Reportajes

We will always love you

Today, tomorrow and always with Whitney in our hearts

The great Whitney Houston, the diva who brought Gospel and R&B to the Pop charts, is gone. She died alone in the bath, on the eve of the Grammys, incapable of overcoming a life of excess.

Last Saturday evening, one of the great voices of America went quiet. The pioneer of bringing melodramatic vocal acrobatics to the charts passed away, a victim of herself. She had it all until the mid-nineties. However, in the spotlight, while occupying most of the white space in the tabloids, the first diva of R&B Pop became a soul in pain, unable to cope with life. According to legend, there were even moments she had to sing a few ditties on the streets of Los Angeles to get some money for a hit. True or not, a few months ago we thought she had picked herself up again - after her mentor, Clive Davis, revealed that she would be returning to Hollywood to play one of the mothers of The Supremes in “Sparkle”. The years don't go by unnoticed for anyone - more so when drugs have been dominating one's life for over a decade. Whitney Houston died in a bath; now the whole world is crying over the loss of a woman who played Russian roulette, in full knowledge of the fact that she would lose her biggest treasure: her talent.

The mezzo-soprano who broke all the records

The daughter of one of the most celebrated Gospel voices ever, Cissy Houston, the niece of two other important singers, Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick, and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin: little Whitney was destined for the stars. At the age of 11, she started to sing in a Baptist church in Newark. Two years later, she became a backing singer for Chaka Khan on “ I’m Every Woman” (a track she would later perform in the film “The Bodyguard”), and one of the most sort after magazine models. Her beauty was indisputable, but when she started to sing, everything around her simply stopped, in awe of the texture of her mezzo-soprano voice.

When she accompanied her mother one night in the clubs of New York, Clive Davis, the boss of Arista Records, heard her sing and offered her the contract of her life. It was 1983. In spite of that, it wasn't until two year later that “Whitney Houston” (Arista Records, 1985) came out. It made a quiet entry on the charts, but thanks to the success of singles like “ Saving All My Love For You”, “ How Will I Know” and, most of all, “ Greatest Love Of All”, the album went to number 1 in the sales charts, a year after its release, selling 28 million copies worldwide. It was a dream come true for the African-American newcomer.

Releasing seven number 1 hits between 1985 and 1987, Whitney Houston broke the record that, to that day, was held by The Beatles and The Bee Gees. But her biggest success - more important than her achievements with “Whitney” in 1987 and “I’m Your Baby Tonight” in 1990 - was that she broke the racist taboos in pop in the mid-eighties. Until that moment, only Michael Jackson would be shown on MTV. So she had no other option than to fight the status quo with the video for “ How Will I Know”, in order to pave the way for Black women in the mass media - way before Toni Braxton, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey (with whom she shared the success of “ When You Believe” for the film “Prince of Egypt”) arrived.

Despite her success, Whitney still had a few cards up her sleeve for the further establishment of her myth. After turning down several offers from the film world, in 1992 she said “yes” to Kevin Costner for the Drama “The Bodyguard”. The film, in spite of its shocking simplicity, was a box office hit (410 million dollars worldwide) and 44 million copies of the soundtrack were sold. Her fourth best-selling record ever, it contains some of her classic songs, such as “ Run To You”, “ Queen Of The Night” and her universally famous cover of Dolly Parton's “ Queen Of The Night”.

“I Will Always Love You”

Buried in life next to Bobby Brown

At the peak of her career, in 1992, Houston married rapper Bobby Brown, whom she had met at the Soul Train Music Awards, three years earlier. They were the couple of the moment: beautiful, filthy rich and with a bright future ahead of them. However, rumours began to circulate at the end of the nineties, when the star's public appearances started to become less frequent - and when she did surface, she didn't look so well. Drug abuse started to cast its shadow over the marihuana and crack smoking couple, there were stories of snorting any old powder available, and of physical violence on a daily basis.

Everybody knew Whitney had become a junkie, but the star didn't come out until 2002, in a historical TV interview with Diane Sawyer. The vultures started to approach the scene: one of the most respected artists in the world was digging her own grave. She was stuck in this vicious circle until 2006, when she filed for divorce. But it was too late to come back through the big doors. In 2009, she released “I Look To You” - which could never shine as brightly as her last urban record until then, 1998's “My Love Is Your Love” - and she started a tour that revealed her astounding voice had all but disappeared.

