Whitney Elizabeth Houston (born August 9, 1963) is an American singer, actress, and former fashion model. A relative of several prominent soul singers, including her mother Cissy Houston, cousins Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick and godmother Aretha Franklin, Houston began singing at her New Jersey church as a member of a junior gospel choir at age eleven. After she began performing alongside her mother at night clubs in the New York City area, she was discovered by Arista Records label head Clive Davis.
Houston released her debut album Whitney Houston in 1985, which became the best-selling debut album by a female artist at the time of release. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts as well as her prominence on MTV enabled several African-American women to follow in her success.
Following her marriage to singer Bobby Brown, Houston appeared in her first starring role in the feature film The Bodyguard in 1992. The film's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single, Houston's cover version of the 1974 Dolly Parton song "I Will Always Love You", became one of the best-selling singles in music history. Houston continued to star in feature films and contributed to soundtracks including Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996). After the release of her fourth studio album My Love Is Your Love (1998), she renewed her recording contract with Arista Records in 2001 for a historic $100 million. She subsequently released her fifth studio album, Just Whitney the following year with One Wish: The Holiday Album being released in 2003. Amidst widespread media coverage of personal and professional turmoil, Houston's marriage to Brown ended in 2006.
Houston is one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums and singles worldwide. She is ranked as the fourth best-selling female artist in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America, with 55 million certified albums. She has been listed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
1985: Whitney Houston
1990: I'm Your Baby Tonight
1998: My Love Is Your Love
2002: Just Whitney
2009: I Look to You