My heart is heavy, I am in shock! One of the greatest voices of all time is gone. Whitney Houston, known by people close to her as ‘Nippy’, passed away yesterday. Where do you start with a talent like Whitney? She was legendary. Her voice was smooth yet powerful. A rare combination. I remember the first time I met Whitney, it was when she was at the height of her career. ‘The Bodyguard’ movie and sound track was out and was at the top of the charts selling millions of copies. I lived in San Diego at the time and my friend Cleaster and I were invited by Bashiri Johnson, world renown percussionist and long time member of Whitney’s band, to come and check out the rehearsal they were having before the American Music Awards, where Whitney would be performing. We drove in and was escorted in by security, the band had just taken a break. They were playing a game of basketball to relax! That’s when I met the baddest damn band in the land!! Ricky Minor was her musical director, Michael Bearden, keyboards, who was musical director for Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’ tour, Joshua Redden, saxophone and a few other top players in the industry and the background singers were the best!! You had to know how sing to be in Whitney’s background! She had one of best bands out there and she came from a family of Music Royalty! Cissy Houston and Dionne Warwick ain’t no joke! She definitely got it honestly.
Well, we finally got the opportunity at that time to meet Whitney Houston. What a Queen! She had this quiet intensity about her. A softness but also all business. So when the Queen was ready to rehearse, the band got back to it! And did she rehearse! I got the opportunity to watch a legend rehearse for her national television awards show. The fact that she rehearsed for hours taught me this; no matter how good you think you are, you always have to work at your craft. Whitney had natural vocal abilities but never sat on her butt, she was a perfectionist and knew she was on the big stage and she had to be at her best. This is a great lesson for young singers. You may have the chops but that don’t mean you can sit on your butt and not rehearse!! It’s about having a good work ethic and being passionate about your craft and your ability to be the best you can be! Whitney was at the top of her vocal ability and still was busting it out!!
That was a special day for me and I will never forget it. After that time I stayed close to the circle of people connected to her for years. I always prayed for Whitney and her family. It’s so hard dealing with your personal problems being in the public eye. People do not understand how difficult it is and are most times very cruel and insensitive. We all have challenges and adversities, if we did not we would not be here on this earth plane. We are all human. Please just remember this great legend of a woman, mother, sister, daughter; as the wonderful talent that she was. The world has truly lost a great legend and a great voice, wow, what a voice.
I send my condolences to Cissy Houston, Whitney’s daughter Bobbi and family and all the extended family. I know that Whitney is at peace now, no more worries, no more pressure, no more sadness, no more heartache. We will always love you Whitney girl. Wow, GOD now has another member in His choir!!! I know they are going to rock and roll with you Whitney! Thank you for all that you have given us, given the world! Your music has made us happy, made us cry, made us open our hearts to love we never knew we could feel. Its your GOD Work that has opened us. I am so glad I had the chance to be around you and learn from you what it takes to be a singer. May you rest in peace! You will never be forgotten!! LOVE YOU ALWAYS!