded a duet with Teddy Pendergrass
Teddy Pendergrass
Theodore DeReese "Teddy" Pendergrass was an American R&B/soul singer and songwriter. Pendergrass first rose to fame as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in the 1970s before a successful solo career at the end of the decade...

 entitled "Hold Me
Hold Me (Teddy Pendergrass & Whitney Houston song)
"Hold Me" is a 1984 duet by Teddy Pendergrass and Whitney Houston released as a single from Pendergrass's album Love Language and Houston's self-titled debut album Whitney Houston...

" which appeared on his album, Love Language
Love Language
Love Language was the ninth album by R&B/Soul crooner Teddy Pendergrass. It was his first record for Asylum Records after being a longtime artist on Philadelphia International Records. It did much better on the Billboard 200 than his last two records, peaking at #38. He had not reached the top...

. The single was released in 1984 and gave Houston her first taste of success, becoming a Top 5 R&B hit. It would also appear on her debut album in 1985.

1985–86: Rise to international prominence


With production from Michael Masser
Michael Masser
Michael Masser , a former stockbroker, is a composer and producer of popular music. He attended the University of Illinois College of Law, but left to pursue his interest in music...

, Kashif
Kashif (musician)
Kashif Saleem is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and record producer.-Career:Kashif became well-known from playing keyboards in the renowned funk band B.T. Express. He played synthesizer bass using the miniMoog while touring with the group...

, Jermaine Jackson
Jermaine Jackson
Jermaine La Jaune Jackson is an American singer, bassist, composer, a member of The Jackson 5, older brother of American pop stars Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson and occasional film director...

, and Narada Michael Walden
Narada Michael Walden
Narada Michael Walden is an American producer, drummer, singer, and songwriter. He was given the name Narada by guru Sri Chinmoy in the early 1970s and his musical career spans three decades, in which he was awarded several gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards...

, Houston's debut album Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston (album)
Whitney Houston is the debut album of American R&B and pop singer Whitney Houston, released March 14, 1985 on Arista Records. The album initially had a slow commercial response but began getting more popular since the summer of 1985...

 was released in February 1985. Rolling Stone magazine praised Houston, calling her "one of the most exciting new voices in years" while The New York Times called the album "an impressive, musically conservative showcase for an exceptional vocal talent." Arista Records promoted Houston's album with three different singles from the album in the US, UK and other European countries. In the UK, the dance-funk "Someone for Me", failed to chart in the country, was the first single while "All at Once
All at Once (Whitney Houston song)
"All at Once" is a song written by Michael Masser and Jeffrey Osborne and recorded by Whitney Houston. It was released as a single in Japan and several European countries in 1986. While it did not receive an official single release domestically , the song did receive significant radio airplay...

" was in such European countries as the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, where the song reached top 5 on the singles charts, respectively. In the US, the soulful Ballad "You Give Good Love
You Give Good Love
"You Give Good Love" is a song by American recording artist Whitney Houston, released as the lead single from her self-titled debut album, entitled Whitney Houston in the United States in February 1985 by Arista Records, and the second single from the album in the United Kingdom. The song was...

" was chosen as the lead single
Lead single
A lead single is usually the first single released by a musician or a band before the release of its home album.During the era of the grammophone record, all music arrived in the marketplace as what is now termed a single, one potential hit song backed by an additional song of generally less...

 from Houston's debut to establish her in the black marketplace first. Outside the US, the song failed to get enough attention to become a hit but in the US, gave the album its first major hit as it peaked at #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on radio play and sales; the tracking-week for sales begins on Monday and ends on Sunday, while the radio play tracking-week runs from Wednesday...

 chart, and #1 on the Hot R&B
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, is a chart released weekly by Billboard in the United States.The chart, initiated in 1942, is used to track the success of popular music songs in urban, or primarily African American, venues. Dominated over the years at various times by jazz, rhythm and blues, doo-wop, soul,...

 chart. As a result, the album began to sell strongly, and Houston continued promotion by touring nightclubs in the US. She also began performing on late-night television talk shows, which were not usually accessible to unestablished black acts. The jazzy ballad "Saving All My Love for You
Saving All My Love for You
"Saving All My Love for You" is a song written by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin with arrangement by Gene Page. It was originally a minor hit for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. in 1978 on their album Marilyn & Billy...

" was released next and it would become Houston's first #1 single in both the US and the UK. She was now an opening act for singer Jeffrey Osborne
Jeffrey Osborne
Jeffrey Linton Osborne is an American funk and R&B musician, songwriter, lyricist, and former lead singer of the band, L.T.D.-Early life and career:...

 on his nationwide tour. "Thinking About You" was released as the promo single only to R&B-oriented radio stations, which peaked at number ten of the US R&B Chart. At the time, MTV had received harsh criticism for not playing enough videos by black, latin, and other racial minorities while favoring white acts. The third US single, "How Will I Know
How Will I Know
"How Will I Know" is a song recorded by American recording artist Whitney Houston for her debut album, entitled Whitney Houston, which was released in February 1985. It was released by Arista Records in November that year, as the album's third single. Composed by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam,...

," peaked at #1 and introduced Houston to the MTV audience thanks to its video. Houston's subsequent singles from this, and future albums, would make her the first African-American female artist to receive consistent heavy rotation on MTV. By 1986, a year after its initial release, Whitney Houston topped the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

 albums chart and stayed there for 14 non-consecutive weeks. The final single, "Greatest Love of All
Greatest Love of All
"The Greatest Love of All" is a song written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed and originally recorded by George Benson for the 1977 Muhammad Ali biopic The Greatest. The song was later popularized by Whitney Houston. Creed wrote the lyrics in the midst of her struggle with breast cancer...

," became Houston's biggest hit at the time after peaking #1 and remaining there for three weeks on the Hot 100 chart, which made her debut the first album by a female artist to yield three #1 hits. Houston was #1 artist of the year and Whitney Houston was the #1 album of the year on 1986 Billboard year-end charts, making her the first female artist to earn that distinction. At the time, Houston released the best-selling debut album by a solo artist. Houston then embarked on her world tour, Greatest Love Tour
Greatest Love Tour
The Greatest Love World Tour was Whitney Houston's first headlining worldwide tour in support of her multi-platinum debut album, Whitney Houston. The tour started at the Merriweather Post Pavilion on July 26, 1986 and was a 4-month venture...

. The album had become an international success, and was certified 13× platinum (diamond) in the United States alone, and has sold a total of 25 million copies worldwide.

At the 1986 Grammy Awards, Houston was nominated for three awards including Album of the Year. She was not eligible for the Best New Artist
Grammy Award for Best New Artist
The Grammy Award for Best New Artist has been awarded since 1959. Years reflect the year in which the Grammy Awards were handed out, for records released in the previous year. The award was not presented in 1967...

 category due to her previous hit R&B duet recording with Teddy Pendergrass in 1984. She won her first Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female
Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
The Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance is the latest in a series of awards recognizing superior vocal performance by a female in the pop category, the first of which was presented in 1959. The award goes to the artist...

 for "Saving All My Love for You". At the same award show, she performed that Grammy-winning hit; that performance later winning her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program
Primetime Emmy Award for Individual Performance In A Variety Or Music Program
This is a list of winners of the Primetime Emmy Award for Individual Performance In A Variety Or Music Program. Awards in this category from 1974 through 1978 were presented for Outstanding Supporting Actor or Actress in A Variety Show or Special...

. Houston won seven American Music Awards
American Music Awards
-Conception:The AMAs were created by Dick Clark in 1973 to compete with the Grammys after the move of that year's show to Nashville, Tennessee led to CBS picking up the Grammy telecasts after its first two in 1971 and 1972 were broadcast on ABC...

 in total in 1986 and 1987, and an MTV Video Music Award. The album's popularity would also carry over to the 1987 Grammy Awards when "Greatest Love of All" would receive a Record of the Year nomination. Houston's debut album is listed as one of Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and on The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

's Definitive 200 list. Whitney Houston's grand entrance into the music industry is considered one of the 25 musical milestones of the last 25 years, according to USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

. Following Houston's breakthrough, doors were opened for other African-American female artists such as Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson
Janet Damita Jo Jackson is an American recording artist and actress. Known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 25 years...

 and Anita Baker
Anita Baker
Anita Baker is an American R&B/soul jazz singer-songwriter. To date, Baker has won eight Grammy Awards, and has four platinum albums and two gold albums to her credit....

 to find notable success in popular music and on MTV.

1987–91: Whitney, I'm Your Baby Tonight and "The Star Spangled Banner"


With many expectations Houston’s second album, Whitney
Whitney (album)
Whitney is the second studio album by American pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston, released in the United States on June 2, 1987 by Arista Records as the follow-up to her best selling debut album, Whitney Houston. The album met the expectations of many people and was sensationally popular after its...

, was released in June 1987. The album again featured production from Masser, Kashif and Walden as well as Jellybean Benitez. Many critics complained that the material was too similar to her previous album. Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

 said, "the narrow channel through which this talent has been directed is frustrating." Still, the album enjoyed commercial success. Houston became the first female artist in music history to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and the first artist to enter the albums chart at number one in both the US and UK, while also hitting number one or top ten in dozens of other countries around the world. The album's first single, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)
"I Wanna Dance with Somebody " is the first single from Whitney Houston's second studio album Whitney. It was produced by Narada Michael Walden, and written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam of the band Boy Meets Girl, who had previously written the number-one Whitney Houston hit "How Will I...

," was also a massive hit worldwide, peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topping the singles chart in many countries such as Australia, Germany and the UK. The next three singles, "Didn't We Almost Have It All
Didn't We Almost Have It All
"Didn't We Almost Have It All" is the second single from Whitney Houston's second album Whitney, and was nominated for Song of the Year at the 1988 Grammy Awards. The song was written by Michael Masser and Will Jennings and was released in August 1987...

," "So Emotional
So Emotional
"So Emotional" is a song recorded by American pop/ R&B singer Whitney Houston. The song was the third single from her second album Whitney, and was released on November 12, 1987....

," and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go
Where Do Broken Hearts Go
"Where Do Broken Hearts Go" is the fourth single from Whitney Houston's second album, Whitney. The ballad was released in February 1988. The song was written by Frank Wildhorn and Chuck Jackson. Wildhorn approached Jackson about the opportunity to write for Whitney Houston...

" all peaked at number one on the US Hot 100 chart, which gave her a total of seven consecutive number one hits, breaking the record of six previously shared by The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 and The Bee Gees. Houston became the first female artist to generate four number-one singles from one albu. Whitney has been certified 9× Platinum in the US for shipments of over 9 million copies, and has sold a total of 20 million copies worldwide.

At the 30th Grammy Awards in 1988, Houston was nominated for three awards, including Album of the Year, winning her second Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)." Houston also won two American Music Awards in 1988 and 1989, respectively, and a Soul Train Music Award. Following the release of the album, Houston embarked on the Moment of Truth World Tour
Moment of Truth World Tour
The Moment of Truth World Tour was the second worldwide tour by American R&B/Pop singer, Whitney Houston. The tour started in North America during the summer of 1987, following the release of her second album Whitney...

, which was one of the ten highest grossing concert tours of 1987. The success of the tours during 1986-87 and her two studio albums ranked Houston #8 for the highest earning entertainers list according to Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

 magazine. She was the highest earning African-American woman overall and the third highest entertainer after Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby
William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr. is an American comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist. A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start at various clubs, then landed a starring role in the 1960s action show, I Spy. He later starred in his own series, the...

 and Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy
Edward Regan "Eddie" Murphy is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, singer, director, and musician....

.

Houston was a supporter of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

 and the anti-apartheid movement. During her modeling days, the singer refused to work with any agencies who did business with the then-apartheid South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

. On June 11, 1988, during the European leg of her tour, Houston joined other musicians to perform a set at Wembley Stadium in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to celebrate a then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday
Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute
The Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute was a popular-music concert staged on June 11, 1988 at Wembley Stadium, London and broadcast to 67 countries and an audience of 600 million. It was also referred to as Freedomfest, Free Nelson Mandela Concert and Mandela Day...

. Over 72,000 people attended Wembley Stadium, and over a billion people tuned in worldwide as the rock concert raised over $1 million for charities while bringing awareness to apartheid. Houston then flew back to the US for a concert at Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in August. The show was a benefit concert that raised a quarter of a million dollars for the United Negro College Fund
United Negro College Fund
The United Negro College Fund is an American philanthropic organization that fundraises college tuition money for black students and general scholarship funds for 39 private historically black colleges and universities. The UNCF was incorporated on April 25, 1944 by Frederick D. Patterson , Mary...

. In the same year, she recorded a song for NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

's coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics
1988 Summer Olympics
The 1988 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad, were an all international multi-sport events celebrated from September 17 to October 2, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. They were the second summer Olympic Games to be held in Asia and the first since the 1964 Summer Olympics...

