I never met "Whitney Houston," but I met Nippy three times. I had heard bout this kid with an amazing voice, so I made it a point to be backstage at the Grammys the first time she was on. I remember seeing her and her friend Robyn running around like two kids set loose in a chocolate factory. Their eyes were shining; they were giggling and pointing at people--but they weren't acting silly. It was so sweet. I was so happy to see the joy on her face, and I remember thinking about how long she would remain joyful.
The next time we met was after her first concert in Los Angeles. I don't even remember where it was. It wasn't a tiny club, and it wasn't an arena. It was some sort of hall, with folding chairs around a portable stage. She'd had a couple of hits and was heading toward her third. The same skinny kid came up on stage. She wasn't fully groomed yet with the sleek wigs and sequined dresses. She was so scared you could see her knees knocking, and she barely moved when she sang. BUT THAT VOICE WAS THERE, and you knew she'd grow into it.