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The world is grieving the departure of one of the most talented artists in music history. Whitney Houston died on February 11 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA, during the Grammys week-end; the party event yesterday was hosted by Whitney Houston’s talent scout and mentor Clive Davis.
Whitney Houston was the voice, the grace, the elegance, the body and the femininity of pop. During her glorious career, Whitney Houston broke several records, both of sales and charts success. She is the most-awarded female act of all time, as cited by the Guinness World Records; she indeed won 415 career awards as of 2010.
The shock for the loss of such a great artist inevitably became the center of the pre-Grammy Gala night, with an emotional celebration of the artist’s career. The night became somehow an accidental gathering of friends and beloved people celebrating Houston’s life and career.
As a matter of fact, music itself celebrated Whitney Houston’s birth and death. She was born in a deep musical environment, her mother being the gospel singer Cissy Houston, her cousin Dionne Warwik and her godmother the great Aretha Franklin.
Whitney Houston started performing at the age of 11, in a church gospel choir in Newark, then spending her adolescence occasionally accompanying her mother during performances, singing back vocals for different artists, and modeling.
In 1983, at the age of 19, Houston’s career got its turning point. After seeing one of her live performances, Clive Davis, head of Arista Records, signed Whitney Houston, marking the beginning of what would have become a legendary business partnership and personal friendship.
That was the starting point of an international career that saw Houston selling 170 million albums, singles and videos, becoming one of the world’s best selling artists. With a total of seven studio albums, additional participations in movies’ soundtracks, and the starring of movie characters, Whitney Houston has fulfilled the pop scene with her graceful talent, which touched the heart of millions of people around the world.
The homonymous debut album of the late singer was released in 1985; it was instantly acclaimed by the critics, and soon became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release, containing singles like ‘All at once’ and ‘Greatest Love of All’ that internationally conquered the audience. The record is listed by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time and is included in The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Definitive 200 list. USA Today also elected the album as one of the 25 musical milestones of the last 25 years.
From that moment on, Whitney Houston’s career grew at a fast pace. In 1986 Houston won her first Grammy Award for the hit ‘Saving All My Love For You’, the award being the first one of a list of six Grammys distributed along her career. A year later, in 1987, the studio album ‘Whitney’ was released, becoming the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Furthermore, with this record Houston entered at number one the charts of both, US and UK, being the first artist to accomplish so.
A true milestone of Houston’s career was the greatly acclaimed interpretation of the 1992 movie ‘The Bodyguard’, where she played alongside actor Kevin Costner. She performed in the movie’s soundtrack, with the single ‘I Will Always Love You’ entering the top of the Billboard Hot 100, keeping the position for 14 weeks. The single sold 12 million copies becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time, and the signature song of the late Whitney Houston ever since its release.
After her first movie appearance, Houston starred in other movies and participated to their soundtracks. It took the great artist eight years to come back to the release of a new studio album, which happened in 1998.
From 1998 to 2003 Whitney Houston released three additional studio albums which all gathered commercial success, although were characterized by discordant critics; in the meantime, in 2001, Houston renewed her contract with Arista Records for 100 million dollars, signing the biggest record deal in music history.
After struggling with drugs abuse and marriage issues, Whitney Houston came back to the pop music scene in 2009 with her album ‘I Look to You’, which entered the Billboard 200 at number 1.
Through 27 years of music, Whitney Houston brought to life one of the most astonishing musical careers of all time, enriching music history with her magnificent talent.
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