, "One Moment in Time
One Moment in Time
"One Moment in Time" is an Emmy Award winning song written by Albert Hammond and John Bettis, and recorded by American singer Whitney Houston for the 1988 Summer Olympics and the 1988 Summer Paralympics held in Seoul, South Korea.-History:...

", which became a Top 5 hit in the US, while reaching number one in the UK and Germany. With her world tour continuing overseas, Houston was still one of the top 20 highest earning entertainers for 1987–88 according to Forbes magazine.
In 1989, Houston formed The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, a non-profit organization that has raised funds for the needs of children around the world. The organization cares for homelessness, children with cancer or AIDS, and other issues of self-empowerment. With the success of her first two albums, Houston was undoubtedly an international crossover superstar, the most prominent since Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records...

, appealing to all demographics. However, some black critics believed she was "selling out
Selling out
"Selling out" is the compromising of integrity, morality, or principles in exchange for money or "success" . It is commonly associated with attempts to tailor material to a mainstream audience...

." They felt her singing on record lacked the soul that was present during her live concerts. At the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards
1989 Soul Train Music Awards
The 1989 Soul Train Music Awards aired live in select cities on April 13, 1989 , honoring the best in R&B, soul, rap, jazz, and gospel music from the previous year...

, when Houston's name was called out for a nomination, a few in the audience jeered. Houston defended herself against the criticism, stating, "If you're gonna have a long career, there's a certain way to do it, and I did it that way. I'm not ashamed of it." Houston took a more urban direction with her third studio album, I'm Your Baby Tonight
I'm Your Baby Tonight
I'm Your Baby Tonight is the third studio album by American pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston; released by Arista Records on November 6, 1990. Following the run of this album, Houston continued to achieve widespread commercial success throughout the 1990s, venturing heavily into films—while...

, released in November 1990. She produced and chose producers for this album and as a result, it featured production and collaborations with L.A. Reid and Babyface, Luther Vandross
Luther Vandross
Luther Ronzoni Vandross was an American singer-songwriter and record producer. During his career, Vandross sold over twenty-five million albums and won eight Grammy Awards including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance four times...

, and Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Morris , better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and activist...

. The album showed Houston's versatility on a new batch of tough rhythmic grooves, soulful ballads and up-tempo dance tracks. Reviews were mixed. Rolling Stone felt it was her "best and most integrated album". while Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly is an American magazine, published by the Time division of Time Warner, that covers film, television, music, broadway theatre, books and popular culture...

, at the time thought Houston's shift towards an urban direction was "superficial". The album contained several hits: the first two singles, "I'm Your Baby Tonight
I'm Your Baby Tonight (song)
"I'm Your Baby Tonight" is the lead single and title track from Whitney Houston's third studio album of the same name. The song was written and produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface. The single features a B-side, "Feels So Good", which has not been featured on any Whitney Houston album. While L.A...

" and "All the Man That I Need
All the Man That I Need
"All the Man That I Need" is a song written by American songwriters Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore. The song was first recorded under the name "All the man I need" by singer Linda Clifford, in 1982, for her album I'll Keep on Loving You. Pitchford and Gore had in mind Clifford and her husband...

" peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; "Miracle" peaked at number nine; "My Name Is Not Susan
My Name Is Not Susan
"My Name Is Not Susan" was the fourth single released from Whitney Houston's third album, I'm Your Baby Tonight. The song was produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface and written by Eric Foster White...

" peaked in the top twenty; "I Belong to You
I Belong to You (Whitney Houston song)
"I Belong to You" is the fifth single released from Whitney Houston's multi-platinum third album I'm Your Baby Tonight. It was written by Derek Bramble and Franne Golde...

" reached the top ten of the US R&B chart and garnered Houston a Grammy nomination; and the sixth single, the Stevie Wonder duet "We Didn't Know
We Didn't Know
"We Didn't Know" is a mid-tempo duet by Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder, and was released as the sixth and final single from Houston's third album I'm Your Baby Tonight. The single peaked at number 20 on Billboards R&B Singles chart...

", reached the R&B top twenty. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and went on to be certified 4× platinum in the US while selling twelve million total worldwide.

With America entagled in the Persian Gulf War, Houston performed "The Star Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXV
Super Bowl XXV
Super Bowl XXV was an American football game played on January 27, 1991 at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida to decide the National Football League champion following the 1990 regular season. The National Football Conference Champion New York Giants defeated the American Football Conference ...

 on January 27, 1991. Due to overwhelming response to her rendition, it was released as a commercial single and video of her performance, and reached the Top 20 on the US Hot 100, making her the only act to turn the national anthem into a pop hit of that magnitude (Jose Feliciano
José Feliciano
José Feliciano is a Puerto Rican singer, virtuoso guitarist and composer known for many international hits including the 1970 holiday single "Feliz Navidad".-Childhood:...

's version reached #50 in November 1968). Houston donated all her share of the proceeds to the American Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross , also known as the American National Red Cross, is a volunteer-led, humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. It is the designated U.S...

. As a result, the singer was named to the Red Cross Board of Governors. Her rendition was considered the benchmark for singers and critically acclaimed. Rolling Stone commented that "her singing stirs such strong patriotism. Unforgettable," ranked #1 on the 25 most memorable music moments in NFL history list. VH1 listed the performance as one of the greatest moments that rocked TV. Later that year, Houston put together her Welcome Home Heroes
Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney Houston
Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney Houston, was Whitney Houston's first ever solo televised concert and DVD/video release. The DVD/video presents Houston performing live at the Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Virginia on March 31, 1991. The video was originally released on May 14, 1991, and the DVD was...

 concert with HBO for the soldiers fighting in the Persian Gulf War and their families. The free concert took place at Naval Station Norfolk
Naval Station Norfolk
Naval Station Norfolk, in Norfolk, Virginia, is a base of the United States Navy, supporting naval forces in the United States Fleet Forces Command, those operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Indian Ocean...

 in Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

 in front of 3,500 servicemen and women. HBO descrambled the concert so that it was free for everyone to watch. Houston's concert gave HBO its highest ratings ever. She then embarked on the I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour
I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour
The I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour was a concert tour of arenas by American pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston that included 101 concert dates in North America and Europe in 1991.-History:...

.

1992–94: Marriage to Bobby Brown and The Bodyguard


Throughout the 1980s, Houston was romantically linked to American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 star Randall Cunningham
Randall Cunningham
Randall W. Cunningham is a former American football quarterback.After playing college football at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he was selected in the second round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, with whom he remained through the 1995 season...

 and actor Eddie Murphy, whom she dated. She then met R&B singer Bobby Brown
Bobby Brown
Robert Barisford "Bobby" Brown is an American R&B singer-songwriter, occasional rapper, and dancer. After success in pop group New Edition, Brown began his solo career in 1987 and had a string of Top 10 Billboard hits, culminating in a Grammy Award. He was a pioneer of New Jack Swing music, a...

 at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. After a three year courtship, the two were married on July 18, 1992. Nearly a year later, Houston gave birth to their daughter Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, her first and only child, his fourth. Brown would go on to have several run-ins with the law, including some jail time.

With the commercial success of her albums, movie offers poured in, including offers to work with Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro, Jr. is an American actor, director and producer. His first major film roles were in Bang the Drum Slowly and Mean Streets, both in 1973...

, Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
Quincy Delightt Jones, Jr. is an American record producer and musician. A conductor, musical arranger, film composer, television producer, and trumpeter. His career spans five decades in the entertainment industry and a record 79 Grammy Award nominations, 27 Grammys, including a Grammy Legend...

, and Spike Lee
Spike Lee
Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee is an American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, has produced over 35 films since 1983....

; but Houston felt the time wasn't right. Houston’s first film role was in The Bodyguard
The Bodyguard
The Bodyguard is a 1992 American romantic-thriller film starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Costner stars as a former Secret Service Agent turned bodyguard who is hired to protect Houston's character, a music star, from an unknown stalker. Lawrence Kasdan wrote the film in the 1970s,...

, released in 1992 and co-starring Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner
Kevin Michael Costner is an American actor, singer, musician, producer, director, and businessman. He has been nominated for three BAFTA Awards, won two Academy Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards. Costner's roles include Lt. John J...

. Houston played Rachel Marron, a star who is stalked by a crazed fan and hires a bodyguard to protect her. USA Today listed it as one of the 25 most memorable movie moments of the last 25 years in 2007. The movie is also notable for not mentioning or needing to explain its interracial aspect. Houston's mainstream appeal allowed people to look at the movie color-blind. Still, controversy arose as some felt the film's ads intentionally hid Houston's face to hide the film's interracial aspect. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1993, the singer commented that "people know who Whitney Houston is—I'm black. You can't hide that fact." Houston received a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress. The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

 said Houston is "doing nothing more than playing Houston, comes out largely unscathed if that is possible in so cockamamie an undertaking", and The New York Times commented she lacked passion with her co-star. Despite the film's mixed reviews, it was hugely successful at the box office, grossing more than $121 million in the U.S. and $410 million worldwide, making it one of the top 100 grossing films in film history at its time of release, though it is no longer in the top 100 due to rising current ticket prices since the time the film was released.

The film's soundtrack also enjoyed big success. Houston executive produced and contributed six songs for the motion picture's adjoining soundtrack album. Rolling Stone said it is "nothing more than pleasant, tasteful and urbane." The soundtrack's lead single was "I Will Always Love You," written and originally recorded by Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton
Dolly Rebecca Parton is an American singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress and philanthropist, best known for her work in country music. Dolly Parton has appeared in movies like 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias and Straight Talk...

 in 1974. Houston's version of the song was acclaimed by many critics, regarding it as her "signature song" or "iconic performance." Rolling Stone and USA Today called her rendition "the tour-de-force." The single peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for a then-record-breaking 14 weeks, number one on the R&B chart for a then-record-breaking 11 weeks, and number one on the Adult Contemporary charts for five weeks, thus becoming the first single to top those three charts simultaneously for five weeks. The single was certified 4× platinum by the RIAA, making Houston the first female artist with a single to reach that level in the RIAA history and becoming the best-selling single by a female artist in the US.
The song also became a global success, hitting number-one in almost all countries, and one of the best-selling singles of all time with 12 million copies sold. The soundtrack topped the Billboard 200 chart and remained there for 20 non-consecutive weeks, the longest tenure by any album on the chart in the Nielsen SoundScan era, and became one of the fastest selling albums ever. During Christmas week of 1992, the soundtrack sold over a million copies within a week, becoming the first album to achieve that feat under Nielsen SoundScan
Nielsen SoundScan
Nielsen SoundScan is an information and sales tracking system created by Mike Fine and Mike Shalett. Soundscan is the official method of tracking sales of music and music video products throughout the United States and Canada...

 system. With the follow-up singles "I'm Every Woman", a Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan , frequently known as the Queen of Funk, is a 10-time Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter who gained fame in the 1970s as the frontwoman and focal point of the funk band Rufus. While still a member of the group in 1978, Khan embarked on a successful solo career...

 cover, and "I Have Nothing
I Have Nothing
"I Have Nothing" is a song by American singer Whitney Houston and released as the third single from The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album on February 20, 1993 by Arista Records. The song was written by David Foster and Linda Thompson, and produced by Foster...

" both reaching the top five, Houston became the first female artist to ever have three singles in the Top 11 simultaneously. The album was certified 17× platinum in the US alone, with worldwide sales of 44 million, making The Bodyguard the only album by a female act on the list of the world's Top 10 best-selling albums. Houston won three Grammys for the album in 1994, including two of the Academy's highest honors, Album of the Year and Record of the Year. In addition, she won a record 8 American Music Awards at that year's ceremony including the Award of Merit, 11 Billboard Music Awards, 3 Soul Train Music Awards
Soul Train Music Awards
The Soul Train Music Awards is an annual award show which previously aired in national television syndication, and honors the best in Black music and entertainment...

 in 1993-94 including Sammy Davis, Jr. Award as Entertainer of the Year, 5 NAACP Image Awards including Entertainer of the Year
NAACP Image Award for Entertainer of the Year
The NAACP Image Award winners for Entertainer of the Year:...

, a record 5 World Music Awards
World Music Awards
The World Music Awards is an international awards show founded in 1989 that annually honors recording artists based on worldwide sales figures provided by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry . John Martinotti is an executive producer and co-founder of the show...

, and a BRIT award
1994 BRIT Awards
The 1994 BRIT Awards were the 14th edition of the biggest annual pop music awards in the United Kingdom. They are run by the British Phonographic Industry and took place on 14th February 1994 at Alexandra Palace in London.-Live performers:...

