Whitney Houston – An All Star Tribute

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She was “The Voice”. Simply. No one of this generation can deny this simple fact. She didn’t need massive stage productions or outrageous costumes to showcase her one true instrument. She turned a little known country song into a chart-shattering moment in history (“I Will Always Love You”) and in the nightclub world, gave countless memories to so many, and at least one song of hers is part of your own personal “soundtrack.”

You may have been on the Arena dance floor to dance to Junior Vasquez’s iconic “Step By Step” remix, or you may have hit Paradise to hear David Henney’s classic peak-hour spins of “I Learned From The Best.” Or maybe you were one of the lucky few who got to attend the NYC Pride Pier Dance, where Whitney made a surprise appearance with one of her biggest club hits “It’s Not Right, But It’s Ok.” As a (lucky) front row spectator that day, this was simply one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen.

I was lucky enough to have a large (and eclectic) group of people reach out to me, those that wanted to share their favorite memories of Whitney, as well as their favorite tracks. Some knew her personally (soul singer Betty Wright), others worked with her on some of her biggest hits (music legend Shep Pettibone), and others simply wanted to share how Whitney affected them (actress Lisa Rinna). Each person had such a unique memory, as we all do.

DJ Vito Fun (New York City)- “I remember when Whitney performed at the Tunnel (famed late 90’s NYC club). She came through the back door, right by my DJ booth. Her show was in 45 minutes, but she had her security block off the entrance to my room and just hung out in the DJ booth kicking it with me for over an hour, because they kept pushing her show back. She was so cool and so down to earth. My favorite Whitney track is definitely ‘Love Will Save The Day,’ the Jellybean & David Morales mix.”

