On Saturday night when my husband told me that Whitney Houston had died, there was a moment of disbelief and I spent the rest of the evening listening to what others like Simon Cowell were saying about her legacy. In an age of auto-tune created success, gimmicks and avant garde costumes, I believe that Whitney’s passing reminds those of us who love and appreciate music, who’ve studied music, and who understand what it takes to do what Whitney made seem effortless, that true talent always withstands the test of time. Listen to any Whitney Houston song and it is still as fresh and vibrant today as it was when she was atop the Billboard charts week after week in the 1980s and 1990s.

When you try to sing a Whitney song, you realize instantly why she was one of the absolute best ever because she would hit a note in one octave and instead of going down and coming back to that octave, Whitney would hold the note and go up another octave, so that two or three octaves later she had lost even some of the best singers. But then, Whitney also understood control and finesse and could take a simple song like “Jesus Loves Me” to another level with little or no vocal gymnastics. That’s why we were all rooting for Whitney, that’s why we will miss her deeply. Because in an age when you can be popular or famous with absolutely no discernable talent, Whitney reminds us all that in the end, it is unequivocal talent that inspires and endures.

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