. Following the success of the project, Houston embarked on another expansive golbal tour, The Bodyguard World Tour, in 1993-94. Her concerts, movie, and recording grosses made her the third highest earning female entertainer of 1993–94, just behind Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011...

 and Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, actress, film producer and director. She has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Peabody Award, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy,...

 according to Forbes magazine. Houston placed in the top five of Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly is an American magazine, published by the Time division of Time Warner, that covers film, television, music, broadway theatre, books and popular culture...

s annual "Entertainer of the Year" ranking and was labeled by Premiere
Premiere (magazine)
Premiere was an American and New York City-based film magazine published by Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., published between the years 1987 and 2007. The original version of the magazine, Première , was started in France in 1976 and is still being published there.-History:The magazine originally...

 magazine as one of the 100 most powerful people in Hollywood.

In October 1994, Houston attended and performed at a state dinner in the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 honoring newly elected South African president Nelson Mandela. At the end of her world tour, Houston performed three concerts in South Africa to honor President Mandela, playing to over 200,000 people. This would make the singer the first major musician to visit the newly unified and apartheid free nation following Mandela's winning election. The concert was broadcast live on HBO with funds of the concerts being donated to various charities in South Africa. The event was considered the nation's "biggest media event since the inauguration of Nelson Mandela."

1995–97: Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher's Wife and Cinderella


In 1995, Houston starred alongside Angela Bassett
Angela Bassett
Angela Evelyn Bassett is an American actress. She has become well known for her biographical film roles portraying real life women in African American culture, including singer Tina Turner in the motion picture What's Love Got to Do with It, as well as Betty Shabazz in the films Malcolm X and...

, Loretta Devine
Loretta Devine
Loretta Devine is an American stage, film and television actress known for her roles on Boston Public, Grey's Anatomy, and Eli Stone. She also provided her voice for the stop motion animated television series The PJs. Devine is a NAACP Image Award and Emmy award winning actress.-Early life:Devine...

, and Lela Rochon
Lela Rochon
Lela Rochon is an American actress who is best known for her role as Robin Stokes in the movie Waiting to Exhale....

 in her second film Waiting to Exhale
Waiting to Exhale
Waiting to Exhale is a 1995 romance film starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett, directed by Forest Whitaker. The movie was adapted from the 1992 novel of the same name by Terry McMillan. Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon, Dennis Haysbert, Michael Beach, Gregory Hines, Donald Faison and Mykelti...

, a motion picture about four African-American women struggling with relationships. Houston plays the lead character Savannah Jackson, a TV producer in love with a married man. She chose the role because she saw the film as "a breakthrough for the image of black women because it presents them both as professionals and as caring mothers". After opening at number one and grossing $67 million in the US at the box office and $81 million worldwide, it proved that a movie primarily targeting a black audience can cross over to success, while paving the way for other all-black movies such as How Stella Got Her Groove Back
How Stella Got Her Groove Back
How Stella Got Her Groove Back is a 1998 romance film, directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan. The film stars Angela Bassett, Taye Diggs, Whoopi Goldberg and Regina King. This film is an adaptation of Terry McMillan's bestselling novel by the same title...

 and the Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry is an American actor, director, playwright, entrepreneur, screenwriter, producer, author, and songwriter. Perry wrote and produced many stage plays during the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2005, he released his first film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman...

 movies that have become popular in the 2000s. The film is also notable for its portrayal of black women as strong middle class citizens as opposed to stereotypes. The reviews were mainly positive for the ensemble cast. The New York Times said "Ms. Houston has shed the defensive hauteur that made her portrayal of a pop star in 'The Bodyguard' seem so distant." Houston was nominated for an NAACP Image Award
NAACP Image Award
An NAACP Image Award is an accolade presented by the American National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor outstanding people of color in film, television, music, and literature....

 for "Outstanding Actress In A Motion Picture," but lost to her co-star Bassett.

The film's accompanying soundtrack, Waiting to Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album, was produced by Houston and Babyface. Though Babyface originally wanted Houston to record the entire album, she declined. Instead, she "wanted it to be an album of women with vocal distinction", and thus gathered several African-American female artists for the soundtrack, to go along with the film's strong women message. As a result, the album featured a range of contemporary R&B female recording artists along with Houston, such as Mary J Blige, Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All...

, Toni Braxton
Toni Braxton
Toni Michelle Braxton is an American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. Braxton has won six Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and five Billboard Music Awards and has sold over 60 million records worldwide...

, Patti Labelle
Patti LaBelle
Patricia Louise Holte-Edwards , better known under the stage name, Patti LaBelle, is a Grammy Award winning American singer, author and actress who has spent over 50 years in the music industry...

, and Brandy
Brandy Norwood
Brandy Rayana Norwood , known professionally as Brandy, is an American singer-songwriter, producer, actress, and dancer. In 2009, she introduced her rap alter-ego Bran'Nu....

. Houston's "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
"Exhale " is a song by American recording artist Whitney Houston, featured on the soundtrack for the film Waiting to Exhale. It was released as the lead single from the soundtrack on November 7, 1995, by Arista Records. The song was written and produced by Babyface...

" peaked at #1, and then spent a record eleven weeks at the #2 spot and eight weeks on top of the R&B Charts. "Count On Me", a duet with CeCe Winans
CeCe Winans
Priscilla "CeCe" Marie Winans Love is an American Gospel singer, who has won numerous Grammy and Stellar Awards.-Early life:CeCe Winans was born in Detroit, Michigan, to David and Delores Winans, on October 8, 1964...

, hit the US Top 10; and Houston's third contribution, "Why Does It Hurt So Bad
Why Does It Hurt So Bad
"Why Does It Hurt So Bad" is a song recorded by American singer Whitney Houston for the 1995 film Waiting to Exhale. It was released on July 7, 1996, by Arista Records as the seventh and final single from the accompanying soundtrack. The song was written and produced solely by Babyface...

", made the Top 30. The album debuted at #1, and was certified 7× Platinum in the United States, denoting shipments of seven million copies. The soundtrack received strong reviews as Entertainment Weekly said "the album goes down easy, just as you'd expect from a package framed by Whitney Houston tracks.... the soundtrack waits to exhale, hovering in sensuous suspense" and has since ranked it as one of the 100 Best Movie Soundtracks. Newsday called it "the most significant R&B record of the decade." Later that year, Houston's children's charity organization was awarded a VH1 Honor for all the charitable work

In 1996, Houston starred in the holiday comedy The Preacher's Wife
The Preacher's Wife
The Preacher's Wife is a 1996 romantic-family-dramedy-christmas film directed by Penny Marshall, and starring Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, and Loretta Devine. It is a remake of the 1947 film The Bishop's Wife....

, with Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington
Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. is an American actor, screenwriter, director, and film producer. He first rose to prominence when he joined the cast of the medical drama, St. Elsewhere, playing Dr...

. She plays a gospel-singing wife of a pastor (Courtney B. Vance
Courtney B. Vance
Courtney Bernard Vance is an American actor. He was formerly a regular on the NBC/USA television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver. He was also a series regular on the ABC series FlashForward. As of 2011, he appears on the TNT series The Closer as Chief...

). Houston earned $10 million for the role, making her one of the highest paid actress in Hollywood at the time and the highest earning African American actress in Hollywood. The movie, with its all African-American cast, was a moderate success, earning approximately $50 million at the U.S. box offices. The movie gave Houston her strongest reviews so far. The San Francisco Chronicle said Houston "is rather angelic herself, displaying a divine talent for being virtuous and flirtatious at the same time" and that she "exudes gentle yet spirited warmth, especially when praising the Lord in her gorgeous singing voice." Houston was again nominated for an NAACP Image Award
NAACP Image Award
An NAACP Image Award is an accolade presented by the American National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor outstanding people of color in film, television, music, and literature....

 and won for Outstanding Actress In A Motion Picture.

Houston recorded and co-produced, with Mervyn Warren, the film's accompanying gospel soundtrack. The Preacher's Wife: Original Soundtrack Album included six gospel songs with Georgia Mass Choir
Georgia Mass Choir
-Early years:The ensemble, which numbers 150 members, was founded in 1983 by Rev. Milton Biggham, the lead vocalist and songwriter for the group. He put together the group from over 600 applicants, and recorded with them on his label Savoy Records in the middle of the decade...

 that were recorded at the Great Star Rising Baptist Church in Atlanta. Houston also duetted with gospel legend Shirley Caesar
Shirley Caesar
Shirley Ann Caesar is an American Gospel music singer, songwriter and recording artist whose career has spanned six decades...

. The album sold six million copies worldwide and scored hit singles with "I Believe in You and Me
I Believe in You and Me
"I Believe in You and Me" is a ballad written by Sandy Linzer and David Wolfert. The song was first recorded and released by the R&B group The Four Tops in 1983. The song was written by Linzer and Wolfert in 1982, and the Four Tops released it as a single in 1983...

" and "Step by Step
Step by Step (Annie Lennox song)
"Step by Step" is a song written and originally recorded by singer Annie Lennox, later a cross over pop hit by R&B/pop singer Whitney Houston. The song served as the second single from Houston's 1996 soundtrack album, The Preacher's Wife...

", becoming the largest selling gospel album of all time. The album received mainly positive reviews. Some critics, such as that of USA Today, noted the presence of her emotional depth, while The UK Times said "To hear Houston going at full throttle with the 35 piece Georgia Mass Choir struggling to keep up is to realise what her phenomenal voice was made for."

In 1997, Houston's production company changed its name to BrownHouse Productions and was joined by Debra Martin Chase
Debra Martin Chase
Debra Martin Chase is a Hollywood producer and former lawyer who was named by Savoy magazine in August 2003 as one of the 100 most influential African Americans in the United States and by Black Enterprise magazine in 2007 as one of the Top 50 Powerbrokers in Hollywood. Chase is the first African...

. Their goal was "to show aspects of the lives of African-Americans that have not been brought to the screen before" while improving how African-Americans are portrayed in film and television. Their first project was a made-for-television remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. In addition to co-producing, Houston starred in the movie as the Fairy Godmother along with Brandy
Brandy Norwood
Brandy Rayana Norwood , known professionally as Brandy, is an American singer-songwriter, producer, actress, and dancer. In 2009, she introduced her rap alter-ego Bran'Nu....

, Jason Alexander
Jason Alexander
Jay Scott Greenspan , better known by his professional name of Jason Alexander, is an American actor, writer, comedian, television director, producer, and singer. He is best known for his role as George Costanza on the television series Seinfeld, appearing in the sitcom from 1989 to 1998...

, Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg is an American comedian, actress, singer-songwriter, political activist, author and talk show host.Goldberg made her film debut in The Color Purple playing Celie, a mistreated black woman in the Deep South. She received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won...

, and Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters is an American actress, singer and children's book author from Ozone Park, Queens, New York. Over the course of a career that has spanned five decades, she has starred in musical theatre, films and television, as well as performing in solo concerts and recordings...

. Houston was initially offered the role of Cinderella in 1993, but other projects intervened. The film is notable for its multi-racial cast and nonstereotypical message. An estimated 60 million viewers tuned into the special giving ABC its highest TV ratings in 16 years. The movie received seven Emmy nominations including Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy, while winning Outstanding Art Direction in a Variety, Musical or Comedy Special.

Houston and Chase then obtained the rights to the story of Dorothy Dandridge
Dorothy Dandridge
Dorothy Jean Dandridge was an American actress and popular singer, and was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress...

. Houston was to play Dandridge, who was the first African American actress to be nominated for an Oscar. She wanted the story told with dignity and honor. However, Halle Berry
Halle Berry
Halle Berry is an American actress and a former fashion model. Berry received an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, and an NAACP Image Award for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and won an Academy Award for Best Actress and was nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2001 for her performance in Monster's Ball, becoming...

 also had rights to the project and she got her version going first. Later that year, Houston paid tribute to her idols such as Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All...

, Diana Ross
Diana Ross
Diana Ernestine Earle Ross is an American singer, record producer, and actress. Ross was lead singer of the Motown group The Supremes during the 1960s. After leaving the group in 1970, Ross began a solo career that included successful ventures into film and Broadway...

, and Dionne Warwick by performing their hits during the three-night HBO Concert Classic Whitney
Classic Whitney Live from Washington, D.C.
Classic Whitney, Live from Washington, D.C., were special live concerts by Whitney Houston featuring many of her greatest hits, as well as gospel favorites and songs saluting some of her influences including Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross. The concerts were held at historic DAR...

, live from Washington, D.C. The special raised over $300,000 for the Children's Defense Fund. Houston received The Quincy Jones Award
Soul Train Music Award for Quincy Jones Award for Career Achievement
The Soul Train Music Award winners for Quincy Jones Award for Career Achievement see also, Soul Train Music Award for Heritage Award - Career Achievement...

 for outstanding career achievements in the field of entertainment at the 12th Soul Train Music Awards
1998 Soul Train Music Awards
The 12th Annual Soul Train Music Awards were held on February 27, 1998 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA. Puff Daddy was the top nominee with five nominations, other top nominess included Janet Jackson, Aaliyah and Maxwell....

