Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey. She was the second-born of John Russel Houston, Jr. and Cissy Houston. She is of African American, Native American, and Dutch descent. She moved to East Orange, New Jersey when she was four.
At age 11, she began performing as a soloist at her church, where she began to learn how to play piano. She attended Mount Saint Dominic Academy, a Catholic girls’ high school in Caldwell, New Jersey. In 1977, when she was 14, she became a backup singer on the Michael Zager Band, and at the age of 15, she sang background vocals with Chaka Khan. She also sang backup with Lou Rawls and Jermaine Jackson.
In the early 1980’s, she started working as a fashion model She appeared in Seventeen as one of the first colored women to be on the cover of the magazine. She was also featured in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Young Miss, and in a Canada Dry commercial.
In 1983 she signed with Arista Records and made her national televised debut alongside Clive Davis on The Merv Griffen Show. Her debut album, Whitney Houston, was released in February 1985. By 1986, Whitney Houston topped the Billboard 200 albums chart and stayed there for 14 weeks. Houston embarked on her world tour, Greatest Love Tour. The album became an international success and has sold a total of 25 million copies worldwide.
At the 1986 Grammys, Houston was nominated for 3 awards. She won her first Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, and performed “Saving All My Love For You”, at the awards show. Houston also won 7 American Music Awards between 1986 and 1987, and an MTV Video Music Award.
In 1987, Houston became the first female artist in music history to debut at No. 1 on the Billborad 200 albums chart. She also became the first female artist to generate four No. 1 singles form the same album. At the 30th Grammys, Houston was nominated for 3 awards, and womn her second Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Houston also won two American Music Awards in 1988 and 1989 and a Soul Train Music Award. She was the highest earning African-american woman, and the 3rd highest entertainer.
In 1989 Houston formed the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, a non-profit organization that has raised funds for children with needs all over the world. In 1990, Houston had a private audience with President George H.W. Bush in the Oval Office to discuss youth leadership. Throughout the 1980s Houston was romantically involved with American football star Randall Cunningham and actor Eddie Murphy. She then met R&B singer Bobby Brown, and after a 3 year court-ship they got married on July 18, 1992. On March 4, 1993, Houston gave birth to her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown.
Throughout the rest of her life, Houston continued to win many awards and rock the music world until her death. On February 11, 2012, Houston died in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, of not immediate known causes.
Moments after news of her death emerged, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all broke from their regular schedule to dedicate time to Houston. Her death, the day before the 2012 Grammy’s spread through American and international news. Bobby Brown, her ex-husband even gave a tribute to Houston at his performance in Mississippi. The world is shocked by Houston’s death and will always remember “The Voice”, and the effect she had on this world.