Writing for Digital Spy, Melissa Bell, a former member of Grammy Award-winning group Soul II Soul and mother of X Factor champion Alexandra Burke, recalls how she first came to hear Houston's much-loved voice, the time she shared a stage with her, and the legacy she leaves behind.
Remembering Whitney, by Melissa Bell.
Whitney Houston has been a major influential factor for my daughter and me.
I was in a Bahamas hotel nightclub when I first heard Whitney sing her duet 'Hold me' with Teddy Pendergrass; I marvelled at the sound of this woman's voice not knowing who she was.
It was only when I returned to the UK and heard the first single 'Saving All My Love For You', and again marvelled at the voice coming out at me from the radio. I waited with bated breath for the DJ to announce who the artist was. I rushed out to buy the album by this new artist 'Whitney Houston', thinking; 'If she sings this good on a single the remainder album must be dynamite!'. Once I played the album I discovered the same track I had heard in the Bahamas. I had stopped singing for six years to raise my family and she made me want to sing again. That's when I became a fan for life.
Little did I know at that time that Whitney was to play such a big part in my career, and that of my daughter's.
Alexandra was inconsolable on Saturday night as the news filtered through. I was in a state of numb shock and total disbelief, hoping it was a hoax.
I had the wonderful opportunity of working with Whitney on three songs for Top of the Pops. Apart from fronting Soul II Soul, that was the highlight of my career for me. She was gracious, very friendly and totally professional - not at all diva like, as some reports may have you believe.
She took time to talk to me personally about my music and what I was doing at the time. She also asked if she could have one of my CDs, which I promptly handed to her. She thanked me and wished me well.
Whitney in her heyday was one of a kind. Her voice oozed so much range, clarity, strength and resonance in every note she uttered. Many a singer would kill to have that skill. I played all her records as the kids were growing up and Whitney was the benchmark when it came to real singers.
I encouraged Alexandra to listen to her. Of course, Alexandra's favourite song was 'Saving All My Love For You' which went on to open doors for her too. Thank you Whitney.
Thank god we have hundreds of recordings to remember her by - many a future singer will still have this unparalleled voice to listen to and learn from.
My heart is heavy as I write this. Fuelled not only by the loss of such a great artist, but the fact that I actually met her and was able to exchange words and connect with her. She was more than just a person on a TV screen; she was someone whose presence I had been in and there will never be another like her.
We have definitely lost an icon. Whitney paved the way for the emergence of many of today's singers, but still no one ever quite did like her. It's hard to match perfection; and that's exactly what Whitney meant to Alexandra and me.
Complete coverage of Whitney Houston's death:
> Whitney Houston 1963-2012: Reactions
> Whitney Houston 1963-2012: Obituary
> Whitney Houston: Her best live performances
> Whitney Houston: A life in pictures
> Whitney Houston: Greatest musical achievements - pictures
> Whitney Houston fans pay tribute - pictures
> Whitney Houston to dominate singles, album charts next week
Take a look through our gallery of Whitney Houston's musical career below: