Monday, February 20, 2012

Latif Ibrahim - An Entertainer For All Seasons

Malaysia lost evergreen singer and actor Latif Ibrahim at 61 on February 20, 2012. The brother of singer and actress Datuk Khadijah Ibrahim and actress Sofia Ibrahim, the uncle of singer and songwriter Firdaus Fuzi and the cousin of actor and producer Rosyam Nor and actor Faizal Hussein, the Alor Gajah-born screen legend was known as the Erik Estrada of Malaysia for his resemblance to the Puerto Rican star of American crime drama series of the 1970s CHiPs.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The death of Whitney Houston has not only robbed the world of a great singer and a most sublime voice, but also a staunch opponent of racism and apartheid.

Houston was a regular in concerts that supported the struggle of South African Blacks against White supremacy and Nelson Mandela also lauded her as a devoted comrade in arms, in her own small but significant way.

A devout Christian, she was a staunch believer in a world without prejudices and she always abhorred war and its destructive effects, especially on the young, sick and infirm.

She also supported Earth Day, along with Michael Jackson, which highlighted the importance of conservation and recycling for our own survival.

Whitney leaves not just a legacy of great music, but also one of honest idealism against prejudice, war and suffering.

RIP Whitney Houston. We will always love you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

PM Najib Razak Pays Tribute To Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston was unmatched in her prime. I remember her true vocals and singing prowess. RIP Whitney Houston - Datuk Seri Najib Razak FB.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston - Eternal Queen Of R&B And Soul

It is most tragic that we have lost the beautiful, angelic, super sexy, super singer Whitney Houston at the age of 49. She was with Madonna and Michael Jackson my childhood idol. I grew up listening to her music and still love it. It was such a blessing that she visited Malaysia and met Jaclyn Victor, the Malaysian Idol she so inspired. Whitney, you will be missed. I'll always love you.

Read all about Whitney Houston from Wikipedia. Let's pray that we will not lose any more superstars tragically young from now on. My black suit and shirts stay on.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all time. Her list of awards includes two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston was also one of the world's best-selling artistes, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. Inspired by prominent soul singers in her family, including her mother Cissy Houston, cousins Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick, and her godmother Aretha Franklin, Houston began singing with New Jersey church's gospel choir at 11. After she began performing alongside her mother in night clubs in the New York City area, she was discovered by producer Clive Davis. Houston released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification.

Houston was the only artiste to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits (Saving All My Love For You, How Will I Know, Greatest Love Of All, I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), Didn't We Almost Have It All, So Emotional and Where Do Broken Hearts Go). She was the second artiste behind Sir Elton John and the only female artiste to have two number-one Top Billboard 200 Album awards on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston's 1985 debut album Whitney Houston, became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone's best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987), became the first album by a female artiste 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, starting with her video for How Will I Know, influenced several African-American female artistes to follow in her footsteps.

Houston's first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album Of The Year. Its lead single I Will Always Love You, became the best-selling single by a female artiste in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week. The album makes her the only female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting To Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996). The Preacher's Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history. Four years after the release of her fourth studio album My Love Is Your Love (1998), she released her fifth studio album Just Whitney and the Christmas-themed One Wish: The Holiday Album. In 2009, Houston released her seventh studio album I Look To You.

Whitney Houston was born in Newark, New Jersey, the third and youngest child of army serviceman and entertainment executive John Russell Houston Jr (September 13, 1920 - February 2, 2003) and gospel singer Cissy Drinkard. Her mother, along with cousins Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick and godmother Aretha Franklin were all notable figures in the gospel, rhythm and blues, pop and soul genres. Houston was raised a Baptist.

At 11, Houston began to follow in her mother's footsteps and started performing as a soloist in the gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she also learned to play the piano.

Houston was also exposed to the music of Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and Roberta Flack.

In 1977, at 14, she became a backup singer on the Michael Zager Band's single Life's A Party. In 1978, at 15, Houston sang background vocals on Chaka Khan's hit single I'm Every Woman, a song she would later turn into a larger hit for herself on her monster-selling The Bodyguard soundtrack album. She also sang back-up on albums by Lou Rawls and Jermaine Aziz Jackson. In the early 1980s, Houston started working as a fashion model after a photographer saw her at Carnegie Hall singing with her mother. She appeared as a lead vocalist on a Paul Jabara album, entitled Paul Jabara And Friends in 1983. She appeared in Seventeen and became one of the first African-American women to grace its cover. She was also featured in layouts in the pages of Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Young Miss and appeared in a Canada Dry soft drink TV commercial. Her striking looks and girl-next-door charm made her one of the most sought after teen models of that time. While modeling, she continued her burgeoning recording career by working with producers Ben Dover, Bill Laswell and Martin Bisi on an album called One Down.

