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Cause Magazine


At the age of 11, Houston began to follow in her mother's footsteps and started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she also learned to play the piano. As a teenager, Houston spent some time touring nightclubs where her mother Cissy was performing, and she would occasionally get on stage and per- form with her. In 1977, at age 14, she sang backup on a disco record. In 1978, at age 15, Houston sang background vocals on Chaka Khan's hit single "I'm Every Woman", a song she would later turn into a larger hit for herself. She also sang back- up on albums by Lou Rawls and Jermaine Jackson.


In the early 1980s, Houston started working as a fashion model after a photog- rapher saw her at Carnegie Hall singing with her mother. She appeared in Seventeen and became one of the first women of color to grace the cover of the magazine. She was also featured in layouts in the pages of Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Young Miss, and appeared in a Canada Dry soft drink TV commercial. Her striking looks and girl-next-door charm made her a natural. She never gave up singing though, and 1983 record mogul Clive Davis saw her perform, signed her up and the rest is history.


The R & B audience was first to embrace her, but soon she appealed to all demographics and became a worldwide phenom- enon. In fact, Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by any female act ever at the time of its release. It was named Rolling Stone's best album that year, and was eventually ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. To date, the album has sold a total of 25 million copies worldwide.


She made several other hit albums, then in 1992, she broke box office barriers when she starred in The Bodyguard, the first major Hollywood movie to feature an interracial romance without making an issue of “race.” the movie was a hit and the soundtrack album The Bodyguard and lead single "I Will Always Love You” set


records, won numerous awards and amazed critics and the pub- lic. The single peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for a then-record-breaking 14 weeks, number one on the R&B chart for a then-record-breaking 11 weeks, and number one on the Adult Contemporary charts for five weeks, thus becoming the first single to top all those three charts simultaneously for five weeks. It eventually became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. The soundtrack also won the 1994


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