Whitney Houston's 'I Go to the Rock' brings singer's faith front and center

Shelia Poole, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Entertainment News

ATLANTA — On Aug. 9, Whitney Houston, the iconic singer who never shied away from her musical roots in the church, would have turned 60.

So, perhaps it’s only fitting that the first posthumous CD project takes fans back to the six-time Grammy-winning singer’s roots.

“I Go to the Rock: The Gospel Music Of Whitney Houston,” is a well-rounded 14-track collection of gospel music, including six previously unreleased recordings by Houston, who died 11 years ago.

It’s no coincidence that the project and a related documentary about her life are happening this year in observance of her 60th year.

“I thought it would be something very special to do for her,” said Pat Houston, her sister-in-law and executor of her estate. “She loved birthdays. She loved Easter and, of course, gospel has always been the center of her gravity.”

Pat Houston said Houston had a vision about a gospel show in the Holy Land that would have aired around Easter. Houston traveled to Israel around 2003 with then-husband Bobby Brown.


Houston was one of three children of Cissy Houston, a soul and gospel singer who sang backup for the likes of Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick and also had her own solo career.

The family’s home was always filled with gospel music.

“This is not her first rodeo in terms of introduction to ... gospel,” said Gary Houston, the singer’s brother, who lives in north Fulton County. “She’s been doing this for a long time. Ever since she was a teenager she was singing gospel and listening to gospel, hearing the Word of God around our home when we were growing up. The Drinkard Singers. My mother, Cissy Houston, was the founder of the Drinkard Singers. ... They rehearsed in our home night and day. So we grew up with that energy, that vibration, that spirit. Just knowing what our connection with the Creator was about.”

That upbringing is magnified through this project, said Gary Houston, a former NBA player who also toured with his sister.


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