Today would’ve been Whitney Houston’s birthday 53rd birthday and here on the Music Muse we celebrate an icon, a true legend and the voice of our generation.
On this blog, we try to look into the depth of artists and learn from the journeys of those that have come before us in order to be better musicians and more importantly better/happier people too.
Let’s go back to 2009 where a very famous interview took place between Whitney Houston and Oprah Winfrey. This interview premiered a new season on the Oprah Show and was the source of a lot of controversy because of candid and frank and honest Whitney was. Watching the interview furthered confirmed that this women was very unhappy from very early on in her career and I’d like to pin-point some quotes that got me thinking about the media, your image as a female musician and the importance of authenticity as early in your career as possible.
“I wanted out”
Sometime in the early 90s, Whitney was at her peak. Whitney expressed that because of the image of her that was painted by the media (and her label), she felt stifled. How often do we focus on what we think people want to hear instead of focusing on what makes us who we are and then sharing it with the world. Fame is so alluring but at what expense?
“…For years, I have thought that in many ways, the Whitney Houston that we have seen has been a creation of the media.”
~ Oprah Winfrey
We must always be careful of how much of a facade we put up for our craft. The media will always spin things to sell their papers and their audiences will eat it up and interpret it anyway they want. This isn’t something we can control.
“I like to wear jeans and t-shirts and sneakers. On any normal given day, that’s me. I love to get dressed up and I love to do make-up and hair and stuff but that was my performance. That was my entertainment. <But when you were expected to be that all the time (Oprah interjects)> it was too much”
~ Whitney Houston
When do we start to suffer for our work and the things we love? The things we love occasionally. What we know of ourselves and our comfort levels can never be known by our audience if we are constantly giving them something different. As Whitney insinuated – it then becomes to difficult to keep up with and you soon resent it all.
“The pain and frankly disgust we pop fans felt during Houston’s decline was caused not so much by her personal distress as by her seemingly careless treatment of the national treasure that happened to reside within in”
~ The L.A. Times
When we are so deeply loved by your audience, how do we cope when stepping away from the perfection they place on you causes them to take it so personal? There an unimaginable amount of pressure that can be put on us to act in certain ways as musicians. Are you equipped for this? Perceptions should never inform how we choose to behave. We are human too.
I’ve always thought that being a role model is something to aspire to but not if it takes away from your happiness and puts you in a position where you can’t live your own life on your own terms.
Watch the full interview with Oprah here
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