.

1998–2000: My Love Is Your Love and Whitney: The Greatest Hits


After spending much of the early and mid 1990s working on motion pictures and their adjacent soundtrack albums, Houston's first studio album in eight years, the critically acclaimed My Love Is Your Love
My Love Is Your Love
My Love Is Your Love is the fourth studio album by American singer Whitney Houston, released worldwide on November 17, 1998. The album, her first studio album in eight years since I'm Your Baby Tonight, was composed of mid-tempo R&B, hip hop, ballads, urban-dance, reggae, and torch songs, produced...

, was released in November 1998. Though originally slated to be a greatest hits album with a handful of new songs, recording sessions were so fruitful that a new full-length studio album was released. Recorded and mixed in only six weeks, it featured production from Rodney Jerkins
Rodney Jerkins
Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins is an American songwriter, record producer, and musician. Jerkins received two Grammy nominations in 2011.-Biography:...

, Wyclef Jean
Wyclef Jean
Wyclef Jean is a Haitian musician, record producer, and politician. At age nine, Jean moved to the United States with his family and has spent much of his life in the country...

 and Missy Elliott
Missy Elliott
Melissa Arnette "Missy" Elliott , is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer, and actressA five-time Grammy Award winner, Elliott, with record sales of over seven million in the United States, is the only female rapper to have five albums certified platinum by the RIAA, including one...

. The album debuted at number thirteen, its peak position, on the Billboard 200 chart. It had a funkier and edgier sound than past releases and saw Houston handling urban dance, hip hop
Hip hop music
Hip hop music, also called hip-hop, rap music or hip-hop music, is a musical genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted...

, mid-tempo R&B, reggae
Reggae
Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broader sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady.Reggae is based...

, torch song
Torch song
A torch song is a sentimental love song, typically one in which the singer laments an unrequited or lost love, either where one party is oblivious to the existence of the other, where one party has moved on, or where a romantic affair has affected the relationship...

s, and ballads all with great dexterity. From late 1998 to spring of 2000, the album spawned several hit singles: "When You Believe
When You Believe
"When You Believe" is an Academy Award-winning song by American recording artists Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. The song was written and composed by Stephen Schwartz for the 1998 DreamWorks animated feature The Prince of Egypt. A version of "When You Believe" was produced as a single with...

" (US #15, UK #4), a duet with Mariah Carey for 1998's The Prince of Egypt
The Prince of Egypt
The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 American animated musical drama film and the first traditionally animated film produced and released by DreamWorks Animation. The film is an adaptation of the Book of Exodus and follows the life of Moses from being a prince of Egypt to his ultimate destiny to lead the...

 soundtrack, it also became an international hit as it peaked in the Top 10 in several countries and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song; "Heartbreak Hotel
Heartbreak Hotel (Whitney Houston song)
"Heartbreak Hotel" is a song by American R&B/Pop singer Whitney Houston. It was released as the second but official lead single from her 1998 album My Love Is Your Love. The song also features R&B singers Faith Evans and Kelly Price accompanying her...

" (US #2, UK# 25) featured Faith Evans
Faith Evans
Faith Renée Evans is an American singer-songwriter, recording artist, record producer, actress and author. Born in Florida and raised in New Jersey, Evans relocated to Los Angeles during 1993 for a career with the music business. After working as a backing vocalist for Al B...

 and Kelly Price
Kelly Price
Kelly Price is an American R&B and soul singer, formerly on the Def Soul label.-Life and music career:Kelly Cherelle Price was born in Queens, New York. She was first discovered by Mariah Carey in February 1992 and subsequently introduced to Sony Columbia's then CEO Tommy Mottola...

, got a 1999 MTV VMA
1999 MTV Video Music Awards
The 1999 MTV Video Music Awards aired live on September 9, 1999, honoring the best music videos from June 13, 1998, to June 11, 1999. The show was hosted by Chris Rock at Metropolitan Opera House in New York City....

 nomination for Best R&B Video, and number one on the US R&B chart for seven weeks; "It's Not Right But It's Okay
It's Not Right but It's Okay
"It's Not Right but It's Okay" is a 1999 R&B/dance song by American singer Whitney Houston, from her fourth studio album My Love Is Your Love. Initially featured as the B-Side of "Heartbreak Hotel," it became the album's third single and peaked at #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart on...

" (US #4, UK #3) won Houston her sixth Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
The Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance was an honor presented at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards, to female recording artists for quality R&B songs...

; "My Love Is Your Love
My Love Is Your Love (song)
"My Love Is Your Love" is a 1999 song by American R&B singer Whitney Houston. Released as the fourth single off Houston's album of the same name, it peaked at #4 in the U.S., #2 on the U.S. R&B chart, and #2 in the U.K...

" (US #4, UK #2) with 3 million copies sold worldwide; and "I Learned from the Best
I Learned from the Best
"I Learned from the Best" is a 1999 single from American R&B/Pop singer Whitney Houston; the fifth and final single from Houston's multi-platinum 1998 album My Love Is Your Love. The ballad became a moderate hit, peaking at number twenty-seven on the US Hot 100. Dance remixes of the song by Hex...

" (US #27, UK #19). These singles became international hits as well, and all the singles, except "When You Believe," became number one hits on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play chart. The album sold four million copies in America, certified 4× platinum, and a total of eleven million worldwide. The album gave Houston some of her strongest reviews ever. Rolling Stone said Houston was singing "with a bite in her voice" and The Village Voice called it "Whitney's sharpest and most satisfying so far". In 1999, Houston participated in VH-1's Divas Live '99
VH1 Divas
In 1998, VH1 debuted the first annual VH1 Divas concert. VH1 Divas Live was created to support the channel's Save The Music Foundation and subsequent concerts in the series have also benefited that foundation. The VH1 Divas concerts aired annually from 1998 to 2004. After a five year hiatus, the...

, alongside Brandy
Brandy Norwood
Brandy Rayana Norwood , known professionally as Brandy, is an American singer-songwriter, producer, actress, and dancer. In 2009, she introduced her rap alter-ego Bran'Nu....

, Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige
Mary Jane Blige is an American singer-songwriter, record producer and occasional actress. She is a recipient of nine Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards, and has recorded eight multi-platinum albums. She is the only artist with Grammy Award wins in Pop, Rap, Gospel, and R&B. Blige has...

, Tina Turner
Tina Turner
Tina Turner is an American singer and actress whose career has spanned more than 50 years. She has won numerous awards and her achievements in the rock music genre have led many to call her the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll".Turner started out her music career with husband Ike Turner as a member of the...

, and Cher
Cher
Cher is an American recording artist, television personality, actress, director, record producer and philanthropist. Referred to as the Goddess of Pop, she has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globes and a Cannes Film Festival Award among others for her work in...

. The same year, Houston hit the road with her 70 date My Love Is Your Love World Tour
My Love Is Your Love World Tour
-Additional notes:*During opening night, June 22nd in Chicago, IL; after Houston performed "I Will Always Love You" she closed the show with two encore's, "My Love Is Your Love" and "Step by Step"...

. The European leg of the tour was Europe's highest grossing arena tour of the year. In November 1999, Houston was named Top-selling R&B Female Artist of the Century with certified US sales of 51 million copies at the time and The Bodyguard Soundtrack was Top-selling Soundtrack Album of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America
Recording Industry Association of America
The Recording Industry Association of America is a trade organization that represents the recording industry distributors in the United States...

 (RIAA). She also won The Artist of the Decade, Female award for extraordinary artistic contributions during the 1990s at the 14th Soul Train Music Awards
2000 Soul Train Music Awards
The 2000 Annual Soul Train Music Awards were held on March 4, 2000 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The show was co-hosted by Eric Benét, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Tamia, and Shemar Moore.-Artist of the Decade for Extraordinary Artistic Achievements-Male:...

, and an MTV Europe Music Award
MTV Europe Music Awards 1999
The 1999 MTV Europe Music Awards was held in Dublin at The Point with Ronan Keating returning as host. The all-star line-up included Mariah Carey performing "Heartbreaker", Britney Spears performing "...Baby One More Time" and " Crazy" and picking up four awards...

 for Best R&B.

In May 2000, Whitney: The Greatest Hits
Whitney: The Greatest Hits
-International edition:-Whitney: The Unreleased Mixes:Whitney: The Unreleased Mixes is a limited-edition four-record vinyl set, containing eight full club versions of selected remixes found on the American release...

 was released worldwide. The double disc set peaked at number five in the United States and reached number one in the United Kingdom. In addition, the album reached the Top 10 in many other countries. While ballad songs were left unchanged, the album is notable for featuring house
House music
House music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago, Illinois, United States in the early 1980s. It was initially popularized in mid-1980s discothèques catering to the African-American, Latino American, and gay communities; first in Chicago circa 1984, then in other...

/club remixes of many of Houston's up-tempo hits, in place of their original version. Also included on the album were four new songs: "Could I Have This Kiss Forever
Could I Have This Kiss Forever
"Could I Have This Kiss Forever" is a 2000 duet from singers Whitney Houston and Enrique Iglesias, written by Diane Warren. The song first appeared on Iglesias's debut English-language album Enrique as a slow Latin styled ballad...

" (a duet with Enrique Iglesias
Enrique Iglesias
Enrique Iglesias is a Spanish pop music singer, a son of singer Julio Iglesias.Enrique started his musical career on Mexican label Fonovisa...

), "Same Script, Different Cast
Same Script, Different Cast
"Same Script, Different Cast" is a duet between R&B singers Whitney Houston and Deborah Cox. Released as a single in 2000, the song features Houston playing the former lover of Cox's current boyfriend. Houston warns Cox of his hurtful ways, though Cox refuses to acknowledge it.The song...

" (a duet with Deborah Cox
Deborah Cox
Deborah Cox is a Canadian R&B singer-songwriter and actress. Her 1998 song "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" held the record for longest-running number one single on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart , a record held for nearly eight years. She has achieved ten number-one hits on...

), "If I Told You That
If I Told You That
"If I Told You That" is a 2000 duet by American singer Whitney Houston and British singer George Michael, and is the second single from Houston's Whitney: The Greatest Hits album. The song first appeared on Houston's 1998 multi-platinum My Love Is Your Love album, where she sang it solo...

" (a duet with George Michael
George Michael
George Michael is a British musician, singer, songwriter and record producer who rose to fame in the 1980s when he formed the pop duo Wham! with his school friend, Andrew Ridgeley...

), and "Fine
Fine (song)
"Fine" is a song by American R&B singer Whitney Houston, and was the fourth single from her 2000 compilation album, Whitney: The Greatest Hits. The song peaked at number fifty-one on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart....

," and three hits that have never actually appeared on a Houston album: "One Moment in Time," "The Star Spangled Banner," and "If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful," a duet with Jermaine Jackson from his 1986 Precious Moments
Precious Moments (album)
Precious Moments is a solo album from Jackson 5 member, Jermaine Jackson. Released in 1986, the album includes the pop and R&B top-20 hit, "I Think It's Love" along with the minor hit, "Do You Remember Me."...

 album. Along with the album, an accompanying VHS and DVD was released featuring the music videos to Houston's greatest hits, as well as several hard-to-find live performances including her 1983 debut on The Merv Griffin Show, and interviews. The greatest hits album was certified 3× platinum in the US, with worldwide sales of 10 million.

2000–05: Just Whitney, and personal struggles


Though Houston was seen as a "good girl" with a perfect image in the '80s and early '90s, by the late '90s, her behavior changed. She was often hours late for interviews, photo shoots and rehearsals, and canceling concerts and talk-show appearances. With the missed performances and weight loss, rumors about Houston using drugs with her husband circulated. On January 11, 2000, airport security guards discovered marijuana in both Houston's and husband Bobby Brown's luggage at a Hawaii airport, but the two boarded the plane and departed before authorities could arrive. Charges were later dropped against her and Brown, but rumors of drug usage between the couple would continue to surface. Two months later, Clive Davis was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Houston had been scheduled to perform at the event, but did not attend. Shortly thereafter, Houston was scheduled to perform at the Academy Awards but was fired from the event by musical director and long time friend Burt Bacharach
Burt Bacharach
Burt F. Bacharach is an American pianist, composer and music producer. He is known for his popular hit songs and compositions from the mid-1950s through the 1980s, with lyrics written by Hal David. Many of their hits were produced specifically for, and performed by, Dionne Warwick...

