Whitney Houston Biography

Few American singers have accrued quite the widespread appeal that Whitney Houston was able to amass during her lifetime.

Whitney's miraculous vocal abilities and charming appearance earned her a spot in everyone's hearts halfway through the 80's. A series of achievements and accolades ensued soon after her debut, culminating in the early nineties. Unfortunately, her life took a drastic turn for the worse after her marriage to singer Bobby Brown. Although she was able to make a small comeback in 2009, the height of her fame was never fully regained.

Whitney's Early Career

Whitney Houston was born on the 9th of August in the year 1963.

New Jersey was her birthplace and where she initially got her start in music. Her gifted singing ability seems to have run in her family; her cousin, mother and godmother were incredibly influential figures in music. Her cousin was actually Dionne Warwick and her godmother the one and only Aretha Franklin. Her mother, Cissy Houston, was minister of the church choir in which a young Whitney first began to wow and woo audiences. Congregations reputedly found her incredible to watch and listen to. Soon the entire world would follow suit.

It was around the time she turned 15 that Whitney began modeling successfully. Her natural beauty landed her on the cover of Seventeen Magazine. She was one of the first black women to do so. Houston continued on with music though - seeking out an opportunity at a record deal and big success in the industry. At 19, she got her big break as a newly-signed artist under Arista Records, thanks to Clive Davis who had signed her immediately after seeing her perform. After debuting on the Merv Griffin Show with a cover of "Home" from Oz-based musical remake, "The Wiz," Whitney and Davis worked closely together on her first album. In 1985, her debut album was released and Whitney's life changed forever.

Houston's Liftoff to Fame

Whitney was quickly catapulted to immense success and notoriety upon the release of her self-titled first album.

Over 14 non-consecutive weeks, Whitney's sensational first album topped the charts and dominated the airwaves. Iconic songs such as "How Will I Know" and "Saving All My Love for You" earned her critical acclaim, unparalleled fame and prestigious awards. "Saving All My Love for You" actually won Whitney a Grammy in 1986! With a huge mass of fans to please, Whitney released her second album in 1987. This album, titled "Whitney," did just as phenomenally as her first - earning her another Grammy for the smash hit, "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." This time around, she completed a tour of the world to great success.

At this time, Houston historically appeared and performed at Nelson Mandela's birthday!

Whitney's Move to Movies

After two incredibly successful albums, Whitney found her way onto the big screen - first appearing in "The Bodyguard" with Co-star Kevin Costner in 1992. The movie did tremendously well, but the accompanying soundtrack stole the show, due in no small part to her cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You." The song rose to the top of the charts and stuck there for 14 solid weeks, while the soundtrack earned her 3 Grammys. She went on to release hit albums for and star in two more movies (Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife), but began to experience serious difficulties in her personal life shortly thereafter.

Whitney's Downfall

Whitney's marriage to singer, Bobby Brown back in 1992 had gone from good to terrible in short time - devolving into a torrid fit of drug abuse and alleged domestic violence.

She and Bobby had entered into very rocky terrain in their relationship and, unfortunately, things did not progress in a positive direction. A series of public incidents began to erode her stature in the public eye and give rise to serious concerns over her health. It was a 2005 reality show with Bobby Brown as the focus that greatly defiled Houston's reputation - showing all of the worst moments the couple went through in 2004.

Their ailing relationship did not benefit from the massive publicity of the reality show and their many personal problems earned Whitney very little sympathy from viewers. Her 1998 album, "My Love is Your Love" and collaboration with Mariah Carey in "The Prince of Egypt" garnered awards but her 2002-release, "Just Whitney..." did pretty poorly. Once the reality show hit, her public image was tarnished almost irreparably. Soon, she was being recognized as coiner of the phrase "Hell to the No" rather than the incredible singer she had previously won the world over as. It was hard to imagine her coming out such a serious funk in her career, but more importantly in her own personal life and health.

Her Comeback and Passing

Houston's life had been severely derailed, but she somehow found the strength to pull herself together after a messy split with Bobby Brown and a slew of familial issues. She'd succeeded in obtaining custody of her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, and managed to put together a successful new album entitled "I Look to You." However, her live performances were no longer what they used to be and her voice was reputedly less impressive after years of substance abuse.

Despite the difficulties with her voice, Whitney appeared to be coming back strong. She was set to star as a judge on "The X Factor" and sing alongside Jordin Sparks in upcoming movie musical, "Sparkle," but unfortunately passed away tragically before these plans could fully mature.

It was at a Beverly Hilton hotel in LA that Whitney allegedly drowned accidentally.

Clive Davis had been holding a Grammy party there and Houston had spent her last days at the pre-Grammy parties in the area. Official autopsies revealed traces of cocaine in her system as well as the telltale signs of a debilitating heart condition. Houston's substance use had finally taken its toll it would seem, but many are unsure of the true details of her death.

Although her life was cut short, her incredible singing legacy lives on to this day - inspiring millions worldwide to value, appreciate and even take up music themselves.