Thursday, February 16, 2012

This week's column

Remembering a melodic yet tragic life
The music world was saddened this week with the news of Whitney Houston’s death. A life of amazing musical talent tainted by addiction and regret ended early at age 48.
Since then, there have been musical tributes, fellow pop artists interviewed on TV and analyst picking through every aspect of her life.
She’s a picture of how it can all go so well and then spiral into tragic wrong. Houston is yet another lesson that money and fame do not bring happiness.
But, while not a Grammy winning performer or a celebrity, I’d like to share my own memories of Houston. That voice was prevalent on the boom box of my adolescence.
Picture it, 11-year-old Becca in her coolest pop princess outfit. I’m in my room with a marker or a hair brush for a microphone belting out “How Will I Know” by Houston. That’s right, it was just like MTV. Well, sort of.
The outfit probably had some sort of shoulder-padded jacket and I’m sure there were many clanging metal bracelets on my arms as in typical 1980s style.
With later album releases the singing routine added songs such as “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “So Emotional.” Being older, I’m sure the outfit improved.
I will only briefly confess the interpretive dance/ice skating routine I created to “One Moment in Time.” And no, I didn’t ice skate, it was all in my imagination.
But we all did this. We all tried to sing like her, even though no one could. Her voice went places no one else’s voice could go.
In 1991, her voice inspired a nation. She sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl and the nation had chills. No one has been able to live up to that performance.
Even though her acting never lived up to her voice, Houston’s songs on “The Preacher’s Wife” soundtrack were inspiring.
While her life sunk to the depths of addiction and despair, her voice rose so high no one could match it. We might never understand why someone with such talent had a life so troubled.
But what we do know is music creates memories. I’m sure we’ve all tried to belt out a song like Houston, in the privacy of our own homes or on a karaoke stage. Come on, admit it. Everyone’s tried to sing “I Will Always Love You” at least once.
Her life will be examined and re-examined in the weeks to come and we probably will learn even more about the tragic life and the bad decisions that plagued her. While many of the questions about that life will have no answer, there’s one thing we knew for sure about Houston.
That girl could sing and sing like no other.

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