In 1983, Gerry Griffith, an A&R representative from Arista Records saw her performing with her mother in a New York City nightclub and was impressed. He convinced Arista's head Clive Davis to make time to see Houston perform. Davis too was impressed and offered a worldwide recording contract which Houston signed. Later that year, she made her national televised debut alongside Davis on The Merv Griffin Show.

Houston first recorded a duet with Teddy Pendergrass entitled Hold Me which appeared on his album, Love Language. The single was released in 1984 and gave Houston her first taste of success, becoming a Top 5 R&B hit. It would also appear on her debut album in 1985.

With production from Michael Masser, Jermaine Aziz Jackson and Narada Michael Walden, Houston's debut album Whitney Houston was released in 1985. Saving All My Love For You became Houston's first No. 1 single in both the US and the UK. How Will I Know peaked introduced Houston to the MTV audience thanks to its video. Houston's subsequent singles would make her the first African-American female artiste to receive consistent heavy rotation on MTV. By 1986, Whitney Houston topped the Billboard 200 albums chart and stayed there for 14 non-consecutive weeks. The final single, Greatest Love Of All, became Houston's biggest hit at the time.

She won her first Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for Saving All My Love For You that year. She also won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance In A Variety Or Music Programme. Houston won seven American Music Awards in total in 1986 and 1987, and an MTV Video Music Award. The album's popularity would also carry over to the 1987 Grammy Awards when Greatest Love Of All would receive a Record Of The Year nomination. Houston's debut album is listed as one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time and on The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame's Definitive 200 List. Whitney Houston's grand entrance into the music industry is considered one of the 25 musical milestones of the last 25 years, according to USA Today. Following Houston's breakthrough, doors were opened for other African-American female artistes such as Janet Jackson and Anita Baker to find notable success in popular music and on MTV.

Houston’s second album, Whitney, was released in 1987. The album's first single, I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) was a massive hit worldwide, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topping the singles chart in many countries such as Australia, Germany and the UK. The next three singles, Didn't We Almost Have It All, So Emotional and Where Do Broken Hearts Go all peaked at number one on the US Hot 100 chart, which gave her a total of seven consecutive number one hits, breaking the record of six previously shared by The Beatles and The Bee Gees. Houston became the first female artiste to generate four number one singles from one album. Whitney has been certified 9X Platinum in the US for selling 20 million copies worldwide.

At the 30th Grammy Awards in 1988, Houston was nominated for three awards, including Album Of The Year, winning her second Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me). Houston also won two American Music Awards in 1988 and 1989 and a Soul Train Music Award. She was the highest earning African-American woman and the third highest entertainer after Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy.

Houston was a supporter of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. During her modeling days, the singer refused to work with any agencies who did business with the then-apartheid South Africa. On June 11, 1988, during the European leg of her tour, Houston joined other musicians to perform a set at Wembley Stadium in London to celebrate a then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday. Over 72,000 people attended Wembley Stadium and over a billion people tuned in worldwide as the rock concert raised over US$1 million for charities while bringing awareness to apartheid.

In 1989, Houston formed The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, a non-profit organisation that has raised funds for the needs of children around the world. The organisation cares for homelessness, children with cancer or AIDS, environmental awareness and education. Houston took a more urban direction with her third studio album, I'm Your Baby Tonight, released in 1990. She produced it and featured collaborations with L A Reid, Babyface, Luther Vandross and Stevie Wonder. Its first two singles, I'm Your Baby Tonight and All The Man That I Need peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Miracle peaked at number nine.

With America entangled in the Persian Gulf War 1991, Houston performed The Star Spangled Banner at Super Bowl 25 in 1991. It was released as a commercial single and reached the Top 20 of the US Hot 100, making her the only act to turn the national anthem into a pop hit of that magnitude. Houston donated all her share of the proceeds to the American Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund. As a result, the singer was named to the Red Cross Board Of Governors. Her rendition was considered the benchmark for singers and critically acclaimed. Rolling Stone commented that "her singing stirs such strong patriotism."

Throughout the 1980s, Houston was romantically linked to actor Eddie Murphy. She then met R&B singer Bobby Brown at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. After a three year courtship, the two were married on July 18, 1992. Nearly a year later, Houston gave birth to their daughter Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, her first and only child, his fourth. Brown would go on to have several run-ins with the law, including some jail time.

With the commercial success of her albums, movie offers poured in, including offers to work with Robert De Niro, Quincy Jones, and Spike Lee. Houston’s first film role was in The Bodyguard, released in 1992 and co-starring Kevin Costner. Houston played Rachel Marron, a star who is stalked by a crazed fan and hires a bodyguard to protect her. USA Today listed it as one of the 25 most memorable movie moments of the last 25 years in 2007.

