The Pop Life: Houston Follows Up hide
Whitney Houston, whose 1985 debut album sold eight million copies to become the best-selling debut album by a solo artist, made more pop music history this week when her follow-up album, "Whitney," became the first solo record by a woman to enter Billboard's album chart at No. 1.
At the same time, the first single from the album, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," also climbed to the top of Billboard's singles chart to shatter another record, by making the 23-year-old singer the first woman to have had four consecutive No. 1 pop hits.
Besides "Whitney," only four other albums have entered Billboard's album chart at No. 1: Elton John's "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" and "Rock of the Westies" (both 1975), Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life" (1976), and "Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live/1975-85" (1986).
"I think this new album is definitely more adventurous than the first one," Ms. Houston said in a recent interview. "Though I worked with basically the same people, and the new record is also an album of love songs, the second time around the feeling in the studio was more relaxed and creative."
Ms. Houston's favorite song on the new album, "I Know Him So Well," from the hit London musical "Chess," is a duet with her mother, Cissy Houston, a singer in her own right.
"I first heard it three years ago when I was in Germany and fell in love with it," Whitney Houston said. "Three years later, Clive Davis" - the president of Arista Records and executive producer of her album - "and I were going over material in his office, and he said, 'You might like this.' Then he played me the same record I had heard before. There are many talented women I could have sung it with, but since I knew I had one right in my own backyard - my mom - I wouldn't consider recording it with anyone else. I like the fact that the song can be interpreted in different ways - it could be about your love for God or your love for a man. When I go on tour, I plan to sing it with different surprise guests in different cities."
Ms. Houston may also make her movie debut in the film version of the Broadway show, "Dreamgirls," in the role of Deena, the Diana Ross-like lead singer of the fictional trio, the Dreams. The role was offered to her by David Geffen, the movie and record mogul whose company owns the film rights.
"Though I loved the show, it's still not definite," Ms. Houston said. "Whether I do it depends on how good the script is and what it says. If you're offering someone a specific part, I think the person who plays it should have some input."
On July 4, the singer begins a three-month 45-city United States tour that will bring her to Jones Beach on Aug. 16 and 17, two dates that have already been sold out.