Adam Barta (recording artist) “One of the most emotionally charged and powerful songs of Whitney’s for me is “One Moment In Time”. It’s about the shining moment we all have when we realize that our dreams are ours to follow and they’re only a “heartbeat away.  It’s Whitney’s delivery that sends chills down my spine every time I hear it”.
DJ Carl Michael (Philadelphia)-“I remember hearing Whitney’s magic on the radio as a child, and it speaks volumes to the talent that, despite her bumpy road, she managed to continue singing with the same beauty and energy more than 25 years later. Her death is tragic for so many reasons, prime them among the fact that she could have brought another 30 good years of joyful music to this way (too miserable) world”.As for choosing a specific track, it’s hard to choose just one, but the Morales/Jellybean mix of “Love Will Save The Day” is my absolute favorite.
Chris Booker (radio personality); “The Bodyguard; She was so natural at acting. When you are truly talented, you can do it all”.
Dj DeMarko (New York): “My first real experience with Whitney was “So Emotional”. Awesome track to which I still have the acapella and play it to this day! My favorite song is “It’s Not Right, But It’s Ok”; Johnny Vicious & Junior Vasquez slammed the dancefloor with the “Momentous Mix” and “Club 69 Future Club Mixes”!Back then, you’d never seen a dancefloor pack itself in seconds flat. Whitney had a voice that defined “One Moment In Time”, never to be duplicated.
DJ John Michael DiSpirito (New York)-“I’v never had the chance to work with her personally, but I can say this: I’ve heard rumors from legendary DJ Junior Vasquez’s camp that mixes of such tracks as “Million Dollar Bill” & “My Love Is Your Love” may see a label release. Either way, I’m very excited about that. I’m re-working her hit “Step By Step” for my next gig at Paradise & I plan to feature a good amount of Whitney’s raw vocals to showcase her true brilliance”.
Jonathan Jaxson (television personality & blogger)-“I love so many of her tracks; favorite I would have to say would be “Exhale/Shoop Shoop”. This song taught me it is ok to go through life and be hurt by others and even to cry. But life always throws curve balls and all you have to do at the end of the day is brush it off. Remain strong and look inside yourself for the answers.
Stacy Francis (recording artist/”The X-Factor” finalist)-“I love her and I am so sad she is gone. It’s hard to pick a favorite, every song she sang was amazing. She will be forever my inspiration. For every song I sing for the rest of my life.
Hector Fonseca (DJ, Remixer)-“My favorite track of hers is “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”. She is a natural treasure that will never die.
Inaya Day (recording artist)-“Whitney Houston’s voice made the big-voiced pop-ballad POPular; she’s a legend in her own time. My favorite track of hers is “You Give Good Love”.
Lisa Vanderpump (“Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills” star & restauranter)- “An iconic talent that was so rare & tragically taken from us too soon. “I personally Whitney, will always love you”.
Eric Balfour (actor)-“So sad, her voice was so beautiful. One of my favorite Whitney Houston songs is “My Love Is Your Love”.
Vivian Green (recording artist)-“I don’t have a favorite track, I couldn’t possibly narrow it down. There cannot possibly be a singer from my generation who didn’t want to be her at some point whle coming of age. Singing a Whitney Houston song was/is/always will be the measure of a singer with range and power.
Betty Wright (soul music icon)-“I teased her about those perfectly white teeth (LOL); The better to sing with my dear! My favorite songs of Whitney’s are “I Love the Lord” and “I Have Nothing”.
Sherry Vine (New York City drag superstar)-“I’m so sad! My favorite ballad of Whitney’s is “All The Man That I Need” and the uptempo “Queen Of The Night”.
Chely Wright (country superstar)-My favorite Whitney moment is the Super Bowl anthem. I’ve listened to it at least a dozen times every year for 20 years. I am moved to tears every time.
Adam Joseph (recording artist)-“Whitney’s voice is the definition of perfection with endless soul and just the right blend of confidence and vunerability. My favorite song of hers is “I Believe In You & Me”.
Michael Musto (Village Voice columnist)-“Didn’t We Almost Have It All” is my favorite track. She turns it into a 3-act opera, building and modulating with amazing fierceness”.
Aiden Leslie (Recording Artist)- “Whenever you watched Whitney, it was like taking a master class in commanding presence. She owned the stage, and committed  to whatever she was doing. It was more than just “the voice”. She was a superstar”.
DJ Brian Cua (DJ/Remixer)-“Growing up, I’ve listened to alot of Whitney Houston songs; for me, “I Have Nothing” represents her peak. Everything here was flawless, the voice, the arrangement. Whitney inspired a generation of female singers here in the Philippines, and continues to be the standard in vocal perfornance today. We’ve produced a lot of performers in her mold, most notably, Charice. There can never be anyone like her.
DJ Sin Morera (DJ/Remixer)-“I think that Whitney Houston’s death had a deeper and stronger effect on the gay community than Michael Jackson’s for some reason, at least it did for me. She’s in a good place, but my prayers go out to her family. It’s never easy losing someone and it never really goes away. You just learn to live with it.
Chris Ryan (New York City party promoter)-“Certainly “I Will Always Love You” is my favorite track. The ending scene of “The Bodyguard” is the first movie that I ever cried to. The scene where she jumps off the plane to give Kevin Costner one last hug was so overly emotional for me.
