Sunday, 12 February 2012

Whitney Houston 1963 - 2012

Whitney Houston in her prime looking stunning
I woke up this morning to news that Whitney Houston died yesterday in The Beverly Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles at 48 years old. As shocks go it doesn’t get any bigger than this. Whitney died from as of yet unclear circumstances. Police have however stated there was no obvious criminal intent.

Whitney was a star born to a gospel family, she counted Dionne Warwick as a cousin and Aretha Franklin as her godmother. Whitney shot to fame in 1985 with her debut album 'Whitney Houston', an album that had her described as “One of the most exciting new voices in years” by Rolling Stone magazine. Some would say she shone her brightest in the late 80’s with I Wanna Dance With Somebody, The Greatest Love of All and the 1990’s with the hit I Will Always Love You, from The Bodyguard.

In the latter years that star began to wane and dim significantly, its fires smothered by a turbulent and abusive marriage to Bobby Brown. Whitney developed significant substance abuse issues and her voiced suffered due to smoking of crack and copious amounts of marijuana. She infamously stated to Diane Sawyer in an interview on prime time television in 2002 “I make too much money to ever smoke crack, Lets get that straight. Okay? We don’t do crack. We don’t do that. Crack is wack”. Behind the scenes however Whitney’s life was in turmoil.

One of the last pictures taken of Whitney
 Divorcing from Bobby in 2007 and releasing a new album I Look To You in 2009 it finally seemed that Whitney was beginning to show some of her old spark again. Million Dollar Bill and the title track I Look To You were both notable hits. Even though the album was a success, without the aid of massive amounts of post production tuning, Whitney’s voice was a shadow of its past glory. I witnessed her appearance on the XFactor, it was shambolic, she looked out of breath and confused. This level of performance was to become consistent as she embarked on a world tour. A tour which would see fans walking out and rows of empty seats.

This brings us to the end of this tragic story. The fame monster seems to chew up these young vibrant, talented people and spits out something barely recognizable, a ghost, broken and lost and no longer aware of what is real or who they are. A daughter has been left without a mother, a mother without her daughter and fans without their Idol. Rest in Peace Whitney Houston.

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