Girls On Top. “I Wanna Dance With Numbers”

At this point, the question is: how will Whitney Houston be remembered? Nobody can deny the enormous impact she has had on mainstream music for Black women. The way she brought the Gospel and Soul she grew up with to adult-orientated radio - and the fact that she paved the way for the vocally acrobatic ladies of Pop. However, like Michael Jackson, her productivity in recent years has been virtually zero. So we have no other option than to depend on video to remember those not so distant times when her star shone bright - as the great voice that she was, is and always will be.

Tags:

¿Te ha gustado este contenido?...

También te gustará

wargames

Actualidad

Facebook inicia su proyecto más ambicioso: reducir los niveles de troleo

¿Debería ser internet un lugar más agradable? ¿O el desahogo frente a la pantalla es sano?

leer más
The Office

Actualidad

Los 15 tipos de compañeros de trabajo más odiosos

Todo parecido con la redacción de PlayGround es pura coincidencia.

leer más
broadcity1

Historias

10 cosas humillantes y sublimes que haces cuando eres joven y no tienes un euro

Por mucho que te empeñes, un litro de cerveza no es un “desayuno nutritivo”

leer más
ikeashinning

Actualidad

La parodia de Ikea de 'El Resplandor' es casi tan buena como la película

Al final y al cabo, los Ikeas también son lugares laberínticos donde es fácil acabar perdiendo la cabeza y queriendo matar a tus seres más queridos.

leer más
Pacake Star Wars

Actualidad

Arte comestible: llega la invasión de las tortitas mágicas

Entre el ñam y la creatividad: Saipancake es una de las cosas que más hambre y sonrisas arranca de todo Internet.

leer más
princesa

Actualidad

Estas dulces princesitas se cagan en el patriarcado

Cada vez más gente quiere romper con la neutralidad y la corrección política. Les resulta cómodo que su ropa hable por ellos.

leer más
Taylor Swift

Actualidad

Taylor Swift acaba de firmar el mayor troleo musical de la década

¿Glitch tecnológico, broma terrorista o comentario profundo sobre el signo de los tiempos?

leer más
New Balance Flagship Madrid Gran Via

Historias

Clásicos renovados: el edificio más antiguo de la Gran Vía rinde tributo a las zapatillas de correr

Ideada como un espacio dedicado al running, la nueva tienda de New Balance contará con una cafetería de productos saludables, con instalaciones ...

leer más

Últimos artículos

esoterismo1

Reportajes

Un día en el delirante mundo de la feria de esoterismo

La Ley de Atracción viene a decir que podemos conseguir lo que queramos si sabemos visualizarlo y lo deseamos con todas nuestras fuerzas.

leer más
fantomas1

Columnas

El Fantomas de Barcelona, o el renacimiento del gran villano europeo

Hubo un tiempo en que Fantomas era el malo más malo de la cultura popular europea.

leer más
hopper1

Artículos

El drama de los insomnes: ¿por qué es tan difícil encontrar un sitio para comer de noche?

El modelo de ciudad que vive de día y duerme de noche se mantiene intacto en España.

leer más
La juventud es un problema de miseria

Columnas

La juventud es un problema de miseria

La novelista francesa Cécile Coulon nos regala este relato poético sobre tres jóvenes que tienen que enfrentarse al olvido de un país que se ...

leer más
Lo que el ladrillo de se llevó: bestiarios inmobiliarios de España

Entrevistas

Lo que el ladrillo de se llevó: bestiarios inmobiliarios de España

Nación Rotonda documenta fotográficamente los efectos de la depredación sobre el territorio, Carabancheleando invita a pasear por ese popular ...

leer más
Zoofilia y pop latino: un cuento sobre la tierna adolescencia

Columnas

Zoofilia y pop latino: un cuento sobre la tierna adolescencia

Elisa Victoria es la autora de ‘Porn & Pains’ (Esto no es Berlín), columnista en Primera Línea, y un personaje muy carismático en la red. Para la ...

leer más
12 claves para entender la enorme influencia de Reddit

Columnas

12 claves para entender la enorme influencia de Reddit

El usuario medio de Reddit podría identificarse como ateo, favorable a movimientos sociales como Occupy Wall Street, favorable a Wikileaks, ...

leer más
La juventud Britney

Columnas

La juventud Britney

La escritora Lucy K Shaw nos trae una breve reportaje ficcionado de lo que supuso para el mundo y para Britney Spears el momento de su trágica ...

leer más

Más artículos

cerrar
cerrar