Colleagues Baffled By Whitney Houston's Dark Side

Rolling Stone

Some of Whitney Houston's industry collaborators are speaking out about the superstar's persistent demons, which eventually contributed to a declining career that peaked in the early '90s.

One of the individuals to speak to Rolling Stone in a new cover story is Gerry Griffith, the man responsible for bringing Houston to the attention of longtime mentor Clive Davis in 1982. Of the Grammy Award winner's dark side, Griffith tells the magazine: "A lot of us talked about that, and no one could come up with an answer. Where is that rebellion coming from? It didn't come out for a while."

Industry insiders who worked with and befriended Houston also explain how her powerful voice and stunning good looks were the perfect formula for appealing to a broad audience in both music and film.

"Because of her cousin Dionne [Warwick], she understood all those pretty-ass melodies from Burt Bacharach," said Narada Michael Walden, one of Houston's many producers. "But because she was young and from the era of Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna, she had soul in her too -- those rhythms. She had both sides. Plus, she was so damn gorgeous. You couldn't say no to her."

Her grade-school principal from New Jersey recalls how Houston was a shy kid who would hold her classmates' hands tightly when she stood in line. Her godmother, singer Darlene Love, says she has early memories of a lovely and thoughtful girl. "I was pregnant at the time and she'd go, 'What do you want, what do you want?'" Love tells the magazine. "There was a store on the corner where she'd run down the street and buy fruit for me. So charming from Day One."

To read the entire cover story, pick up the March 15th issue of Rolling Stone, on newsstands this Friday.