When asked about her family’s musical legacy spanning generations and genres, Dion Warwick said: “It’s just meant to be.”
Warwick, 81, a six-time Grammy nominee with more than 100 million records sold and a recent nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, shared her memories of a dynasty that included Sissy and Whitney Houston. Star soprano Leontyne Price in People of the Week.
“I come from a family that sang the gospel. The first time I sang in church I was six years old,” she said. “My grandfather was a pastor and he asked me to come to the podium and sing ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ It was my first standing ovation. I had to stand on a pile of books. Scary.”
“My mother and her sisters and brothers’ band were the Derinkard singers, they were pioneers, the first gospel band to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival, and the first to record at the RCA,” Warwick, daughter of Lee Drinkard and Mansel Warwick, said.
The Drinkard family was her mother’s sister, Sissy, later known as Sissy Houston. “Growing up, I used to call her Auntie Sisi,” she said. “Because we’re close in age, I’ve always thought of her as a sister. It’s heaven when we sing together.”
Cissy Houston, 88, has built a unique career as both a Grammy winner and a sought-after backing singer for Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley , to name a few. “Cissy has an amazing voice, and so does her little one, Whitney,” Warwick said. “Whitney, like all of us, was in the church choir. She was destined to sing. She was destined to be like the rest of the family. It was as if God was pointing a finger at us and saying, ‘Let the vocal cords do what they have to do. ‘”
“Watching Whitney was like watching Sissy grow up again. Voice, dedication,” she said of her younger cousin, whose voice would set the world on fire. “Every little girl who follows her wants to be Whitney Houston.”
Now, 10 years after her tragic death in an accident on February 11, 2012, at the age of 48, Warwick said: “She is still with us. Her music, her voice, her voice, that It’s her legacy.”
“My family’s influence is connecting people at a level that everyone understands,” said the singer, who recently co-wrote a new song “Power in the Power” with Krayzie Bone and her son, record producer Damon Elliott. Name”. “Music is a healing force. She gives you meaning. Pure joy – that’s what we do really mean. I’ve seen it, and now with my sons.”
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