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Whitney Elizabeth Houston (born August 9, 1963) is a Grammy Award-winning American pop and R&B singer, actress, film producer, record producer, songwriter, and former fashion model. Her crossover success opened doors for other African American women, to find success in pop music and movies.12 She is frequently referred to as "The Voice"345, and is known for her "powerful, penetrating pop-gospel voice."6 She has been credited as having a five-octave vocal range78910
In the 1980s, Houston was one the first black artists to receive regular rotation on MTV in the network's early years during a white male rock dominated time.1112 Her debut album became the biggest selling debut album of all time for a solo artist (a record that has since been broken), her follow up album became the first album by a female artist to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200, and she had a record seven consecutive #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Houston continued her success into Hollywood in the 1990s, starting with the box office hit The Bodyguard. The soundtrack became the best-selling soundtrack of all time, and the single "I Will Always Love You" the best-selling single by a female artist and 6th best-selling song in the history of music.13 She continued the decade with other successful and culturally significant projects before returning to the studio. Houston is the fourth best-selling female recording artist according to the Recording Industry Association of America,14 and is the "The Most Awarded Female Artist of All Time"15 according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
After Houston married former R&B singer Bobby Brown at the height of her career, rumors of drug and spousal abuse started to affect her career. This led to a decline in her public image and her album sales dropped during the 2000s. Her personal troubles and erratic behavior became more talked about than any of her music, with stories regularly appearing in the tabloid press. Houston underwent two drug rehab programs in 2005 and 2006. After a successful second program in 2006, Houston divorced Brown and gained custody of their only daughter. She has since been working on her 7th studio album with music mogul and close friend and mentor Clive Davis, who confirmed that the album will be released in November 2008.16
With over 170 million combined album, singles and videos sold worldwide during her career with Arista Records, Whitney Houston has established a benchmark for superstardom that will quite simply never be eclipsed in the modern era. She is a singer's singer who has influenced countless other vocalists Ð female and male.