Orfeh (recording artist)-“Whitney was a once in a lifetime talent that could summon the angels. My favorite ballad of hers is “I Have Nothing”, while my favorite uptempo track is “I’m Your Baby Tonight”.
Larry Flick (Sirius/XM host/executive producer)-I’m still haunted by the fact that her music provided so much comfort to so many, yet no one could seem to comfort her in return. My favorite song of Whitney’s is “Exhale/Shoop Shoop”.
Ultra Nate’ (recording artist)-“I grew up listening to the pristine voice of Whitney Houston. My heart hurts when I think about her no longer being here. “I Wil Always Love You” is a spectacular piece”.
Betty Buckley (Broadway Icon)-“She was a goddess of song; one of the greatest voices of all time. My favorite track is “I Will Always Love You”.
Adam Sank (comedian, host)-“I don’t know if gay men of my generation had the kind of emotional connection that we do to say, Madonna.. But her voice was still part of the soundtrack of our lives for decades. Even with her diminished profile over the last few years, it’s very strange to imagine a world without Whitney”.
DJ Stephen Durkin (Rehoboth Beach, Philadelphia)-“Right after the 9/11 attacks , I played Whitney’s version of the National Anthem at Woody’s in Philadelphia. We lit candles all over the booth and turned the lights out, and then we set off cannon explosives in the bar. The place went absolutely nuts”!
Muzo (founder of L.A. based blog Muzophile)-“There are all of her classics, but my top two favorite Whitney tracks were “Moment Of Truth” (the B-Side to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”) and “Love Is A Contact Sport” off of the “Whitney” album.
My favorite memory-don’t laugh! (LOL). As a thirteen year old “straight” guy, I had posters of Whitney all over my room. My friends thought it was because I thought she was so hot, but it was really because she was so fierce! The world has truly lost a legend, there will never be another Whitney.”
The remix package was sublime, especially the show-no-mercy Hex Hector & Mac Quayle anthem. It went straight to #1 that year and remains a favorite of mine to this day.
Keo Nozari (DJ, Next Magazine columnist)-Whitney Houston not only had a huge impact on pop and R&B music, but her contributions to dance music are considerable. Many critics dismissed “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” at the time, but 25 years later, it’s a classic that still works on the floor.  A vocal talent like that only comes along once in a lifetime.”
DJ Musikdawg (New York)-I worked on her account at Arista Records from 2000-20001 and I remember the joy I felt when someone handed me the double 12″ promo vinyl from “I Learned From The Best”. I always knew Whitney would do amazing justice to a Diane Warren ballad, and this was one I wanted to hear tearing up our dancefloors.
John Fugelsang (comedian and television host)-“As for a favorite track, I’ll go with “All The Man That I Need” because no one else will. It’s really an underrated ballad.
Jonathan Lovitz-(cast member, LOGO’s “Setup Squad”, actor)-“Nothing makes me smile or feel like a 14-year old girl in leg warmers like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”.
Jeffrey Sanker (Promoter, White Party Palm Springs, CA)-“Whitney Houston was an iconic woman who touched our lives with her beautiful voice. She will be missed dearly”.
Lisa Rinna (actress)-“I Will Always Love You” is my favorite track. Her voice was a God-given gift that came through her like angels taking flight.
DJ Alex Acosta (DJ/Remixer)-Choosing one song would be tough for me, but I can say “I’m Every Woman” and “The Greatest Love Of All” are my favorites. However, everything she did was magnificent. Her voice was unique and I grew up with it.
Martha Wash-(recording artist, original Weather Girl)-She had a once in a lifetime voice. There are too many songs of hers to have a “favorite”; I’d say “Count On Me” and the entire “The Bodyguard” soundtrack”.
Lea Black (Founder, The Black’s Gala, castmember “The Real Housewives Of Miami)-“Remember only the good. Unless we’ve walked in someone’s shoes-we don’t know what choices we would make. My favorite track of hers is “One Moment In Time”
DJ Sal Dano-“I never had the honor of remixing her. Two of my favorite remixes of Whitney’s were Tony Moran’s remix of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and Peter Rauhofer’s “The Greatest Love Of All”.
Jason Dottley (recording star and actor)-The second C.D. I ever bought (following Madonna’s Immaculate Collection) was “The Bodyguard” soundtrack. I probably dance around my bedroom “performing” “I’m Every Woman” so many times, I’m surprised I didn’t wear the CD out!
DJ Abe Clements (DJ & remixer)-“The premature departure of global icon Whitney Houstonis nothing short of a detrimental loss to the music industry and fans alike. Growing up, I distinctly remember being amazed and influenced by her flawless vocal performances and how they could be remixed into dancefloor masterpieces (i.e. “I Learned From The Best” and “It’s Not Right But It’s Ok”)
Shep Pettibone (remixer, producer, Paradise nightclub owner & music icon)-“While doing “So Emotional” with Whitney, I never realized how emotional that song would be to me one day. And sadly, that day is here; She was always a sheer joy to work with. I’l always remember her always calling my by my full name “Shep Pettibone”, not just Shep, in that quick quippy sort of way of hers.Adam Barta (recording artist) “One of the most emotionally charged and powerful songs of Whitney’s for me is “One Moment In Time”. It’s about the shining moment we all have when we realize that our dreams are ours to follow and they’re only a “heartbeat away.  It’s Whitney’s delivery that sends chills down my spine every time I hear it”.

