Whitney Houston was born on August 9, 1963. Despite the fact that the life of stars almost always lends itself to publicity, there are still facts hidden from the public. We made a selection of little-known data about Whitney Houston.
Whitney’s mother was also a singer.
Cissy Houston was born into a large family. She was the youngest of eight children in the family of Nicholas Drinkard and Delia Mae McCaskill. Born September 30, 1933, Cissy Houston was a gospel singer, Grammy Award winner who had a very successful career as Elvis Presley’s backup singer. In 1963, after the birth of her daughter Whitney, she formed the quartet Sweet Inspirations along with Sylvia Shemwell, Estelle Brown and Myrna Smith. In the ’60s, they successfully performed in backup with Redding, The Drifters, Dusty Springfield, Jimmie Hendrix and Van Morrison. Elvis invited the quartet to sing during concerts in Las Vegas. As a token of his appreciation, Elvis gave Cissy Houston a bracelet with her name engraved on the outside and her affectionate nickname Squirelly engraved on the inside.
It is worth noting that she was the first performer to record the song «Midnight Train To Georgia,» which later became a big Gladys Knight hit.
Whitney’s career was not handled by outsiders. Only her family members were involved in the process. Her immediate and extended family members handled her business affairs, sang with her, wrote her songs, and even, worked as her bodyguards. Whitney’s two older brothers, Michael and Gary, helped her in her career with business and music, respectively. Michael became her tour manager, arranging everything from lighting arrangements to crew organization, while Gary performed with her as a singer, performing duets as a backing vocalist on stage. Whitney was always close to her family, they could rely on each other when they needed support. Because of this good family relationship, Whitney Houston felt an unwavering confidence that became an important part of her identity. Whitney’s dad, John Houston, acted as manager for his wife when Cissy was «afloat,» and when they had daughter Whitney Elizabeth, John stayed at home to raise her.
The first performance of the future famous singer was at the New Hope Baptist Church. Religious beliefs were strong in the family. At about age 11, Whitney sang «Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,» and the audience reaction was one she will never forget.
«I knew people who looked at me. Nobody was moving. It seemed like they were almost in a trance. I just looked at the clock in the center of the church. When I finished, everyone applauded and started crying.»
Houston might not have become a singer. She herself wanted to be a teacher. In 1993, the singer gave an interview to Rolling Stone, during which she admitted that she dreamed of being a teacher as a child, because she adored children and everything connected with them.
She was also predicted to have a modeling career. During her extracurricular work, Whitney had the promising prospect of a career in modeling. She appeared in American magazines «Cosmopolitan» and «Young Miss» and on the covers of «Glamor» and «Seventeen» in 1981, she later described herself at the time as «young, very innocent, but sexy». Whitney’s modeling career began quite by accident.
«When my mother and I were in New York, a young man came up to me and told me to go to a modeling agency that was up the stairs from where we were, that they were looking for someone who looked like me and that I would be a great fit for them. I was a little suspicious, but my mom was with me, and I said: «What the hell, let’s go see what’s out there.»
A modeling career led to Whitney being noticed and called to play on stage. There she was spotted by the president of Arista Records Clive Davis and signed her almost immediately in 1983.
Her first album, Whitney Houston, released in 1985, was the most successful debut album by a woman in music history. In one year in the USA alone, it sold 13 million copies and stayed at the top of the prestigious Billboard chart for 14 weeks in a row. Despite the fact that it took several months for the young singer to be noticed, the success of the album was historic. Not only was it the best-selling debut album in the U.S. of all time, it became the most successful solo album among black female artists released. When it reached number 1 on the charts, it stayed there for 14 weeks, and held its position in the Top 40 for over a year. In 1986 the album even surpassed the sales of Madonna’s «True Blue» album.
Whitney Houston was actively engaged in charity. In 1989, the singer created her own charity foundation — The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children (WHFC), which took care of homeless children. The funds of this organization were used to build city parks and playgrounds, held annual Christmas parties. Interestingly, when Houston got married in 1992, she asked all her guests to make a donation to WHFC instead of gifts.
In 1991 the singer was elected to the board of directors of the American Red Cross charity.
By the way, to play in «Bodyguard» Houston has not immediately agreed. When she first read the script of the picture, she flatly refused to star in it, arguing that the heroine of the film — «hysterical» and that she would never behave that way. Kevin Costner, the director and producer of the film, hardly persuaded her to play the main role.
Whitney Houston turned down Michael Jackson. The world legend of pop music asked Whitney in 1987 to record the song «I Just Can’t Stop Loving You», but Houston refused.