. Her publicist cited throat problems as the reason for the cancellation. In his book The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards, author Steve Pond revealed that "Houston's voice was shaky, she seemed distracted and jittery, and her attitude was casual, almost defiant," and that while Houston was to sing "Over the Rainbow
Over the Rainbow
"Over the Rainbow" is a classic Academy Award-winning ballad song with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. It was written for the movie The Wizard of Oz, and was sung by Judy Garland in the movie...

", she would start singing a different song. Houston later admitted to having been fired. Later that year, Houston's long-time executive assistant and friend, Robyn Crawford, resigned from Houston's management company.

In August 2001, Houston signed the biggest record deal in music history with Arista/BMG. She renewed her contract for $100 million to deliver six new albums, on which she would also earn royalties. She later made an appearance on Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special
Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special
The Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special was a 2001 New York City revue show by American megasuperstar Michael Jackson. It took place on September 7, 2001 and September 10, 2001...

. Her extremely thin frame further spurred rumors of drug use. Houston's publicist said, "Whitney has been under stress due to family matters, and when she is under stress she doesn't eat." The singer was scheduled for a second performance the following night but canceled. Within weeks, Houston's rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" would be re-released after the terrorist attacks of September 11. The song peaked at #6 this time on the US Hot 100, topping its previous position. Houston donated her portion of the proceeds.

In 2002, Houston became involved in a legal dispute with John Houston Enterprise. Although the company was started by her father to manage her career, it was now actually run by company president Kevin Skinner. Skinner filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

 and sued for $100 million (but lost), stating that Houston owed the company previously unpaid compensation for helping to negotiate her $100 million contract with Arista Records and for sorting out legal matters. Houston stated that her 81-year-old father had nothing to do with the lawsuit. Although Skinner tried to claim otherwise, John Houston never appeared in court. Houston's father later died in February 2003. The lawsuit was dismissed on April 5, 2004, and Skinner was awarded nothing.

Also in 2002, Houston did an interview with Diane Sawyer
Diane Sawyer
Lila Diane Sawyer is the current anchor of ABC News' flagship program, ABC World News. Previously, Sawyer had been co-anchor of ABC Newss morning news program, Good Morning America ....

 to promote her then-upcoming album. The interview was the highest-rated television interview in history. During the prime-time special, Houston spoke on topics including rumored drug use and marriage. She was asked about the ongoing drug rumors and replied, "First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack
Crack cocaine
Crack cocaine is the freebase form of cocaine that can be smoked. It may also be termed rock, hard, iron, cavvy, base, or just crack; it is the most addictive form of cocaine. Crack rocks offer a short but intense high to smokers...

 is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. Okay? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is wack." The line would become infamous. Houston did, however, admit to using other substances at times.

In December 2002, Houston released her fifth studio album, Just Whitney.... The album included productions from then-husband Bobby Brown
Bobby Brown
Robert Barisford "Bobby" Brown is an American R&B singer-songwriter, occasional rapper, and dancer. After success in pop group New Edition, Brown began his solo career in 1987 and had a string of Top 10 Billboard hits, culminating in a Grammy Award. He was a pioneer of New Jack Swing music, a...

, as well as Missy Elliott and Babyface, and marked the first time Houston did not produce with Clive Davis
Clive Davis
Clive Davis is an American record producer and music industry executive. He has won five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. From 1967 to 1973 he was the President of Columbia Records. He was the founder and president of Arista Records from 1975...

 as Davis had been released by top management at BMG. Upon its release, Just Whitney... received mixed reviews. The album debuted at number 9 on the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

 chart and it had the highest first week sales of any album Houston had ever released. The four singles released from the album, didn't fare well on the Billboard Hot 100, but became Hot Dance Club Play
Hot Dance Club Play
The Hot Dance Club Songs chart is a weekly national survey of the songs that are most popular in U.S. dance clubs...

 hits. Just Whitney... was certified platinum
RIAA certification
In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America awards certification based on the number of albums and singles sold through retail and other ancillary markets. Other countries have similar awards...

 in the United States, and sold approximately three million worldwide.

In late 2003, Houston released her first Christmas album One Wish: The Holiday Album
One Wish: The Holiday Album
-Credits and personnel:Personnel*Whitney Houston – vocals, vocal arrangement*Julien Barber – viola*Sandra Billingslea – violin*Edie Lehmann Boddicker – background vocals*Joseph Bongiorno – upright bass*Alfred Brown – viola*Carmen Carter – background vocals...

, with a song listing of traditional holiday songs. Houston produced the album with Mervyn Warren
Mervyn Warren
Mervyn Edwin Warren is an American film composer, record producer, music conductor, music arranger, lyricist, songwriter, pianist, and vocalist. Warren is a five-time Grammy Award winner and a 10-time Grammy Award nominee...

 and Gordon Chambers. A single titled "One Wish (for Christmas)
One Wish (for Christmas)
"One Wish" is a 1994 Christmas song by American R&B singer Freddie Jackson on his album Freddie Jackson at Christmas.-Whitney Houston version:...

" reached the Top 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and the album was certified gold in the US. Having always been a touring artist, Houston spent most of 2004 touring and performing in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. In September 2004, she gave a surprise performance at the World Music Awards
World Music Awards
The World Music Awards is an international awards show founded in 1989 that annually honors recording artists based on worldwide sales figures provided by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry . John Martinotti is an executive producer and co-founder of the show...

, in tribute to long time friend Clive Davis
Clive Davis
Clive Davis is an American record producer and music industry executive. He has won five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. From 1967 to 1973 he was the President of Columbia Records. He was the founder and president of Arista Records from 1975...

. After the show, Davis and Houston announced plans to go into studio to work on her new album.

In early 2004, husband Bobby Brown starred in his own reality TV program, Being Bobby Brown
Being Bobby Brown
Being Bobby Brown is a reality series that depicted the life of R&B singer Bobby Brown and his then-wife, singer Whitney Houston, and their family. The series debuted on the Bravo channel on June 30, 2005, and became very highly rated, and restored a degree of celebrity to Bobby Brown...

 (on the Bravo network), which provided a view into the domestic goings-on in the Brown household. Though it was Brown's vehicle, Houston was a prominent figure throughout the show, receiving as much screen time as Brown. The series aired in 2005 and featured Houston in, what some would say, not her most flattering moments. The Hollywood Reporter said it was "undoubtedly the most disgusting and execrable series ever to ooze its way onto television." Despite the perceived train-wreck nature of the show, the series gave Bravo its highest ratings in its time slot and continued Houston's successful forays into film and television. The show was not renewed for a second season after Houston stated she would no longer appear in it, and Brown and Bravo could not come to an agreement for another season.

2006–present: Return to music, I Look to You, tour and film comeback


After years of controversy and turmoil, Houston separated from Bobby Brown in September 2006, filing for divorce the next month. On February 1, 2007, Houston asked the court to fast track
Fast Track
Fast Track is an informal English phrase meaning "the quickest and most direct route to achievement of a goal, as in competing for professional advancement".Fast Track may also refer to:* Fast Track, a FoxBusiness.com show hosted by Anna Gilligan...

 their divorce. The divorce was finalized on April 24, 2007, with Houston granted custody of the couple's daughter. Less than a month later, Brown sued Houston in Orange County, California
Orange County, California
Orange County is a county in the U.S. state of California. Its county seat is Santa Ana. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,010,232, up from 2,846,293 at the 2000 census, making it the third most populous county in California, behind Los Angeles County and San Diego County...

 court in an attempt to change the terms of their custody agreement. Brown also sought child and spousal support from Houston. In the lawsuit, Brown claimed that financial and emotional problems prevented him from properly responding to Houston's divorce petition. Brown lost at his court hearing as the judge dismissed his appeal to overrule the custody terms, leaving Houston with full custody and Brown with no spousal support. In March 2007, Clive Davis of Arista Records announced that Houston would begin recording a new album. In October 2007, Arista released another compilation The Ultimate Collection
The Ultimate Collection (Whitney Houston album)
The Ultimate Collection is a Whitney Houston greatest hits collection, released on October 29, 2007. For the first time, a single CD of Houston's hit singles is released. It debuted at number five in the UK, with sales of 37,228. It climbed to number three in its second week on the chart...

 outside the United States.
Houston released her new album, I Look to You
I Look to You
I Look to You is the seventh studio album by American R&B-pop singer Whitney Houston. It was first released on August 28, 2009 through Sony Music in Europe, then August 31, 2009 with Arista Records in the United States before being released by RCA Records in the United Kingdom on October 19, 2009...

, on August 2009. The album's first two singles are "I Look to You" and "Million Dollar Bill". The album entered the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

 at #1, with Houston's best opening-week sales of 305,000 copies, marking Houston's first number one album since The Bodyguard , and Houston's first studio album to reach number one since 1987's Whitney
Whitney (album)
Whitney is the second studio album by American pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston, released in the United States on June 2, 1987 by Arista Records as the follow-up to her best selling debut album, Whitney Houston. The album met the expectations of many people and was sensationally popular after its...

. Houston gave her first interview in seven years, appearing on Oprah Winfrey's season premiere on September 2009. The interview was billed as "the most anticipated music interview of the decade". The interview was so candid that Whitney admitted using drugs with former husband Bobby Brown
Bobby Brown
Robert Barisford "Bobby" Brown is an American R&B singer-songwriter, occasional rapper, and dancer. After success in pop group New Edition, Brown began his solo career in 1987 and had a string of Top 10 Billboard hits, culminating in a Grammy Award. He was a pioneer of New Jack Swing music, a...

 describing to Oprah that she "laced marijuana with rock cocaine". Houston has also appeared on European television programs to promote the album. She performed the song "I Look to You" on the German television show Wetten Dass. Three days later, she performed the worldwide first single from I Look To You, Million Dollar Bill
Million Dollar Bill
"Million Dollar Bill" is a song performed by American R&B and pop recording artist Whitney Houston, from her seventh studio album titled I Look to You which samples R&B singer Loleatta Holloway's "We're Getting Stronger" from Holloway's 1976 debut LP...

, on the French television show Le Grand Journal. Houston appeared as guest mentor on The X Factor
The X Factor (UK series 6)
The sixth series of British television music competition The X Factor started on ITV on 22 August 2009 and was won by Joe McElderry on 13 December 2009. Cheryl Cole emerged as the winning mentor for the second consecutive year, the first time in the show's history that a mentor has won back-to-back...

 in the United Kingdom. She performed "Million Dollar Bill" on the following day's results show, completing the song even as a strap in the back of her dress popped open two minutes into the performance. She later commented that she "sang [herself] out of [her] clothes". The performance was poorly received by the British media, and was variously described as "weird" and "ungracious", "shambolic" and a "flop". Despite this reception, "Million Dollar Bill" jumped to its peak from 14 to number 5 (her first UK top 5 for over a decade), and three weeks after release "I Look to You" went gold. Houston appeared on the Italian version of X Factor, performing the same song "Million Dollar Bill" to good reviews. She was awarded the Gold Certificate for achieving over 50,000 CD sales of "I Look To You" in Italy. In November, Houston performed "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" at the 2009 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California. Two days later, Houston performed both songs on the Dancing With The Stars season 9 finale. As of December 2009, "I Look to You" has been certified platinum by the RIAA for sales of more than one million copies in the United States. On January 26, 2010, her debut album
Whitney Houston (album)
Whitney Houston is the debut album of American R&B and pop singer Whitney Houston, released March 14, 1985 on Arista Records. The album initially had a slow commercial response but began getting more popular since the summer of 1985...

, was re-released in a special edition entitled Whitney Houston – The Deluxe Anniversary Edition.

Houston later embarked on a world tour, entitled the Nothing But Love Tour. It was her first world tour in over ten years and was announced as a triumphant comeback. However, some poor reviews and rescheduled concerts brought some negative media attention. Houston canceled some concerts due to illness and received widespread negative reviews from fans who were disappointed in the quality of her voice and performance. Some fans reportedly walked out of her concerts.

In January 2010, Houston was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards, one for Best Female Artist and one for Best Music Video. She won the award for Best Music Video for her single "I Look to You." On January 16, she received the BET Honors Award for Entertainer citing her lifetime achievements spanning over 25 years in the industry. The 2010 BET Honors was held at the Warner Theatre
Warner Theatre (Washington, D.C.)
The Warner Theatre is a theater located at 513 13th Street, N.W. in Downtown Washington, D.C.. The basement level is at 1299 Pennsylvania Avenue.-History:...

 in Washington, DC and aired February 1, 2010. Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Kate Hudson is an American recording artist, actress and spokesperson. She came to prominence in 2004 as one of the finalists on the third season of American Idol coming in seventh place...

 and Kim Burrell
Kim Burrell
Kimberly Burrell is an American gospel singer from Houston, Texas. She calls her musical style jazz gospel. Though she is comparatively new to the gospel music industry, having only performed since 1989, she has quickly become one of the most influential voices in the genre, often named as "this...

 performed in honor of her, garnering positive reviews. Houston also received a nomination from the Echo Awards, Germany's version of the Grammys, for Best International Artist. In April 2010, the UK newspaper The Mirror reported that Houston was thinking about recording her eighth studio album and would like to collaborate with will.i.am
Will.i.am
William James Adams, Jr. , better known by his stage name will.i.am and occasionally by his other stage name Zuper Blahq, is an American rapper, musician, songwriter, singer, actor and producer...