DJ Carl Michaels (Philadelphia)- “I remember hearing Whitney’s magic on the radio as a child, and it speaks volumes to the talent that, despite her bumpy road, she managed to continue singing with the same beauty and energy more than 25 years later. Her death is tragic for so many reasons, prime among them the fact that she could have brought another 30 good years of joyful music to this way too miserable world. As for choosing a specific track, it’s hard to choose just one, but the Morales/Jellybean mix of ‘Love Will Save The Day’ is my absolute favorite.”

Chris Booker (radio personality)- “The Bodyguard; She was so natural at acting. When you are truly talented, you can do it all”.

DJ DeMarko (New York)- “My first real experience with Whitney was “So Emotional.” Awesome track to which I still have the a capella and play it to this day! My favorite song is ‘It’s Not Right, But It’s Ok.’ Johnny Vicious & Junior Vasquez slammed the dance floor with the ‘Momentous Mix’ and ‘Club 69 Future Club Mixes!’ Back then, you’d never seen a dance floor pack itself in seconds flat. Whitney had a voice that defined ‘One Moment In Time,’ never to be duplicated.”

DJ John Michael DiSpirito (New York)- “I’ve never had the chance to work with her personally, but I can say this: I’ve heard rumors from legendary DJ Junior Vasquez’s camp that mixes of such tracks as ‘Million Dollar Bill’ & ‘My Love Is Your Love’ may see a label release. Either way, I’m very excited about that. I’m re-working her hit ‘Step By Step’ for my next gig at Paradise. I plan to feature a good amount of Whitney’s raw vocals to showcase her true brilliance.”

Jonathan Jaxson (television personality & blogger)- “I love so many of her tracks; favorite I would have to say would be ‘Exhale/Shoop Shoop.’ This song taught me it is okay to go through life and be hurt by others and even to cry. But life always throws curve balls and all you have to do at the end of the day is brush it off. Remain strong and look inside yourself for the answers.”

Stacy Francis (recording artist/”The X-Factor” finalist)- “I love her and I am so sad she is gone. It’s hard to pick a favorite, every song she sang was amazing. She will be forever my inspiration for every song I sing for the rest of my life.”

Hector Fonseca (DJ, Remixer)- “My favorite track of hers is ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody.’ She is a natural treasure that will never die.

Inaya Day (recording artist)– “Whitney Houston’s voice made the big-voiced pop-ballad popular. She’s a legend in her own time. My favorite track of her’s is ‘You Give Good Love.’

Lisa Vanderpump (“Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills” star & restauranter)- “An iconic talent that was so rare and tragically taken from us too soon. I, personally, Whitney, will always love you.” 

Eric Balfour (actor)- “So sad, her voice was so beautiful. One of my favorite Whitney Houston songs is ‘My Love Is Your Love.’ “

Vivian Green (recording artist)- “I don’t have a favorite track. I couldn’t possibly narrow it down. There cannot possibly be a singer from my generation who didn’t want to be her at some point while coming of age. Singing a Whitney Houston song was/is/always will be the measure of a singer with range and power.”

Betty Wright (soul music icon)- “I teased her about those perfectly white teeth – the better to sing with my dear! My favorite songs of Whitney’s are ‘I Love the Lord’ and ‘I Have Nothing.’ “

Sherry Vine (New York City drag superstar)- “I’m so sad! My favorite ballad of Whitney’s is ‘All The Man That I Need’ and the up-tempo ‘Queen Of The Night.’ “

Chely Wright (country superstar)- “My favorite Whitney moment is the Super Bowl anthem. I’ve listened to it at least a dozen times every year for 20 years. I am moved to tears every time.”

Adam Joseph (recording artist)- “Whitney’s voice is the definition of perfection with endless soul and just the right blend of confidence and vulnerability. My favorite song of her’s is ‘I Believe In You & Me.’ “

Michael Musto (Village Voice columnist)- ” ‘Didn’t We Almost Have It All’ is my favorite track. She turns it into a three act opera, building and modulating with amazing fierceness.”

Aiden Leslie (Recording Artist)- “Whenever you watched Whitney, it was like taking a master class in commanding presence. She owned the stage and committed to whatever she was doing. It was more than just ‘the voice.’ She was a superstar.”

DJ Brian Cua (DJ/Remixer)- “Growing up, I’ve listened to a lot of Whitney Houston songs. For me, ‘I Have Nothing’ represents her peak. Everything here was flawless – the voice, the arrangement. Whitney inspired a generation of female singers here in the Philippines, and continues to be the standard in vocal perfornance today. We’ve produced a lot of performers in her mold, most notably, Charice. There can never be anyone like her.”

DJ Sin Morera (DJ/Remixer)- “I think that Whitney Houston’s death had a deeper and stronger effect on the gay community than Michael Jackson’s for some reason – at least it did for me. She’s in a good place, but my prayers go out to her family. It’s never easy losing someone and it never really goes away. You just learn to live with it.”

Chris Ryan (New York City party promoter)- “Certainly ‘I Will Always Love You’ is my favorite track. The ending scene of ‘The Bodyguard’ is the first movie that I ever cried to. The scene where she jumps off the plane to give Kevin Costner one last hug was so overly emotional for me.”

Orfeh (recording artist)- “Whitney was a once in a lifetime talent that could summon the angels. My favorite ballad of hers is ‘I Have Nothing,’ while my favorite up-tempo track is ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight.’

Whitney_Houston

Larry Flick (Sirius/XM host/executive producer)- “I’m still haunted by the fact that her music provided so much comfort to so many, yet no one could seem to comfort her in return. My favorite song of Whitney’s is ‘Exhale/Shoop Shoop.’

Ultra Nate (recording artist)- “I grew up listening to the pristine voice of Whitney Houston. My heart hurts when I think about her no longer being here. ‘I Will Always Love You’ is a spectacular piece.”

Betty Buckley (Broadway Icon)- “She was a goddess of song; one of the greatest voices of all time. My favorite track is ‘I Will Always Love You.’ “

Adam Sank (comedian, host)- “I don’t know if gay men of my generation had the kind of emotional connection that we do to say, Madonna… But her voice was still part of the soundtrack of our lives for decades. Even with her diminished profile over the last few years, it’s very strange to imagine a world without Whitney.”

DJ Stephen Durkin (Rehoboth Beach, Philadelphia)- “Right after the 9/11 attacks, I played Whitney’s version of the National Anthem at Woody’s in Philadelphia. We lit candles all over the booth and turned the lights out, and then we set off cannon explosives in the bar. The place went absolutely nuts!”

Muzo (founder of L.A. based blog Muzophile)- “There are all of her classics, but my top two favorite Whitney tracks were ‘Moment Of Truth’ (the B-Side to ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’) and ‘Love Is A Contact Sport’ off of the Whitney album. My favorite memory? Don’t laugh! As a thirteen year old ‘straight’ guy, I had posters of Whitney all over my room. My friends thought it was because I thought she was so hot, but it was really because she was so fierce! The world has truly lost a legend, there will never be another Whitney. … The remix package was sublime, especially the show-no-mercy Hex Hector & Mac Quayle anthem. It went straight to #1 that year and remains a favorite of mine to this day.

