Dionne Warwick and Kelly Price on Whitney Houston's 'Preordained' Voice and Lasting Legacy (Exclusive)

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Whitney Houston’s impact is felt a decade after her death. On Feb. 11, 2012, the GRAMMY-winning superstar died of drowning, and effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use. She was 48.

Now 10 years after her death, Houston's family and friends are speaking to ET's Kevin Frazier about her legacy on and off the stage.

“She was around me so much. She was just like the little girl I never had,” Dionne Warwick, Whitney’s cousin and legendary musician, tells ET. “She was a little devil. She really was. She got everyone in trouble. She would start something and everybody else would get blamed for it. She was a very special baby. She really was.”  

Warwick emotionally adds, “I do miss her terribly, I do, our conversations. She called me with the silliest questions, and I’d give her a silly answer. And that would be the end of that."

The 81-year-old singer says she inspired Houston to make a name for herself in the music industry, showing her the ins and outs of touring.  

“I would take her on the road with me during the summer months,” Warwick says, recalling taking Houston and her cousins on tour with her. “They got to see not only the glitz and glamor and all that stuff, they got to see the other side of it too. Getting up at the crack of dawn. We traveled by bus during that period of time.” 

Warwick says she would ask Houston, "'So, you still want to be in show business?’ Fortunately, she grew into something that was enormously successful for her, which I’m thrilled about."

One thing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee doesn’t take credit for is Houston’s voice, calling her talent “preordained.” 

"It came from a gospel singing family. They all sang. So, it wasn’t surprising that she would sing," Warwick shares. "The ultimate was the success that followed her voice. A voice like none other, which is the best part about it. She was always who she was.” 

Kelly Price, Whitney’s friend and frequent collaborator, also speaks to her talent. Two nights before her death, Houston joined Price on stage for an impromptu performance of “Jesus Loves Me,”  which ended up being Houston's final performance. 

“She was a woman with a big heart. She loved people,” Price tells ET of her late friend.

Price recalls memories of them recording and filming the video for their single, “Heartbreak Hotel,” and supporting each other through prayer and faith. 

Today, Price encourages her fans to think of Houston solely for her legacy and not the tragic way she left the world.  

“When you say her name, speak well of her cause she’s not the sum total of her weaknesses or her mistakes,” the 48-year-old singer says. “If you got a chance to know her heart, that was something special.” 

For Warwick, 10 years later, it’s important for her to celebrate Houston’s career, and not the way the world lost her. “I have not pondered or kept that as part of my psyche,” Warwick says. “I don’t and won’t celebrate her death ever. I celebrate her life and what she meant to life.”  

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