 (of The Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas are an American pop group , formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1995. The group includes rappers will.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo, and singer Fergie. Since the release of their third album Elephunk in 2003, the group has sold an estimated 56 million records worldwide...

), her first choice for a collaboration. Houston also performed the song "I Look to You" on the 2011 BET
Black Entertainment Television
Black Entertainment Television is an American, Viacom-owned cable network based in Washington, D.C.. Currently viewed in more than 90 million homes worldwide, it is the most prominent television network targeting young Black-American audiences. The network was launched on January 25, 1980, by its...

 Celebration of Gospel, with gospel
Gospel music
Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music....

–jazz singer Kim Burrell
Kim Burrell
Kimberly Burrell is an American gospel singer from Houston, Texas. She calls her musical style jazz gospel. Though she is comparatively new to the gospel music industry, having only performed since 1989, she has quickly become one of the most influential voices in the genre, often named as "this...

, held at the Staple Center, Los Angeles. The performance aired on January 30, 2011. Early in 2011, she gave an uneven performance in tribute to cousin Dionne Warwick at music mogul Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy gala. In May 2011, Houston enrolled in rehabilitation center again, as an out-patient, citing drug and alcohol problems. A representative for Houston said that it was a part of Houston's "longstanding recovery process."

In September 2011, The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter
Formerly a daily trade magazine, The Hollywood Reporter re-launched in late 2010 as a unique hybrid publication serving the entertainment industry and a consumer audience...

 announced that Houston will produce and star (alongside Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks
Jordin Brianna Sparks is an American pop / R&B singer-songwriter and actress. She hails from Glendale, Arizona who rose to fame as the winner of the sixth season of American Idol. Sparks won when she was 17 years old, making her the youngest winner in Idol history...

 and Mike Epps
Mike Epps
Michael Elliot "Mike" Epps is an American stand-up comedian, actor, film producer, writer, singer, and rapper. He is best known for playing Day-Day Jones in Next Friday and the sequel-to-the-sequel, Friday After Next, and also starring alongside Ice Cube in All About the Benjamins...

) in the remake of the 1976 film Sparkle
Sparkle (2012 film)
Sparkle is an upcoming American film directed by Salim Akil and produdec by Stage 6 Films, set for release in 2012 by TriStar Pictures. Inspired by The Supremes, Sparkle is a remake of the 1976 film of the same name, which centered on three singing teenage sisters in late 1950s Harlem who form a...

. It was also reported that Houston will play Sparks's "not-so encouraging mother". Houston will have executive producer credits on top of acting credits according to Debra Martin Chase, producer of Sparkle. She stated Houston deserves the title considering she's been there from the beginning in 2001 when Houston obtained Sparkle production rights. R&B singer Aaliyah
Aaliyah
Aaliyah Dana Haughton , who performed under the mononym Aaliyah , was an American R&B recording artist, actress and model. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 10, she appeared on the television show Star Search and performed in concert alongside...

's death in a 2001 plane crash derailed production which would have began in 2002.

On October 7, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding Arista Records
Arista Records
Arista was an American record label. It was a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment and operated under the RCA Music Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, who formerly worked for CBS Records...

 along with J Records
J Records
J Records was an American record label, owned and operated by Sony Music Entertainment, and was distributed through the RCA Music Group.-Company history:...

 and Jive Records
Jive Records
Jive Records was a record label based in New York City, operating under RCA Music Group. Jive was primarily known for a string of successes with hip hop artists in the 1980s, and in teen pop and boy bands in the late 1990s. The word "jive" was inspired by Township Jive, a form of South African...

. With the shutdown, Houston (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) will release her future material on the RCA Records
RCA Records
RCA Records is one of the flagship labels of Sony Music Entertainment. The RCA initials stand for Radio Corporation of America , which was the parent corporation from 1929 to 1985 and a partner from 1985 to 1986.RCA's Canadian unit is Sony's oldest label...

 brand.

Voice



Houston is a mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano
A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...

. Her vocal range
Vocal range
Vocal range is the measure of the breadth of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Although the study of vocal range has little practical application in terms of speech, it is a topic of study within linguistics, phonetics, and speech and language pathology, particularly in relation to the study...

 extends from G below middle C
Middle C
C or Do is the first note of the fixed-Do solfège scale. Its enharmonic is B.-Middle C:Middle C is designated C4 in scientific pitch notation because of the note's position as the fourth C key on a standard 88-key piano keyboard...

 (G3) to high B-flat (B5); she can belt
Belt (music)
Belting refers to a specific technique of singing by which a singer produces a loud sound in the upper middle of the pitch range. It is often described as a vocal register although some dispute this since technically the larynx is not oscillating in a unique way...

 out to treble F (F5). She came in third on MTV's 22 Greatest Voices, and sixth on Online Magazine COVEs list of the 100 Best Pop Vocalists with a score of 48.5/50. In 2008, Rolling Stone listed Houston as the thirty-fourth of the 100 greatest singers of all time, stating "Her voice is a mammoth, coruscating cry: Few vocalists could get away with opening a song with 45 unaccompanied seconds of singing, but Houston's powerhouse version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" is a tour de force." Describing Houston's voice, Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She made her recording debut with the release of her eponymous studio album in 1990, under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, whom she later married in 1993...

 states "Whitney has a really rich, strong mid-belt that very few people have. She sounds really good, really strong." While in her review of I Look to You, music critic Ann Powers of Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

 writes, "[Houston's voice] stands like monuments upon the landscape of 20th century pop, defining the architecture of their times, sheltering the dreams of millions and inspiring the climbing careers of countless imitators," adding "When she was at her best, nothing could match her huge, clean, cool mezzo-soprano."

Houston's vocal stylings have had a significant impact on the music industry. She has been called the "Queen of Pop" for her influence during the 1990s, commercially rivaling Celine Dion
Celine Dion
Céline Marie Claudette Dion, , , is a Canadian singer. Born to a large family from Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion emerged as a teen star in the French-speaking world after her manager and future husband René Angélil mortgaged his home to finance her first record...

 and Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She made her recording debut with the release of her eponymous studio album in 1990, under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, whom she later married in 1993...

. Stephen Holden
Stephen Holden
Stephen Holden is an American writer, music critic, film critic, and poet.Holden earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Yale University in 1963...

 from The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, in his review of Houston's Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall is an entertainment venue located in New York City's Rockefeller Center. Its nickname is the Showplace of the Nation, and it was for a time the leading tourist destination in the city...

 concert on July 20, 1993, praised her attitude as a singer highly, writing "Whitney Houston is one of the few contemporary pop stars of whom it might be said: the voice suffices. While almost every performer whose albums sell in the millions calls upon an entertainer's bag of tricks, from telling jokes to dancing to circus pyrotechnics, Ms. Houston would rather just stand there and sing." He added the comments on her singing style: "Her [Houston's] stylistic trademarks―shivery melismas that ripple up in the middle of a song, twirling embellishments at the ends of phrases that suggest an almost breathless exhilaration―infuse her interpretations with flashes of musical and emotional lightning." Elysa Gardner of Los Angeles Times in her review for The Preacher's Wife Soundtrack praised highly for Houston's vocal ability, commenting "She is first and foremost a pop diva―at that, the best one we have. No other female pop star―not Mariah Carey, not Celine Dion, not Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, actress, film producer and director. She has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Peabody Award, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy,...

―quite rivals Houston in her exquisite vocal fluidity and purity of tone, and her ability to infuse a lyric with mesmerizing melodrama." Houston is commonly referred to as "The Voice", in reference to her exceptional vocal talent.

Influence



During the 1980s, MTV was coming into its own and received harsh criticism for not playing enough videos by black artists. With Michael Jackson breaking down the color barrier for black male artists, Houston did the same for black female artists. She became one of the few black female artists to receive heavy rotation on the network following the success of the "How Will I Know" video. Following Houston's breakthrough, other African-American female artists, such as Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson
Janet Damita Jo Jackson is an American recording artist and actress. Known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 25 years...

 and Anita Baker
Anita Baker
Anita Baker is an American R&B/soul jazz singer-songwriter. To date, Baker has won eight Grammy Awards, and has four platinum albums and two gold albums to her credit....

, were successful in popular music. Baker commented that "Because of what Whitney and Sade
Sade (band)
Sade is a British smooth jazz band that formed in 1983, named for Nigerian lead singer Sade Adu. Their music features elements of R&B, soul, jazz, and soft rock....

 did, there was an opening for me... For radio stations, black women singers aren't taboo anymore." Allmusic also noted her contribution to success of black artists on the pop scene, commenting "Houston was able to handle big adult contemporary ballads, effervescent, stylish dance-pop, and slick urban contemporary soul with equal dexterity; the result was an across-the-board appeal that was matched by scant few artists of her era, and helped her become one of the first black artists to find success on MTV in Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records...

's wake." The New York Times stated that "Houston was a major catalyst for a movement within black music that recognized the continuity of soul, pop, jazz and gospel vocal traditions". Richard Corliss
Richard Corliss
Richard Nelson Corliss is a writer for Time magazine who focuses on movies, with the occasional article on music or sports. Corliss is the former editor-in-chief of Film Comment...

 of TIME
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine commented about her first success breaking various barriers as follows; "Of her first album's ten cuts, six were ballads. This chanteuse [Houston] had to fight for air play with hard rockers. The young lady had to stand uncowed in the locker room of macho rock. The soul strutter had to seduce a music audience that anointed few black artists with superstardom. [...] She was a phenomenon waiting to happen, a canny tapping of the listener's yen for a return to the musical middle. And because every new star creates her own genre, her success has helped other blacks, other women, other smooth singers find an avid reception in the pop marketplace." Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige
Mary Jane Blige is an American singer-songwriter, record producer and occasional actress. She is a recipient of nine Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards, and has recorded eight multi-platinum albums. She is the only artist with Grammy Award wins in Pop, Rap, Gospel, and R&B. Blige has...

 said that Houston's inviting her onstage during VH1
VH1
VH1 or Vh1 is an American cable television network based in New York City. Launched on January 1, 1985 in the old space of Turner Broadcasting's short-lived Cable Music Channel, the original purpose of the channel was to build on the success of MTV by playing music videos, but targeting a slightly...

's Divas Live show in 1999 "opened doors for [her] all over the world."

According to The New York Times, Houston has "revitalized the tradition of strong gospel-oriented pop-soul singing". Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times referred to the singer as a "national treasure". She is what many consider to be a "singer's singer" who has influenced countless other vocalists, both female and male. Similarly, Steve Huey from Allmusic wrote that the shadow of Houston's prodigious technique still looms large over nearly every pop diva and smooth urban soul singer - male or female - in her wake, and spawned a legion of imitators. Rolling Stone, on her biography, stated that Houston "redefined the image of a female soul icon and inspired singers ranging from Mariah Carey to Beyoncé." Essence
Essence (magazine)
Essence is a monthly magazine for African-American women between the ages of 18 and 49. The magazine covers fashion, lifestyle and beauty with an intimate girlfriend-to-girlfriend tone.-History:...

 ranked Houston the fifth on their list of 50 Most Influential R&B Stars of all time, calling her "the diva to end all divas."

A number of artists have acknowledged Houston as an influence, including Celine Dion
Celine Dion
Céline Marie Claudette Dion, , , is a Canadian singer. Born to a large family from Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion emerged as a teen star in the French-speaking world after her manager and future husband René Angélil mortgaged his home to finance her first record...

, Toni Braxton
Toni Braxton
Toni Michelle Braxton is an American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. Braxton has won six Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and five Billboard Music Awards and has sold over 60 million records worldwide...

, Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera
Christina María Aguilera is an American recording artist and actress. Aguilera first appeared on national television in 1990 as a contestant on the Star Search program, and went on to star in Disney Channel's television series The Mickey Mouse Club from 1993–1994...

, Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson
Jessica Ann Simpson is an American recording artist, actress, television personality, and fashion designer whose rise to fame began in 1999. Since that time, Simpson has achieved many recording milestones, starred in several television shows, movies, and commercials, launched a line of hair and...

, Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Brianne Clarkson is an American pop rock singer-songwriter and actress. Clarkson came into prominence after becoming the winner of the inaugural season of the television series American Idol in 2002 and would later become the runner-up in the television special World Idol in 2003.In 2003,...