Keo Nozari (DJ, Next Magazine columnist)– “Whitney Houston not only had a huge impact on pop and R&B music, but her contributions to dance music are considerable. Many critics dismissed ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ at the time, but 25 years later, it’s a classic that still works on the floor.  A vocal talent like that only comes along once in a lifetime.” 

DJ Musikdawg (New York)- “I worked on her account at Arista Records from 2000-20001, and I remember the joy I felt when someone handed me the double 12″ promo vinyl from ‘I Learned From The Best.’ I always knew Whitney would do amazing justice to a Diane Warren ballad, and this was one I wanted to hear tearing up our dancefloors.”

John Fugelsang (comedian & television host)- “As for a favorite track, I’ll go with ‘All The Man That I Need’ because no one else will. It’s really an underrated ballad.”

Jonathan Lovitz (cast member, LOGO’s “Setup Squad”, actor)- “Nothing makes me smile or feel like a 14-year old girl in leg warmers like ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody.’ “

Jeffrey Sanker (Promoter, White Party Palm Springs, CA)- “Whitney Houston was an iconic woman who touched our lives with her beautiful voice. She will be missed dearly.”

DJ Alex Acosta (DJ/Remixer)- “Choosing one song would be tough for me, but I can say ‘I’m Every Woman’ and ‘The Greatest Love Of All’ are my favorites. However, everything she did was magnificent. Her voice was unique and I grew up with it.”

Martha Wash (recording artist, original Weather Girl)- “She had a once in a lifetime voice. There are too many songs of her’s to have a favorite. I’d say ‘Count On Me’ and the entire ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack.”

Lea Black (Founder, The Black’s Gala, castmember “The Real Housewives Of Miami)- “Remember only the good. Unless we’ve walked in someone’s shoes, we don’t know what choices we would make. My favorite track of hers is ‘One Moment In Time.’ “

DJ Sal Dano (New York, Philadelphia)-” I never had the honor of remixing her. Two of my favorite remixes of Whitney’s were Tony Moran’s remix of ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and Peter Rauhofer’s ‘The Greatest Love Of All.’ “

Jason Dottley (recording star and actor)- “The second C.D. I ever bought (following Madonna’s ‘Immaculate Collection’) was ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack. I probably danced around my bedroom performing ‘I’m Every Woman’ so many times, I’m surprised I didn’t wear the CD out!”

DJ Abe Clements (DJ & remixer)- “The premature departure of global icon Whitney Houston is nothing short of a detrimental loss to the music industry and fans alike. Growing up, I distinctly remember being amazed and influenced by her flawless vocal performances and how they could be remixed into dancefloor masterpieces (i.e. ‘I Learned From The Best’ and ‘It’s Not Right But It’s Ok’).”

Shep Pettibone (remixer, producer, Paradise nightclub owner & music icon)- “While doing ‘So Emotional’ with Whitney, I never realized how emotional that song would be to me one day. And sadly, that day is here. She was always a sheer joy to work with. I’ll always remember her always calling my by my full name ‘Shep Pettibone,’ not just Shep, in that quick quippy sort of way of hers.”

Lisa Rinna (actress)- ” ‘I Will Always Love You’ is my favorite track. Her voice was a God-given gift that came through her like angels taking flight.”

 

 

She was “The Voice”. Simply. No one of this generation can deny this simple fact. She didn’t need massive stage productions or outrageous costumes to showcase her one true instrument. She turned a little known country song into a chart-shattering moment in history (“I Will Always Love You”) and in the nightclub world, gave countless memories to so many, and at least one song of hers is part of your own personal “soundtrack.”