Read Alicia Keys' Whitney Houston Rock Hall Speech - Rolling Stone
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Read Alicia Keys’ Personal Tribute to Whitney Houston for Rock Hall of Fame

“I cherish every moment that I got to talk to her, be in her beautiful company, and love her,” Keys says of her mentor

rock and roll hall of fame induction alicia keys

Alicia Keys inducts Whitney Houston into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame/HBO

Whitney Houston became one of the latest inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 7th, along with Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, the Notorious B.I.G. and, T. Rex.

During Saturday’s ceremony, Alicia Keys virtually presented Houston’s induction, delivering a speech on how the legendary vocalist and performer touched her own life at a time when she was still very early on into her career. “I was still in awe of this crazy world I was newly welcomed into, and she marched right up to me, and she said, ‘You are gonna write a song for me,'” