I started to hear raspiness in it around the time the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack came out. That was 1996.
Some of you will think I'm crazy for saying this, but her voice started to go as early as 1990, maybe earlier. Anytime a singer stops singing high notes altogether it means they can't or it's too difficult for them. Whitney doesn't even sing the chorus at all in this performance of So Emotional from 1990.
I was going to say the same as R1. The Bodyguard only came out in 1992 and Waiting to Exhale in 1995, only 3 years later. Sadly in ""Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," she had nowhere near the same range and depth of "I Will Always Love You."
Darlin', you can't expect to smoke rock chronically for 20 years and not lose your voice.
I think when one is on a big multi-date tour there is a lot of stress and strain on one's voice. So, it's natural that an artist reserve her voice on some/most nights over the long haul of the a big tour.
bump for scientific data
Yeah, r5, I was recently thinking about which would be harder mentally; psyching yourself up for a big Madonna-style dancefest night after night, or doing a Whitney/Mariah-esque 2-hour show night after night. Both have got to be exhausting in their own ways. That period where Whitney was doing "I Will Always Love You" constantly could not have been easy.
It was obvious by the time the "My Love Is Your Love" album that the days of high notes were gone since all of the songs on that album are her singing in a more subdued way (but it worked for her).
So I would say somewhere between 1995 and 1998.
She probably wasn't taking care of her voice during all the shouting in the '80's. And doesn't having a C-section usually knock-off an octave for some reason? That, drugs, drink... byt the time she did the infamous Diane Sawyer interview her speaking voice was hoarse.
Most pop singers stop learning about their voice after they learn projection.
Opera singers typically have a much longer shelf life because they understand and respect their instrument and train for years.
[quote]Opera singers typically have a much longer shelf life because they understand and respect their instrument and train for years.
Proper gospel singers do as well.
Lashun Pace (Southern gospel singer) has been through a very great deal and she never lost her voice.
Poor Whitney Houston, and yes I am saying poor all Datalounge Mary style, smoked her voice to oblivion.
Whitney's best singing was on the Preacher's Wife (97-98). My Love Is Your Love may not have had the high notes, but she was still capable of hitting them as she often did in the subsequent world tour in 1999. Her last great live show was at Arista 25 in 2000. Since then, a few performances in 2004/5, she had mostly lost the voice.
Do you think it has something to do with deep-throating Bobby Brown?
When did her speaking voice get so raspy? It seemed to be ok during the 1994 Grammy Awards when she won for "The Bodyguard", but a few years later, her speaking voice was completely shot.
I heard after Whitney died, that she had covered the Stevie Nicks song "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You" for her last album, but it was cut at the last minute. Interesting, since they both killed their voices with their various habits.
Actually, it's not linear. She lost her voice, severely, but later recovered some of it and sounded great....then fell off again later. It's weird but encouraging that it was still under there somewhere if she could just stay sober. Some people lose it and that's IT.
Chaka Khan said that she had tried to get Whitney to get vocal cord surgery..I wonder if Whitney would have done it?
They sent out search parties in 2002. They never returned.
r18 = Hate-Retha
Whitney Houston Insider Reveals Singer's Anguished Fight to Win Back Her Voice-
In the 1980s and 1990s, such ballads as "I Will Always Love You" and her groundbreaking performance of the national anthem firmly established Houston as a singer whose soaring vocals -- capable of mammoth crescendos and jaw-dropping chord modulations -- had no rivals.
But after years of hard-living, including drug use and smoking, Houston's voice had become a shell of its former self.
"She'd say, 'I know I've done things that have hurt me ... and I have to change it,'" Catona said.
Catona began working with Houston in 2005. By then, he said, "her speaking voice was completely hoarse, and her singing voice was completely hoarse."
"She had virtually had maybe one or two tones in her lower register, that was it," he said.
She may not have been as she was at her peak, but she never actually "lost" her voice. If you google "I didn't know my own strength" from the 2009 AMAs (sorry I can't post the link from my phone) on YouTube, you'll see that even then, she still had it. Maybe she couldn't have hit those high notes like in some of her older songs, but its still a stellar brilliant performance and she sounds great.