, Britney Spears
Britney Spears
Britney Jean Spears is an American recording artist and entertainer. Born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, Spears began performing as a child, landing acting roles in stage productions and television shows. She signed with Jive Records in 1997 and released her debut album...

, Ciara
Ciara
Ciara Princess Harris , known mononymously as Ciara, is an American singer-songwriter, dancer, actress and fashion model. Born in Austin, Texas, she traveled around the world during her childhood, only to land in Atlanta, Georgia where she met music producer, Jazze Pha...

, P!nk
P!nk
Alecia Beth Moore , better known by her stage name Pink , is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actress....

, Robin Thicke
Robin Thicke
Robin Charles Thicke is an Award-winning American R&B singer-songwriter, musician, composer, and actor. Thicke's albums, which he previously released under the moniker Thicke, are noted for their feature of a predominantly R&B sound. Robin Thicke has penned hits for popular artists such as...

, Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Kate Hudson is an American recording artist, actress and spokesperson. She came to prominence in 2004 as one of the finalists on the third season of American Idol coming in seventh place...

, Stacie Orrico
Stacie Orrico
Stacie Joy Orrico is a Contemporary Christian and R&B singer-songwriter and occasional actress. In 1998, she signed to ForeFront Records when she was 12 years old, and recorded her first album Genuine , which sold 13,000 in the first week of release.After her first album she signed to a new record...

, Amerie
Amerie
Amerie Mi Marie Rogers , known professionally as Amerie or Ameriie, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She debuted in 2002 with the album All I Have, primarily co-written and produced by Rich Harrison, and was well-received in the urban market...

, Destiny's Child
Destiny's Child
Destiny's Child was an American R&B girl group whose final line-up comprised lead singer Beyoncé Knowles alongside Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Formed in 1997 in Houston, Texas, Destiny's Child members began their musical endeavors in their pre-teens under the name Girl's Tyme...

, Regine Velasquez
Regine Velasquez
Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez , better known as Asia's Songbird, Regine Velasquez, is a Filipino singer, actress, record producer and TV host...

, Lady Gaga
Lady GaGa
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta , better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer and songwriter. Born and raised in New York City, she primarily studied at the Convent of the Sacred Heart and briefly attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before withdrawing to...

, and Charice. Mariah Carey, who was often compared to Houston, said, "Houston has been a big influence on me." She later told USA Today that "none of us would sound the same if Aretha Franklin hadn't ever put out a record, or Whitney Houston hadn't." Brandy
Brandy Norwood
Brandy Rayana Norwood , known professionally as Brandy, is an American singer-songwriter, producer, actress, and dancer. In 2009, she introduced her rap alter-ego Bran'Nu....

 stated "The first Whitney Houston CD was genius. That CD introduced the world to her angelic yet powerful voice. Without Whitney half of this generation of singers wouldn't be singing," picking Houston's first album as a work of inspired. Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Kate Hudson is an American recording artist, actress and spokesperson. She came to prominence in 2004 as one of the finalists on the third season of American Idol coming in seventh place...

 cites Houston as her biggest musical influence. She told Newsday that she learned from Houston the "difference between being able to sing and knowing how to sing". Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis
Leona Louise Lewis is a British singer and songwriter. Lewis first came to prominence in 2006 when she won the third series of the British television series The X Factor....

, who has been called the New Whitney Houston, also cites her as an influence. Lewis stated that she idolized her as a little girl. Kelly Rowland
Kelly Rowland
Kelendria Trene "Kelly" Rowland is an American singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, and television personality. She rose to fame as one of the founding members of the American girl group Destiny's Child...

, in an Ebony
Ebony (magazine)
Ebony, a monthly magazine for the African-American market, was founded by John H. Johnson and has published continuously since the autumn of 1945...

s feature articles for celebrating black music in June 2006, recalled that "[I] wanted to be a singer after I saw Whitney Houston on TV singing 'Greatest Love of All'. I wanted to sing like Whitney Houston in that red dress." She added that "And I have never, ever forgotten that song [Greatest Love of All]. I learned it backward, forward, sideways. The video still brings chills to me. When you wish and pray for something as a kid, you never know what blessings God will give you." Beyoncé Knowles
Beyoncé Knowles
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles , often known simply as Beyoncé, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she enrolled in various performing arts schools and was first exposed to singing and dancing competitions as a child...

 told the Globe and Mail that Houston "inspired [her] to get up there and do what [she] did." Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys
Alicia Augello Cook , better known by her stage name Alicia Keys, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and occasional actress. She was raised by a single mother in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan in New York City. At age seven, Keys began playing the piano...

, in an interview about her album The Element of Freedom
The Element of Freedom
Keys began working on the album in May 2009. During this time, Keys and her audio engineer bought several vintage keyboards, describing the Moog as her "special best friend". Recording took place in The Oven Studios in Long Island, New York. Keys expressed that she "didn't know what to do" when she...

 with Billboard magazine, also said "Whitney is an artist who inspired me from [the time I was] a little girl." American recording artist Lady Gaga
Lady GaGa
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta , better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer and songwriter. Born and raised in New York City, she primarily studied at the Convent of the Sacred Heart and briefly attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before withdrawing to...

 said that Houston has been one of her "vocal idols" for years. In an interview with IBN Live Gaga revealed that she used to listen Houston's version of The Star Spangled Banner over and over again. At the 2011 Grammys, Gaga gave a shout-out to Houston, and said that she wrote the song "Born This Way
Born This Way (song)
"Born This Way" is a song by American recording artist Lady Gaga, from her second studio album, Born This Way. Written and produced by Gaga, Fernando Garibay, Jeppe Laursen and DJ White Shadow, "Born This Way" was developed while Gaga was on the road with The Monster Ball Tour...

" thinking about Houston's vocals.

Awards and achievements



Houston is the most awarded female artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records, with 1 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. She holds the all-time record for the most American Music Awards of any single artist and shares the record with Michael Jackson for the most AMAs ever won in a single year with 8 wins in 1994. Houston won a record 11 Billboard Music Awards at its 4th ceremony in 1993. She also has the record for the most WMAs won in a single year, winning five Awards at the 6th World Music Awards in 1994. In May 2003, Houston placed at number three on VH1
VH1
VH1 or Vh1 is an American cable television network based in New York City. Launched on January 1, 1985 in the old space of Turner Broadcasting's short-lived Cable Music Channel, the original purpose of the channel was to build on the success of MTV by playing music videos, but targeting a slightly...

's list of "50 Greatest Women of the Video Era," behind Madonna and Janet Jackson. She was also ranked at number 116 on their list of the "200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons of All Time." In 2008, Billboard
Billboard (magazine)
Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry, and is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. It maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs and albums in various categories on a weekly basis...

 magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart's fiftieth anniversary, ranking Houston at number nine. Similarly, she is ranked as one of the "Top 100 Greatest Artists of All Time" by VH1 in September 2010. In November 2010, Billboard released its "Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years" list and ranked Houston at number three whom not only went on to earn eight No. 1 singles on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but also landed five No. 1s on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

Houston's debut is currently listed as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine and is on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

's Definitive 200 list. In 2004, Billboard
Billboard (magazine)
Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry, and is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. It maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs and albums in various categories on a weekly basis...

 picked the success of her first release on the charts as one of 110 Musical Milestones in its history. Houston's entrance into the music industry is considered one of the 25 musical milestones of the last 25 years, according to USA Today in 2007. It stated that she paved the way for Mariah Carey’s chart-topping vocal gymnastics. In 1997, the Franklin School in East Orange, New Jersey was renamed to The Whitney E. Houston Academy School of Creative and Performing Arts. In 2001, Houston was the first artist ever to be given a BET Lifetime Achievement Award.

Houston is also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums and singles worldwide. Although she has released relatively few albums, she is ranked as the fourth best-selling female artist in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America
Recording Industry Association of America
The Recording Industry Association of America is a trade organization that represents the recording industry distributors in the United States...

, with 55 million certified
RIAA certification
In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America awards certification based on the number of albums and singles sold through retail and other ancillary markets. Other countries have similar awards...

 albums sold in the US alone.

She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Grambling State University
Grambling State University
Grambling State University is a historically black , public, coeducational university, located in Grambling, Louisiana. The university is the home of legendary football coach Eddie Robinson and is on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.-Academics:Grambling State University provides over...

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

.

Discography


  • Whitney Houston
    Whitney Houston (album)
    Whitney Houston is the debut album of American R&B and pop singer Whitney Houston, released March 14, 1985 on Arista Records. The album initially had a slow commercial response but began getting more popular since the summer of 1985...

     (1985)
  • Whitney
    Whitney (album)
    Whitney is the second studio album by American pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston, released in the United States on June 2, 1987 by Arista Records as the follow-up to her best selling debut album, Whitney Houston. The album met the expectations of many people and was sensationally popular after its...

     (1987)
  • I'm Your Baby Tonight
    I'm Your Baby Tonight
    I'm Your Baby Tonight is the third studio album by American pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston; released by Arista Records on November 6, 1990. Following the run of this album, Houston continued to achieve widespread commercial success throughout the 1990s, venturing heavily into films—while...

     (1990)
  • My Love Is Your Love
    My Love Is Your Love
    My Love Is Your Love is the fourth studio album by American singer Whitney Houston, released worldwide on November 17, 1998. The album, her first studio album in eight years since I'm Your Baby Tonight, was composed of mid-tempo R&B, hip hop, ballads, urban-dance, reggae, and torch songs, produced...

     (1998)
  • Just Whitney
    Just Whitney
    Just Whitney is the fifth studio album by American recording artist Whitney Houston, released on December 10, 2002 in North America by Arista Records...

     (2002)
  • One Wish: The Holiday Album
    One Wish: The Holiday Album
    -Credits and personnel:Personnel*Whitney Houston – vocals, vocal arrangement*Julien Barber – viola*Sandra Billingslea – violin*Edie Lehmann Boddicker – background vocals*Joseph Bongiorno – upright bass*Alfred Brown – viola*Carmen Carter – background vocals...

     (2003)
  • I Look to You
    I Look to You
    I Look to You is the seventh studio album by American R&B-pop singer Whitney Houston. It was first released on August 28, 2009 through Sony Music in Europe, then August 31, 2009 with Arista Records in the United States before being released by RCA Records in the United Kingdom on October 19, 2009...

     (2009)

Filmography

Film
Year Title Role Notes and awards
1992 The Bodyguard
The Bodyguard
The Bodyguard is a 1992 American romantic-thriller film starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Costner stars as a former Secret Service Agent turned bodyguard who is hired to protect Houston's character, a music star, from an unknown stalker. Lawrence Kasdan wrote the film in the 1970s,...

Rachel Marron
(Main role)
Nominated — 1993 MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
Nominated — 1993 MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated — 1993 MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo with co-star Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner
Kevin Michael Costner is an American actor, singer, musician, producer, director, and businessman. He has been nominated for three BAFTA Awards, won two Academy Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards. Costner's roles include Lt. John J...


Nominated — 1992 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress
1995 Waiting to Exhale
Waiting to Exhale
Waiting to Exhale is a 1995 romance film starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett, directed by Forest Whitaker. The movie was adapted from the 1992 novel of the same name by Terry McMillan. Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon, Dennis Haysbert, Michael Beach, Gregory Hines, Donald Faison and Mykelti...

Savannah Jackson
(Main role)
Nominated — 1996 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
The NAACP Image Award winners for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture:Number of Performances that won or nominated for Oscars:*1. Whoopi Goldberg - The Color Purple*2. Angela Bassett - What's Love Got to Do With It?...

1996 The Preacher's Wife
The Preacher's Wife
The Preacher's Wife is a 1996 romantic-family-dramedy-christmas film directed by Penny Marshall, and starring Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, and Loretta Devine. It is a remake of the 1947 film The Bishop's Wife....

Julia Biggs
(Main role)
Won — 1997 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
The NAACP Image Award winners for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture:Number of Performances that won or nominated for Oscars:*1. Whoopi Goldberg - The Color Purple*2. Angela Bassett - What's Love Got to Do With It?...


Nominated — 1997 Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Female Actress(Comedy/Romance)
Nominated — 1997 Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actress
2012 Sparkle Emma
(Main role)

Television
Year Title Network Role Notes
1984 Gimme a Break!
Gimme a Break!
Gimme a Break! is an American sitcom which aired on NBC from October 29, 1981, until May 12, 1987. The series stars Nell Carter as the housekeeper for a widowed police chief and his three daughters.-Premise:...

NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

Rita "Katie's College" (Season 3, Episode 20)
1985 Silver Spoons
Silver Spoons
Silver Spoons is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 25, 1982 to May 11, 1986 and in first-run syndication from September 15, 1986 to March 4, 1987...

