I really cannot believe Whitney Houston is gone.
I was raised on my parents' music. No kiddie music in our home. My parents loved music and played Motown, soul music, jazz, The Beatles, lady singers from the 40s ... The house always had music playing. They knew Whitney as kin to Dionne Warwick, and she blew them away. She was one of my mom's absolute favorite singers - she had everything Whitney put out. And she blew me away too.
I first felt it when she did the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. There was no viral video then. Either you saw it live or you missed it. (My father, and later my brother, recorded everything so they didn't miss anything.) I wasn't that into football as a kid, and not particularly patriotic either, but My God, Whitney burned that stadium down with that song. Everyone knew it. It was palpable through the screen. I have it on my iPod. Just pure, controlled power and clear tone and more than that, joy. She's beaming as she sings. Music makes her happy, you can tell.
I was just starting to come into my own musical taste then, and Whitney was one of the first artists of whom I was a capital-f Fan. When she started to falter (I remember the "crack is wack" interview), I would pray that she got it together and go back and listen to her old stuff. I sing, but she wild always humble me with her tone and range.
I hope she has peace wherever she is, and I hope that the family will be able to take some comfort in knowing how her voice inspired and awed millions.