In light of Whitney Houston’s sudden death, I felt compelled to post a note. While I never was her biggest fan, I did respect her as a musical artist and liked a few of her songs. I believe Simon Cowell said it on CNN With Piers Morgan, last night, that she would be most remembered for her voice...that voice.
What a voice.
Looking at today’s artists, I cannot think of anyone who could belt out ‘I Will Always Love You’ in the way she was so seamlessly capable of. It seemed to come, and perhaps, was, a very natural ability for her. (Really — that part at 3:11, who can do that? Powerful!) She will truly be missed by the music and entertainment community amongst, I am sure, many others. May her soul be at peace.
While she may not have been as great of an icon as Michael Jackson, I think she was pretty high up in the ranks and sold many albums and singles, along with doing acting and other things on the side. One thing I find surprising (or, maybe not, considering in retrospect, now, how long she has actually been in the industry), is she only made about seven albums.* That is not a big number. However, seeing the impact those songs (again, it’s that voice) had on millions is truly incredible. I also doubt she used any auto-tune, either, which appears to be a staple in most album productions, nowadays. Outstanding.
Unfortunately, though, along with this impact, there were some negative stories in her past dealing with substance abuse (amongst other things). I will not discuss these stories, but I did want to discuss this issue of substance and alcohol abuse amongst so many talented individuals in the entertainment or art industry.
Why do those (and how do those) in the music industry and entertainment industry get involved with this type of lifestyle? What makes them or “fuels their fires” to go to these dark places? I am not referring to actual physical locations, but dark places in the recesses of the mind.** The hidden world no one sees…or if someone does see it, they often ignore it or find they are reaching out with a paddle to someone who is in just too far reach from the boat.
It is very sad to see such talented individuals, no matter who you are, where you are from, what you do, be it a musical artist, songwriter, novelist, actor, etc, feel they have to stoop down to that platform and somehow become transfixed in that dark tunnel…and, unfortunately, more often than not, they are waiting for the train coming towards them, even if that was not their original intention.
Artists can do anything they want to in their lives…and I think they should seek to find "The Greatest Love Of All," in order to succeed. While that love is open to interpretation and is rather subjective from person to person, in the song, specifically, (thank you, Michael Masser and Linda Creed), Whitney sings about loving yourself. Her vocal ability really shines here and her delivery makes the theme and message even more powerful. I really believe artists should stay true to who they are and what they believe in. For, if you do not believe in yourself, who will? The artists who respect themselves first, are, I feel, the ones who are respected the most. For me, it is those artists who I appreciate and stand by, musically, lyrically, and talent-wise. Even if some folks are not the “cream of the crop,” if they believe in what they do, put their entire focus into the production, creation, and overall process, and produce solid, catchy tracks, what more can a music lover want?
I have posted my favorite lyrics to Whitney’s song, below, perhaps it will help others find the strength in themselves, regardless of what talents they have, known or unknown to them.
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
And if by chance, that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love
**In Nikki Sixx’s The Heroin Diaries, he mentions that addiction is a very dark place. A very insightful read to anyone interested in the (particularly rock/metal) music scene, fans of Motley Crue, or anyone battling with substance abuse.