“remember when we held on the rain, the nights we almost lost it, once again, we can’t take the night into tomorrow, living on feelings, touching you I feel it all again”
February 19, 2012, was a fresh Sunday morning, after the hard rain fell the night before. A supposedly jolly day turned grey when the first thing I saw was a flashing text on TV: Whitney Houston, singer and actress, dead at 48.
Even typing those words, a few days after the news broke out, still left me stunned in silence. I had to pause typing just now, much like I opened my mouth in shock in front of TV on the above date, before rushing to my computer and found the news to be true.
Like most of you did, I switched on my iPod, and didn’t take it out most of the day. Out of 60-odd songs of hers in the iPod, I began to sing along to some 40 of them. Without Googling, we know the lyrics to those songs by heart.
The songs, spanning from 1985 to as recent as 2009, covered a good prime spot of one’s lifetime. For early 30s people like me, we cannot help being exposed to her songs, whether we are fans or not.
In fact, it was not her name I wrote down in ‘favorite singers’ most of these time. The entry belongs to other more so-called serious singers we often write to make ourselves look, like it or not, pretentious.
Here’s the thing about Whitney: she never takes herself seriously. Her big voice, while it is undoubtedly her natural talent, is delivered to us with heart. She puts big enough faith in songs she sings, and we cannot help but being drawn to the voice. It is the voice that we notice first, such an overwhelming voice that most of us look up to. Still.
And how we have looked up to her all these time, unknowingly. Doesn’t have to be from the start of her career, but at one point of our life, we listened to her whole album, and before we know, we remember the songs.
For me, the crucial point was before my final exam of elementary school.
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