Whitney Houston In 1999: ‘I Didn’t Know How To Say No’

Singer worries to John Norris about letting down her millions of fans.

[artist id="1158"]Whitney Houston[/artist]‘s road to superstardom wasn’t without sacrifices, and that was something the late icon realized during her career.

In the midst of the shocking news that the megastar had died Saturday afternoon (February 11), MTV News is taking a look back at a 1999 interview, in which the singer/actress opens up about career lessons like learning how to say no.

“I got that singer thing, where your cords get so swollen and they want to take a break,” an energetic Houston tells MTV News’ John Norris about her condition after canceling shows due to sickness.

Donning sunglasses and a short brown bob, Houston calls herself “soft” when reminiscing about memories like her Greatest Love World Tour (her first headlining world tour)
because of her then-desire to be a people-pleaser.

“I’m pretty stern about my convictions and what I mean,” the diva explains during the Boston tour stop. “But when it comes down to certain things, I didn’t know how to say no. I didn’t, because there’s a lot of people out there.”

Asked what goes through her head prior to performing a show, Houston says, “What really goes through my head is what note am I really going to, like, really start off with. You know what I mean? Just from the groove of my show. I know the show. They don’t know the show.”

From career lessons to her love life, Houston also chatted about then-husband Bobby Brown, saying the former New Edition frontman turned her shows into a family affair when they made stops in his hometown of Boston. “I got so many Brown relatives here. You kidding me? Oh my God! And there’s a lot of them. But he has a lot of fam here. It should be a good gig.”

Musically, 1999 was a strong year for Houston. She had just released her album My Love is Your Love in the fall of 1998 and it was well on its way to being a global hit. The LP spawned two platinum and two gold singles awarded in 1999. Her second single from the album, ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ enjoyed a run at the too of Billboard’s R&B charts during the winter. Houston also participated in 1999′s ‘VH1 Divas’ performing with Tina Turner, Cher and Brandy. She closed out the show with “I’m Every Woman” with help from the other performers.

In the fall of 1999, Houston received a major honor, being named the Top-selling R&B Female Artist of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America.

MTV News’ Sway and James Montgomery will be live from the Grammys red carpet this Sunday, February 12 starting at 5 p.m. ET to get reactions from music’s biggest stars on the death of Whitney Houston. Watch Reactions and Remembrances at MTV.com.

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