The music diva has died at the age of 48 but reports about how are yet unconfirmed. In the 80s and 90s, Whitney Houston was the golden girl of the music industry and then in August 2001, she signed a blockbuster record deal with Arista/BMG, renewing her contract with the label for $100 million to deliver six new albums. For over 30 years she has wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made popular by her pop sound.
Whitney Houston influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was. Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale.
The road wasn’t always easy for Whitney and no doubt her past struggles with drugs will have the rumor mill churning out possible cause of death as overdose, although it is unlikely. Insiders say Whitney had not returned to her cocaine addiction of years prior. Although Whitney was born into a singing family and immersed in the music scene and money since youth, in adulthood things started to go wrong for the already famous singer. Many cite her marriage to Bobby Brown as the turning point from when things went from great to downright terrible.
Houston married bad boy singer Bobby Brown in 1991 and from then forward the singing divas untarnished image went from pure angelic to unpredictable and sad. Reports that Houston was using drugs were confirmed and it became apparent to everyone that Brown was physically assaulting Houston. Their divorce became final in 2007 after years of Houston’s decline in voice and personality. She seemed to regain some of her old self after the divorce but never quite regained the range or the popularity she enjoyed before the disastrous marriage.
Houston won 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards and 22 American Music Awards during her record-breaking career. Her songs sold over 170 million records worldwide. Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 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").
She 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, became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was also named Rolling Stone's best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Numerous artists have credited Houston as a musical influence and many have sung tributes to her over the years. No doubt there will be many songs and tributes over the next few months. Whitney Houston leaves behind her legend and a daughter from her marriage to Brown.