It's funny that most people who are not professional singers or vocal coaches have a lot to say. Yes Whitney didn't have any formal training. And secondly she did have an substance abuse problem for a number of years. Okay with that said it is quite possible that she had some issues before the drugs came into play. There is a difference between having natural talent and having formal training. Remember those veins that used to pop out of her neck when she belted out those high notes, not a good sign without formal training to relax those pipes she had. Even if she didn't have a substance abuse problem her voice would have had diminished considerably. During the Bodyguard era she had to cancel several engagements because of throat issues. And so once again stated previously as great a talent she was you have to take care of the instrument god has given you, even without substance abuse issues.
FYI, R22- she was smoking cigarettes and doing cocaine, both at times on a daily basis, in 1986.
[quote]She may not have been as she was at her peak, but she never actually "lost" her voice.
Yeah, actually, she did, at least for a while. Here's a clip of her trying to sing at the Torino Olympics in 2006.
I do concur that she was able to salvage some of it, and I liked the different character that her voice took on (à la Marianne Faithfull).
She sang magnificently and powerfully on the Oprah show in 2009 which was four days after the big Oprah interview with her at Towne Hall in NYC.
When was the come-back tour where Whitney's voice was wrecked and people were walking out of her concerts because her voice sounded so terrible?
By the time she recorded "It's Not Right But It's OK" in the late 1990s, she could save up her resources and still belt it out full diva style in the studio on a good day - as evidenced by that climactic line "you were makin' a FOOL of me, yeeeeEEAAAAAAAAH!" in strong high vibrato -- but she could not do it repeatedly on tour.
Just a few years later (2000) she couldn't even hit that note for two seconds in studio.
Well her big duet with Mariah was 1997/8 and Whitney sounded fine then.
[quote]When was the come-back tour where Whitney's voice was wrecked and people were walking out of her concerts because her voice sounded so terrible?
2010. There are clips from it on YouTube as well. Here's one from Birmingham, UK.
What I'm really interested in is not her voice but when did the big slide into hell start for her. When did she totally succumb to the drugs? It intrigues me because most celebs who have a drug problem it is evident even to the public early on in their career right? But even if (and I say if cause I don't know) Whitney was doing drugs all along she was professionally fine until she just wasn't. Boom. Game fucked up.
So when did it start to show to everybody including the public?
When did she do the Cinderella movie with Brandy? Her voice seemed to be ok in that one.
R29, that is horrifying
So odd, because in 2009 on the Oprah show, she sang magnificently.
And only one year later, her voice is destroyed.
r22 I can see what you are talking about. The clip at r33 shows it. The louder and harder she sings the more her voice starts failing as she is singing and her neck muscles are bulging. I don't know why she just didn't try and learn the proper way to sing because you can hear she still had the capabilities vocally.
R33, did she sing only that one song during her appearance on Oprah? Well, maybe she was able to manage a song or two but had lost the strength and staying power needed to sing an entire concert. Didn't all the concert tour reviews say that she let her backing singers do all the complicated parts of difficult songs? In any case she shouldn't have even tried to sing IWALY. Even on a good day her voice just wasn't up to the demands of her version of that song. She might have managed if she'd tried it the way Dolly originally sang it.
Smoking? Sinatra smoked Camel for most of his life and sang well for 40 years as did all of the old timers.
C-section? Where'd you get that? Whitney never really had a baby, let alone a c- section, since she is not the kid's biological mother.
Sinatra was a crooner. Whitney was a belter. Smoking could have easily affected her voice more noticeably than it did his.
Whitney not the biological mother of Bobbi Kristina?
Whitney is, of course, the biological mother, isn't she?
1996 when she was on tour, if you look at her performance at Brunei in 1996 she could reach those high notes but you can see it takes more effort then it used to. She later cancelled dates and I am guessing she had nodules, she never really hit the high notes again. Although her range had reduced after 1996 her voice kept its power till around 1999 then it was very much down hill from then. The crack just burnt her cords and lungs, such a shame!
You guys, it's like Alzheimer's. It goes little by little, not all at once. One day you sound horrible, next day great.
Here's another clip of her singing I Didn't Know My Own Strength in 2009, from the AMA awards. She sounds pretty good and the audience loves her. It seems that her voice could be OK one day and gone the next.
The vocal decline began sometime around 1993 during her Bodyguard Tour. Although her voice was strong this time, it was darker than it was during the 80s (she used to have a light mezzo soprano voice). She also developed nodules during this tour but was unable to cancel gigs, hence the irreversible voice damage. You can check out YouTube videos of her singing All At Once in 1993-1994, where she couldn't sing the soft parts, a telltale sign that she lost the ability to sing in the middle register. She either had to belt out soft notes or sing them in falsetto. She also began to rely much on doing runs instead of singing notes straight, but you could dismiss such vocal improvisations as her artistry. Her register breaks became more pronounced. In the succeeding years, her voice became weaker gradually. From 1996, you no longer heard her holding high notes. She would hit a high note, for instance, and then do runs going down her range. Beyond 2000, she mostly had bad singing days. A good performance became a rarity. She couldn't sing nicely in her 2010 tour, but her 2009 Oprah performance and her 2011 duet with Kim Burrell were considerably remarkable. But her voice was nowhere near her 80s and 90s voice.
[quote]She may not have been as she was at her peak, but she never actually "lost" her voice
Meanwhile, in the real world . . . Her solo in Divas Live Las Vegas was the worst singing I have ever seen on TV -- and I've watched American Idol.
It was so bad that it was cut from all reshowings. She sounded pitful, trying to hit any note she could find.
Her best work, artistically, was in 1997 The Preacher's Wife soundtrack, of mostly gospel music. She was in fantastic voice.
Performing I Will Always Love You ad nauseum all over the damn world had Whitney's voice weakened by the late 90s (98/99).
Her voice sounds completely different on the My Love is Your Love album. More raspier & deeper and not as much use of her higher register...
It wasn't just I Will Always Love You but all the other difficult songs in her concert repertoire as well. Most of the songs she performed live were difficult songs, and she had to sing them in lower key in her concerts. Songs like The Greatest Love of All, Saving All My Love for You, All At Once, Didn't We Almost Have It All, and so on were difficult songs. Sing all them in an hour or two, and your voice will get tired.
It was all those times that she yelled BobBAAAAY that did her in.
In 1993 bodyguard, you hear the legato between the high the middle voice getting lost.
In 1996 she hear clearly her voice losing it flexibility, in 1997 iwaly ca no longer be belted the long high(notes) ever again. High voice gone.
In 1998 a concert in germany she almost sounds like her last tour halve way the show, but still can belt. The was also told on the german tv. But she kept performing.
2000-1 her voice sound changed qua sound, the rest down hill.
Her top was max 5 till 7 years.
I think in the end she killed her lungs more then her voice, study crack lung and you'll what i mean/
With i believe duet with mariah, she breathes like a old cole-miner....
--Most of the songs she performed live were difficult songs, and she had to sing them in lower key in her concerts. Songs like The Greatest Love of All, Saving All My Love for You, All At Once, Didn't We Almost Have It All, and so on were difficult songs. Sing all them in an hour or two, and your voice will get tired.--
Tuning songs down means less using the use of your voice, and if she was no longer able to sing the properly, she should have quit the drugs, eat better, and do more voice building.
You can train you voice to keep on working even with these songs. But you gotta put some input there and not just taking, cause your voice will strike.
But whitney did what she did best, whatever she wanted. though what thy wilt(satanism), still believe she is with jesus?? Why cause she could sing some gospel songs so good? Sorry but that just does not do it.
Where was she all these year with drugs in church, I doubt it.
And where is she now?
And stop glorifying her last tour, that was a disgrace.... incl the prices(the highest) she turned her self in a joker on any level.
She once was the best, once. But destroyed it all.
Why does anyone think the performance in R33's link is great? She is talk/singing and her voice is rough. She looks wacked too.
Somehow I think Oprah knew Whitney wasn't completely clean and just wanted a triumphant interview.
The Oprah and AMA 2009 performances were likely post production assisted and had autotune, they definitely seem doctored and too perfect.
The trainwreck Dancing with the Stars perf. from then is something else.
And the worst of all time is of course that Winter Olympics one which is actually heartbreaking to watch, the crowd is laughing at her.
I saw her on that last tour and she lipped the first and last uptempos and was a mess, but it's Whitney. Unlike the other vocal divas she had magnetic charisma and stage presence. The crowd were willing on her on regardless and just wanted to see a legend. Little did we know that would be the last we'd ever see.
This really was tragic, after this we knew she was back on the crack.
Nonetheless that last album was surprisingly decent, among her best as the albums were usually patchy and the comeback was worth it alone for Million Dollar Bill, a good swansong.
The fact she had such a voice is a miracle. She smoked (and did drugs) from the start which I can't believe, where did that pureness come from.
Apparently her brother stabbed her in the neck when younger, just missing the throat and I read that she tripped on a coathanger and it got stuck in her mouth as a kid or something.
I think Whitney did sing properly most of the time. One story I read was she told Brandy she wasn't singing properly on Cinderella and she had to sing from the diaphragm.
To expect singers to replicate the studio versions of difficult songs night after night is unrealistic. Celine lips, Christina lipped parts of "Hurt" with her back turned to the crowd and never sung the high bit of "Beautiful" live. One person who did it exactly like the studio version was Mariah, probably one reason that contributed to her decline.
The thing is Whitney NEVER sang the songs live like the album version, so if you want it more polished and studio-like then you won't like her live. She said she did the songs in the studio in one take which seems doubtful. Whitney on record was pop, live she was soul. I much prefer this version of GLOA to the schlocky Disney single version.
I don't understand why they haven't cashed in more instead of releasing another boring GH.
If they released a live CD/DVD of the classic performances her reputation as a singer would be greatly enhanced.
Obviously her legacy is safe and nobody would contest how great a singer she was, but many have a huge problem with the bland material and can't get past that.
The live versions and arrangements really outstrip the studio versions. I like the album versions cause of the iconic vocals, but live is much more soulful.
Ya'll better look out talking about Nippy. Ms. Dionne is gunna hear and come running from that Motown B'way thread
Whitney didn't such live very much because she had very poor vocal technique. You can see when she sang on television and there were closeups just how badly she sang. She muscled her way through her songs instead of singing on the breath and using her support. You can belt and still sing for a long time. You can even belt and smoke and sing for a long time. But you cannot use your throat muscles to sing high notes and sing for very long. It simply doesn't work that way.
No one loses their voice all at once....
Here is Whitney in 1997, the decline had certainly started, and was quite noticeable but she sings the sweet hell out of this painful joint.
I have seen Whitney many times and have about a thousand performances of hers on You Tube - this is one of my favourites. It foreshadows something about her life, her increased drug use, and her ability to work within the parameters of her voice as she aged and it deteriorated. She never stopped being able to connect and only grew more soulful. The magnificence of her voice would leave, and eventually stay gone, but she always stood tall and gave all that she had. She is still in her greatness here, but the pop princess shackles are thrown off. She wanted the life she lead, I am pretty sure.
I am a fan of all ages and stages of Whitney Houston's voice. It was a thrill when no one could top or stop her and her phenomenal vocal abilities were completely under her control. She had the confidence of her great talent, and it was not primarily destroyed by poor technique. (It's called a chest belt, and no one, NO ONE, had an upper chest belt like Whitney)
Houston was a crack addict and that and the pain and life of that is what destroyed her voice. Not throat singing. Who cares? She was the best.
"Hurt so Bad"
Houston at the very top of her game and profession. Stunning in every way.
Beautiful rich supported lower register, that thrilling chest voice with it's clarion call, and hell yeah some throat singing and growls, soulful moans and pretty trills, and that sweet melodic head voice.
She was not an opera singer. She is Whitney Fucking Houston. The best church girl pop/soul vocalist ever.
"Porgy/I am Telling You/I Have Nothing"
Whitney Houston at the Rain Forest Concert, the night she shyly showed off her mezzo soprano voice with Pavarotti.
The video quality is not great, but this is probably her most technically beautiful performance of "I Will Always Love You."
Re, pardon me, but you can't get through a one-syllable word on a quarter note without taking three breaths in the midst of it. Hearing you sing sounds like an angry old tomcat stuck in the bellows-testing shed.
You just shut up about my Nippy. Cissy did the best she could, considering she had all that money to count.
And don't brag that you'll never die drowning in the bathtub like Nippy did. It would take an Orca-lift to get you into one and then there wouldn't be room for any water. And I'm not the only one who's seen you getting hosed and scrubbed down over at the Sunset Carwash, baby. I hear you axe for extra wax on your undercarriage.
[quote]I am a fan of all ages and stages of Whitney Houston's voice.
Me too. Some of her best work came post Exhale when the drugs consumed her. Even in her last studio recording, I think the song I Look to You is her most beautiful and heartbreaking, in a way she couldn't have done at the peak of her powers.
The young elegant Whitney always seemed older than her years. Here she is in 1991 blowing the roof that auditorium.
I agree about I Look to You. Beautiful. There was a bit of a "hole" in her sound then, but so much resonance and heart it makes me cry. I listen to that song often.
Here is the young coltish Whitney, singing with her brother when she opened for Luther Vandross. Not yet the poised diva, just sweet and joyful. Her young voice was unbelievably pretty and then it got better:)
[quote]To expect singers to replicate the studio versions of difficult songs night after night is unrealistic.
That is a ridiculous assertion and from the same delusional fantasy world where a professional entertainer can't possibly sing and dance at the same time.
Ridiculous r74? Rather than being all snotty drama queen, tell us what you know and add to the discussion rather than being so negative and insulting. Me and another poster up thread said we were interested in tech knowledge.
Anyone here is happy to be corrected but not if someone is being patronising.
I gleam from what you say there that it's all about correct technique and voice preservation? Opera and Broadway singers are better at the night after night thing I suppose. I imagine preserving the voice takes a lot of dedication.
Pop singers from what I can see on the whole with their hectic lifestyles damage their voice and it starts to go/change when they become older.
Three I can think of kept their voice well into the late stages of their career: Donna Summer was the best at this and her loss just after Whit was very sad, Barbra who didn't sing as much after the 90s and Patti Labelle.
The aforementioned Carey was perfectionist and recreated the studio versions verbatim, till she toned it down (some would say became more soulful) and now her voice is shot to smithereens. These big voice technical singers may have problems but others could be fine.
As for the dancing I believe people are talking about Janet Jackson-style choreography rather than Broadway which you certainly can't reasonably sing to, so you're the one making assumptions and generalizations there.
Actually the tech knowledge was from the lovely poster in the Winehouse thread.
One thing I left out was Mariah had nodules from the start and worked around them, or so I read. Whitney developed them too?
Those who had the surgery include the unfortunate and changed forever (Elton) and the tragic (Julie Andrews). I can't believe she did that recent London concert thing, thought her singing voice had literally gone for good.
Lainey is pretty cool.
She is not about outing people but has done lots of straight up talk. I like that she has celeb biases and they are based on more than a hunch.
Long before the Reese W. arrest she said many times that she is not such a nice woman.
I know her, don`t love her, but she knows that.
Lainey likes Gwyneth and that makes her a target on DL. But she likes her excess and stupidity and her style. That is kind of who Paltrow is.
But as R7 said, she is fickle and that is kind of how we all are about pop culture. Nasty way to make a living, but she is not dumb.
Lainey no doubt covers for some celebs, more access means less dirt. But she is not a nice chick. She may seem to keep her nasty comments to fashion these days, but there are truffles in her shit. I am kind of against her biz.
There is no such thing as a `breaking` celebrity story anymore, so she can only comment and add flavour and style. She does ok with that. I think she is fearless at times, AND has her favourites. She didn`t used to work from fear of access. I think it has changed.
In life, she is not nice, ever. Even when she thinks she is friendly, she is cold, cold. I am not a friend, but have met her many times.
She might be the next big thing, or what she started out as......
Jesus fucking Christ, oops. Wrong place and time for Lainey, not sure how that happened.
Her voice here has that hole in her nose and some sound of emphysema and age in her lungs - the phrases short, the chords thick. For a fan, it was hard to hear, but who else had that tone, and that resonance or grace. She was not yet gone.
There are many live performances of her singing this song on You Tube on her last tour, some better than the video. This is her last song in my head. She was done. It was not going to get better.
Her beauty and her voice were drastically different and so far from young. Still a great voice, this is no lie.
I Look to You.
She struggled with everything after 2000. Her last major breathtaking performance was "There Is Music In You" on the Rosie Show. She had some decent moments during the MLIYL era and the GH era.
Yes, and she sang that Rosie performance like it was everyday, any day. Probably not that way backstage, but she must have been semi clean.
My favourite version of I Will Always Love You, was when she was clearly drug sick at the Divas concert. The phrases were shortened a bit, but she hit every note and was beautifully connected to the song and the audience.
The mystery of performance.
Drug sick, more than high. Even the most casual Houston fan has probably seen this video. It is like a scene from a film. She is messed up, in some mid-fall, but gorgeous and still strong.
I cried so hard the day she died.
I Will always Love You.
[quote]Lack of technique, rest, drugs, have all been mentioned, and yes they all played a part in the loss of her voice but don't forget, [bold]so did age[/bold].
No, not at all. She started losing her voice at a very young age. Age had nothing to do with it.