Clouds float across a light blue sky, remorse and grief flood my heart.
Love her or hate her, Whitney Houston was a symbol of her generation. An immensely talented singer, winning more than 400 career awards. She sold over 170 million albums and is best remembered for her role in the movie The Bodyguard. The movie was Whitney’s film debut. Starring alongside Kevin Costner, the movie soundtrack produced the hit single I will always love you. For most of the younger generation this is the song that they will best know Whitney by.
As a musician, it would be hard to say that in at least some small part, I wasn’t influenced by Whitney Houston. The truth is that I was influenced by her. My earliest memory of her was the film the Bodyguard in 1994. The image that comes to mind was watching the film with my dad. He had just returned from the video shop with a pile of videos and fish and chips. We sat throughout the afternoon watching the film. At various times throughout the film, I would flick through the current Lego (R) catalog whilst still watching the film. After all these years, that afternoon is still clear and vivid.
From the moment I heard I will always love you I was hooked. The beauty of tone and musicality really stuck with me. I’ve never forgotten it, and in many ways have tried to execute that level of musicianship in my own performances. Whitney was and still is truly a master singer of the modern era. I know that many of my generation were lucky enough to grow up listening to this level of performance. For those of us who were children of the eighties, we were so lucky to be apart of that truly amazing time.
The world was changing, the U.S.S.R. collapsed during that period. We were free from the Cold War. The world could breathe a sigh of relief. And this was our soundtrack. I still remember my aunt turning on video hits for us on a Saturday morning when we stayed the Friday night. Every Sunday when we would head to Nonna’s for lunch after church in the morning, you could guarantee that video hits would be on.
Maybe throughout the turbulent years of secondary school I forgot all of that. Eventually I came to the belief that our childhood days were not very good. But I firmly believe that it took today’s news to change that opinion for me. As I write this editorial, I am filled with grief and loss for a truly great singer and musician. But I also believe that it took such a tragedy to remind me how short and fragile life is.
Life is fragile and we need to make the most of it. Give life our best and take every opportunity that we can.
Rest in Peace Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012)