She was an eighteen year old teenager when we first met. We were both recording for a debut album for a major record label and at the time, and I had no idea how her career would sky-rocket. That is until I heard her sing.
There were many stars there during the recording and video shoot of ”Stop the Madness”. Stop the Madness is an anti-drug music video that was recorded as the first ant-drug campaign. It was uniquely endorsed and supported by the Reagan administration in 1985. The song and video starred, New Edition, LaToya Jackson, Whitney Houston, David Hasselhoff, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kim Fields, Herb Alpert, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tim Feehan, Casey Kasem, John Matuzak, Michelle Lee, Toni Basil, Andre Crouch, Gerald McRaney, Jameson Parker, Nancy Reagan, and Lyle Alzado. We recorded at Hollywood Sound, and I remember being in awe of all the stars in attendance. You can watch it at this link
I remember seeing Whitney standing in a corner with her mother Cissy Houston and Aunt Dionne Warwick. What caught my ear was as everyone was warming up their vocal cords, I could hear Whitney and her family singing gospel tunes that I knew. I was familiar with Dionne Warwick but did not know the other two. But hearing someone sing about Jesus caught my attention.
I walked over to listen for a while. It was at that time I heard her first singing Amazing Grace with her mom and aunt. I remember thinking “Wow what a voice”. When they finished the song, I introduced myself. She was a nice sweet young lady and she informed me that she had just finished recording her debut album, and I said, “me too”. Being a young cocky man in my early 20’s I responded, “We will see whose album does the best”. We both laughed. History will remember Whitney Houston as arguably the greatest voice of our generation. Laughably, my album was never released.
We were placed together side by side on the stage during all the recording, so I was able to spend a lot of time with her during the taping of the video. She was one of the nicest people that I ever had the privilege to meet. At the end of the shoot, there were two things I was sure of.
One-Whitney Houston had the greatest voice that I had ever heard or ever would hear.
Two-Whitney Houston definitely loved Jesus.
It saddened me to see her struggle with drug addiction most of her life, but there is no one that can play with drugs and not have their life devastated. I too for a few years had my life ravaged by drug addiction, as did many members of the “Stop the Madness” cast. Her lines in her solo in the song ring out in my ears, ”Drugs are causing pain, and everyone’s a loser in this deadly game that’s played”.
At this time we do not know the cause of her death but I have read the tabloids which say that she had gotten her life straightened out and she was recorded at a gala singing “Yes Jesus Loves Me” hours before her death. I heard Whitney tell me of her love for Jesus and no matter how hard the way became for her in life I know that never changed. I also know that the love of God in Christ Jesus never left her and I believe that He was always there to comfort her sorrow in her times of need. God was always there for me when I was addicted to drugs and I know that He was there for Whitney also.
I am very sad that her life has passed and I will always remember her powerful singing voice that gently spoke the words to me that day as she grasped my hand so that I would know what she knew-she said- “Jesus means everything to me”. That is how I will remember Whitney Houston.