NBC As herself "Head Over Heels" (Season 4, Episode 1, Air date: September 15, 1985)
She performed the edit version of "Saving All My Love for You
Saving All My Love for You
"Saving All My Love for You" is a song written by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin with arrangement by Gene Page. It was originally a minor hit for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. in 1978 on their album Marilyn & Billy...

," changing some of the words—"making love the whole night through" was changed to "holding each other the whole night through"—for the censors on the episode.
1997 Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella
Cinderella (1997 film)
Cinderella is a 1997 American musical telefilm produced by Walt Disney Television. The film stars Brandy, Whitney Houston, Paolo Montalban, Bernadette Peters, Whoopi Goldberg, Victor Garber and Jason Alexander. It is a re-make of the Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella television movie musical, and...

ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

Fairy Godmother Made for television, and was part of a revival of the Wonderful World of Disney, on Disney-owned ABC, and aired on November 2, 1997.
2002 Boston Public
Boston Public
Boston Public is an American drama television series created by David E. Kelley and broadcast on Fox. It centered on Winslow High School, a fictional public high school located in Boston, Massachusetts. The show was named for the real public school district in which it takes place...

Fox As herself She performed her current hit Try it On My Own from the 2002 studio album, Just Whitney.

TV Commercial
Year Company Promoting Country Notes
1983 Dr Pepper/Seven Up
Dr Pepper/Seven Up
Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. was a Plano, Texas-based soft-drink manufacturing company created by the merger of Dr Pepper, Inc. and The Seven Up Company on May 19, 1986. The merger was a result of the independent bailouts of both companies and the subsequent FTC blockage of a Dr Pepper merger with...

Canada Dry
Canada Dry
Canada Dry is a brand of soft drinks owned since 2008 by the Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group. For over a century Canada Dry has been known for its ginger ale, though the company also manufactures a number of other soft drinks and mixers...


(soft drink beverage)
United States
  • Houston appeared in this commercial before debut as a professional singer and sang the praises of sugar free Canada Dry Ginger Ale
    Ginger ale
    Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger. Dr. Thomas Cantrell, an American apothecary and surgeon, claimed to have invented ginger ale and marketed it with beverage manufacturer Grattan and Company. Grattan embossed the slogan "The Original Makers of Ginger Ale" on its bottles...

    .
1986 Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

Diet Coke
Diet Coke
Diet Coke is a sugar-free soft drink produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. It was first introduced in the United States on August 9, 1982, as the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark...


(soft drink beverage)
United States
  • Houston sang the Diet Coke
    Diet Coke
    Diet Coke is a sugar-free soft drink produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. It was first introduced in the United States on August 9, 1982, as the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark...

     theme song, "Just for the taste of it." (see the commercial)
  • 1988 Coca-Cola Diet Coke
    (soft drink beverage)
    United States
  • Houston sang the other version of the Diet Coke advertising slogan at the time, "Just for the taste of it." (see the commercial)
  • Outside the United States, the second version of advertising was released, in which "Greatest Love of All" was used as background music. (see the commercial)
  • 1989 MTV Video of the Year winning "This Note's for You
    This Note's for You
    This Note's for You is the seventeenth studio album by Canadian musician Neil Young, released in 1988. It was originally credited to Young and the Bluenotes. Most of the album's concept centered around the commercialism of rock and roll, and tours in particular...

    " by Neil Young
    Neil Young
    Neil Percival Young, OC, OM is a Canadian singer-songwriter who is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation...

    , parodied parts of this advertising to criticize pop/rock stars who make commercial endorsements, most notably Michael Jackson for Pepsi
    Pepsi
    Pepsi is a carbonated soft drink that is produced and manufactured by PepsiCo...

     and Houston for Diet Coke, using look-alike for them.
  • 1990 SANYO
    Sanyo
    is a major electronics company and member of the Fortune 500 whose headquarters is located in Moriguchi, Osaka prefecture, Japan. Sanyo targets the middle of the market and has over 230 Subsidiaries and Affiliates....

    Electronics
    (the stereo, TV)
    Japan
  • Houston sang theme song, "Takin' A Chance," produced by Keith Thomas
    Keith Thomas (producer)
    Keith Thomas, born and raised in the Atlanta suburb of Conyers, Georgia, is a Grammy Award-winning producer and songwriter with 40 #1 Billboard hits...

    . It was released as a CD single in Japan and included in Japanese edition of I'm Your Baby Tonight
    I'm Your Baby Tonight
    I'm Your Baby Tonight is the third studio album by American pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston; released by Arista Records on November 6, 1990. Following the run of this album, Houston continued to achieve widespread commercial success throughout the 1990s, venturing heavily into films—while...

    .
  • 1994
    1995
    AT&T
    AT&T
    AT&T Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications corporation headquartered in Whitacre Tower, Dallas, Texas, United States. It is the largest provider of mobile telephony and fixed telephony in the United States, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services...

    Telephone services United States
  • Houston sang its theme song, "True Voice." (see the commercial)

  • Production
    Year Title Director Notes and awards
    1997 Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella Robert Iscove
    Robert Iscove
    Robert Iscove is a Canadian film and television director, television producer and a choreographer...

    Executive producer
    Nominated — 1998 Emmy Award
    50th Primetime Emmy Awards
    The 50th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were held Sunday, September 13, 1998. It was broadcast on NBC. Nominees and winners are listed below, winners are in bold.- Outstanding Comedy Series :*3rd Rock from the Sun, NBC*Ally McBeal, FOX...

     for Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special
    Nominated — 1998 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie/Mini-Series
    NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
    The NAACP Image Award winners for Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special:...

    2001 The Princess Diaries
    The Princess Diaries (film)
    The Princess Diaries is a 2001 comedy film produced by singer and actress Whitney Houston and directed by Garry Marshall. It is based on Meg Cabot's 2000 novel of the same name...

    Garry Marshall
    Garry Marshall
    Garry Kent Marshall is an American actor, director, writer and producer. His notable credits include creating Happy Days and The Odd Couple and directing Nothing In Common, Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, Valentine's Day, and The Princess Diaries.-Early life:Marshall was born in the New York City...

    Producer
    Won — 2002 Young Artist Award for Best Family Feature Film - Comedy
    Nominated — 2002 Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Family Film (Live Action)
    Nominated — 2002 Phoenix Film Critics Society Award
    Phoenix Film Critics Society
    The Phoenix Film Critics Society is an organization of film reviewers from Phoenix-based publications.In December of each year, the PFCS meets to vote on their Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards for films released in the same calendar year.Categories of awards include:* Best Actor The Phoenix...

     for Best Family Film
    Nominated — 2002 Teen Choice Award
    Teen Choice Awards
    The Teen Choice Awards, are an annual awards show that air on the Fox cable channel, that honor the year's biggest biggest achievements in music, movies, sports, television, fashion and more, voted by teen viewers aged 14 through 17. Winners receive an authentic full size surfboard designed with...

     for Film - Choice Movie, Comedy
    2003 The Cheetah Girls
    The Cheetah Girls (film)
    The Cheetah Girls is a 2003 musical Disney Channel Original Movie, the first for Disney Channel, based on a bestselling series of young adult books of the same name by Deborah Gregory...

    Oz Scott
    Oz Scott
    Osborne "Oz" E. Scott is an American screenwriter, television producer, film, television, and theatre director.-Career:Born in Hampton, Virginia, Scott attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and earned a MFA before he began his career in Washington D.C.'s Arena Stage. While at the Arena Stage, he...

    Producer
    2004 The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
    The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
    The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement is the 2004 sequel to 2001's The Princess Diaries.Most of the cast returned from the first film, including Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, Héctor Elizondo, and Heather Matarazzo...

    Garry Marshall Producer
    2006 The Cheetah Girls 2: When in Spain
    The Cheetah Girls 2
    The Cheetah Girls 2 is the 2006 sequel to the Disney Channel Original Movie, The Cheetah Girls. Its premiere received the highest ratings of all Disney Channel Movies at its time, a total of over 8.1 million viewers, beating the premiere ratings of High School Musical , and beating previous highest...

    Kenny Ortega
    Kenny Ortega
    Kenneth John "Kenny" Ortega is an American producer, director, and choreographer. He is known for directing the High School Musical trilogy and Michael Jackson's This Is It concert tour.-Life and career:...

    Co-executive producer

    Tours


    World tours
    • Greatest Love World Tour (1986)
    • Moment of Truth World Tour
      Moment of Truth World Tour
      The Moment of Truth World Tour was the second worldwide tour by American R&B/Pop singer, Whitney Houston. The tour started in North America during the summer of 1987, following the release of her second album Whitney...

       (1987–88)
    • I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour
      I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour
      The I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour was a concert tour of arenas by American pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston that included 101 concert dates in North America and Europe in 1991.-History:...

       (1991)
    • The Bodyguard World Tour (1993–94)
    • My Love Is Your Love World Tour
      My Love Is Your Love World Tour
      -Additional notes:*During opening night, June 22nd in Chicago, IL; after Houston performed "I Will Always Love You" she closed the show with two encore's, "My Love Is Your Love" and "Step by Step"...

       (1999)
    • Nothing But Love World Tour (2010)


    Regional tours
    • Feels So Right Tour
      Feels So Right Tour
      The Feels So Right Tour was the tour in Japan only by singer Whitney Houston. The tour started on January 1, 1990 and ended on January 24, 1990 before the release of her third album I'm Your Baby Tonight.-History:...

       (1990)
    • Pacific Rim Tour
      Pacific Rim Tour
      The Pacific Rim Tour was a concert tour of arenas or stadiums by American Pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston that included 10 concert dates in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia and Hawaii in 1997.-Setlist:# "I'm Every Woman"# "So Emotional"...

       (1997)
    • The European Tour
      The European Tour (Whitney Houston)
      The European Tour was a 10-dates concert tour in Europe only by American singer Whitney Houston. The tour started in Halle, Germany on June 20, 1998 and ended in Aschaffenburg, Germany on July 11, 1998 before the release of her fourth studio album My Love Is Your Love.-Setlist:#"I'm Every...

       (1998)
    • Soul Divas Tour
      Soul Divas Tour
      The Soul Divas Tour was a tour by American R&B/soul singer's Natalie Cole, Dionne Warwick and global icon Whitney Houston. The tour was a one-month trek that started on July 2nd, in Berlin, Germany. Houston was featured as the main headliner, toured China without Cole and Warwick, adding a few more...

       (2004)


    Televised concerts
    • Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute
      Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute
      The Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute was a popular-music concert staged on June 11, 1988 at Wembley Stadium, London and broadcast to 67 countries and an audience of 600 million. It was also referred to as Freedomfest, Free Nelson Mandela Concert and Mandela Day...

       1988
    • Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney Houston
      Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney Houston
      Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney Houston, was Whitney Houston's first ever solo televised concert and DVD/video release. The DVD/video presents Houston performing live at the Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Virginia on March 31, 1991. The video was originally released on May 14, 1991, and the DVD was...

       1991
    • The Concert for a New South Africa
      Whitney: The Concert for a New South Africa
      The Whitney - The Concert for a New South Africa was the title of three concerts which American singer Whitney Houston performed in South Africa to honor President Nelson Mandela and to celebrate a newly unified South Africa in November 1994. Her first performance in Durban, Nov. 8 and final one in...

       1994
    • Classic Whitney Live from Washington, D.C.
      Classic Whitney Live from Washington, D.C.
      Classic Whitney, Live from Washington, D.C., were special live concerts by Whitney Houston featuring many of her greatest hits, as well as gospel favorites and songs saluting some of her influences including Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross. The concerts were held at historic DAR...

       1997

    See also


    • Whitney Houston chart records and achievements
      Whitney Houston chart records and achievements
      This is a list of chart records and achievements by American singer Whitney Houston. During her career, Houston has set numerous charts and sales records, and furthermore received many outstanding awards. U.S. Sales records are certified by the RIAA and can be considered accurate. U.S. chart...

    • Grammy nominations for Whitney Houston
      Grammy nominations for Whitney Houston
      Whitney Houston is one of the most successful female singers of all time. Her accomplishments have been recognized with six competitive Grammy Awards, though she has been nominated twenty-six times and for two times songs performed by her were nominated for Song of the Year...

    • American Music Award nominations for Whitney Houston
      American Music Award nominations for Whitney Houston
      Following is a list of American Music Award wins and nominations for pop/R&B icon Whitney Houston. Whitney Houston has been nominated in a total of 38 categories and won 22 of them during her career AMA including two special awards ― Award of Merit and International Artist Award...

    • List of best-selling music artists
    • List of artists who reached number one in the United States
    • List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart
    • Honorific nicknames in popular music
    • Melisma
      Melisma
      Melisma, in music, is the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession. Music sung in this style is referred to as melismatic, as opposed to syllabic, where each syllable of text is matched to a single note.-History:Music of ancient cultures used...


    External links