The film's soundtrack also enjoyed big success. Houston executive produced and contributed six songs for the motion picture's adjoining soundtrack album. The soundtrack's lead single was I Will Always Love You, written and originally recorded by Dolly Parton in 1974. Houston's version of the song was acclaimed by many critics, regarding it as her "signature song" or "iconic performance." With the follow-up singles I'm Every Woman, a Chaka Khan cover and I Have Nothing both reaching the top five, Houston became the first female artiste to have three singles in the Top 11 simultaneously. The album was certified 17X platinum in the US, with worldwide sales of 44 million, making The Bodyguard the only album by a female act on the list of the world's Top 10 best-selling albums. Houston won three Grammys for the album in 1994, including two of the Academy's highest honours, Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year. In addition, she won a record 8 American Music Awards at that year's ceremony including the Award Of Merit, 11 Billboard Music Awards and 3 Soul Train Music Awards.

In 1994, Houston attended and performed at a state dinner in the White House honouring newly elected South African president Nelson Mandela.

In 1995, Houston starred alongside Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon in her second film Waiting To Exhale, a motion picture about four African-American women struggling with relationships.

The film's accompanying soundtrack, Waiting To Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album, was produced by Houston and Babyface. It also featured Mary J Blige, Aretha Franklin, Toni Braxton, Patti Labelle and Brandy.

In 1996, Houston starred in the holiday comedy The Preacher's Wife with Denzel Washington.

In 1997, Houston produced an African-American version of Cinderella and starred as the Fairy Godmother. The other stars of the movie were Whoopi Goldberg, Brandy, Jason Alexander and Bernadette Peters.

Houston's first studio album in eight years, the critically acclaimed My Love Is Your Love, was released in 1998. It featured production from Rodney Jerkins, Wyclef Jean and Missy Elliott. It contained a duet with Mariah Carey, When You Believe, from the Prince Of Egypt soundtrack.

In 2000, Whitney: The Greatest Hits was released worldwide.

Though Houston was seen as a "good girl" with a perfect image in the 1980s and early 1990s, by the late 1990s, her behaviour changed. She was often hours late for interviews, photo shoots and rehearsals, and canceling concerts and talk-show appearances. With missed performances and weight loss, rumours about Houston using drugs with her husband circulated. On January 11, 2000, airport security guards discovered marijuana in both Houston's and Brown's luggage at a Hawaii airport, but the two boarded the plane and departed before authorities could arrive. Charges were later dropped against her and Brown, but rumours of drug usage between the couple would continue to surface. Two months later, Clive Davis was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Houston had been scheduled to perform at the event, but failed to show up. Shortly thereafter, Houston was scheduled to perform at the Academy Awards but was fired from the event by musical director and long time friend Burt Bacharach.

In 2001, Houston made an appearance on Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special. Her extremely thin frame further spurred rumours of drug use.

In 2002, Houston released her fifth studio album, Just Whitney. The album included productions from then-husband Bobby Brown, as well as Missy Elliott and Babyface, and marked the first time Houston did not produce with Clive Davis.

In 2003, Houston released her first Christmas album One Wish: The Holiday Album.

In 2004, Brown starred in his own reality TV programme, Being Bobby Brown, which provided a view into the domestic goings-on in the Brown household. Though it was Brown's vehicle, Houston was a prominent figure throughout the show, receiving as much screen time as Brown. The series aired in 2005 and featured Houston in, what some would say, not her most flattering moments.

After years of controversy and turmoil, Houston separated from Brown in 2006. In 2007, she was granted custody of their daughter.

In 2007, Whitney Houston performed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, alongside Malaysian Idol's first winner Jaclyn Victor and American Idol 5 second runner-up Elliott Yamin.

Houston released her new album, I Look To You in 2009. The album's first two singles were I Look To You and Million Dollar Bill. The album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1, marking Houston's first number one album since The Bodyguard, and Houston's first studio album to reach number one since 1987's Whitney.

Houston was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey that year. The interview was billed as "the most anticipated music interview of the decade." The interview was so candid that Whitney admitted using drugs with former husband Brown, who "laced marijuana with rock cocaine." By 1996, she told Oprah, "doing drugs was an everyday thing. I wasn't happy by that point in time. I was losing myself." Houston appeared as guest mentor on The X Factor in the United Kingdom.

In 2010, Houston won an NAACP Image Award for Best Music Video (I Look To You).

In 2011, Houston planned to produce and star with American Idol 6 champion Jordin Sparks in the remake of the 1976 film Sparkle.

Houston's death came almost a day before the Grammy Awards 2012. Her longtime collaborators, friends, fans and ex-partners all paid glowing tribute to her as an American legend and First Lady Of Song. They included Brown, Murphy, Parton, Bacharach, Davis, Toni Braxton, Alicia Keys, Usher, Jay-Z, Oprah, Costner, Gary Kemp, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Sheila E, Prince, the Jacksons, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Franklin, Sparks, Victor, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Khan, Carey, Christina Aguilera, Fantasia, Regine Velasquez, Lady Gaga, Charice, Kelly Clarkson and Yamin.