Whitney Elizabeth Houston. born August 9, 1963 -Died February 11, 2012, was an American recording artist, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all-time. Houston was also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide.
Houston first started singing in the church as a child.
In her teens, she sang backup for Chaka Khan, Jermaine Jackson and others, in addition to modeling. It was around that time that music mogul Clive Davis first heard Houston perform.
Davis said: "The time that I first saw her singing in her mother's act in a club ... it was such a stunning impact.
"To hear this young girl breathe such fire into this song. I mean, it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine."
At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world's best-selling artists.
She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful and peerless vocals rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.
She had the perfect voice and the perfect image - a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.
Whitney Houston was the youngest of three children born to John and Cissy Houston in East Orange, New Jersey. She was born into a musical family as her mother was a successful R&B backup singer, her father was Cissy's agent, and her cousin was Dionne Warwick. (John Houston later became Whitney's agent.) Houston grew up in East Orange, New Jersey and first began singing in the Baptist church. As a teen she sang backup for Lou Rawls and Chaka Khan and worked as a model.
She broke into the music industry in 1985 when she signed a record contract with Arista Records and produced her self-titled album, WHITNEY HOUSTON. She received her first Grammy Award for one of the number one songs on the album, "Saving All My Love for You." Her second album, WHITNEY, was the first album by a female artist to enter the charts at number one. Houston has since received numerous Grammys, and became the first performer to have seven consecutive number one singles on the BILLBOARD magazine pop-music charts. She has also enjoyed a successful career as an actress in lead roles for such movies as THE BODYGUARD and WAITING TO EXHALE. She has performed most of the music for the soundtracks in these films.
Houston is involved with such humanitarian organizations as the United Negro College Fund, the Children's Diabetes Fund, and St. Jude's Children's Hospital. She established The Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, Incorporated, a nonprofit organization assisting homeless children and children with cancer and AIDS.
She is survived by daughter Bobbi Kristina and ex-husband Bobby Brown. Theirs was a tumultuous marriage, marred by drugs, and ended in 2007. She spent time in rehabilitation for her drug problems, most recently in May 2011.
Houston was the most awarded female artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records, with two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. She held the all-time record for the most American Music Awards of any female solo artist and shared the record with Michael Jackson for the most AMAs ever won in a single year with eight wins in 1994. Houston won a record 11 Billboard Music Awards at its fourth ceremony in 1993.She also had the record for the most WMAs won in a single year, winning five awards at the 6th World Music Awards in 1994