“Losing somebody that you idolize is one thing, but losing a friend is another thing,” Monica told MTV News during an April 10 interview. “I look back over many, many years of my life, and Whitney wasn’t the type of person that would call and ask if I was OK; she would actually fly to me. She would come looking for me, she would sit with me.
“She prepared me and always reminded me to never lose sight of who I was, and I think she could be a testament to that because of what she experienced,” she continued. “It’s hard on a daily basis, especially when I’m thinking about her.”
It’s been almost three months since Houston passed away after accidentally drowning in a bathtub in her Los Angeles hotel room. While the wounds are still fresh, Monica marches on. The 31-year-old singer just dropped her seventh solo album, New Life, and has been singing Houston’s songs since the very beginning of her career.
In March, Monica partnered with Brandy in Atlanta, and together they sang touching Whitney covers. It was far from the first time they paid homage to her. “I guess I get through the tributes for Nippy because I knew how much she enjoyed them,” Monica explained. “I didn’t just start doing tributes to her: I was signed at 11 years old singing ‘The Greatest Love of All.’ ”
While on the road with Trey Songz during his 2010 Passion, Pain & Pleasure Tour , Monica would honor her idol every night, and Houston was alive to see it. “I would put on a gown and do a full-out salute to her from top to bottom and sing,” she said. “She got a kick out of that.”
Though Whitney’s death has been difficult for Monica, the spirited singer takes comfort in knowing that her friend and teacher left a legacy that will transcend generations. “I really appreciate the fact that for almost three decades she gave us music that will last,” she said. “My grandchildren will know exactly who she is; my great-grandchildren will know exactly who Whitney Houston is.”
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