I’ve been a pop music fan as long as I can remember. When I was 7 my dad took me to Sam Goody where I picked out two of my first CDs. The first was the soundtrack to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and the second was the soundtrack to The Bodyguard. I didn’t particularly love the film at that age, but boy did I love Whitney Houston. Her powerful, soulful vocals got me hooked on sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs music. Her version of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You is iconic, legendary, and has become a litmus test for every diva singer to participate in a television singing competition. (Remember the Taiwanese kid?)
When I was in third grade, my teacher Miss Leitzen created an end of the year slideshow set to touching background music like Dionne Warwick’s That’s What Friends Are For and Whitney’s The Greatest Love Of All. Even now, that song makes me tear up, remembering all the potential we knew we had. Whitney Houston’s voice was powerfully distinct, incomparable to many for several decades. With a surprisingly short discography list, she’s the most awarded female artist of all time and the 4th best-selling female artist in the United States. And although the end of her life and career was turbulent, she left us with some of the greatest pop songs ever recorded that I’ll be singing for the rest of my life.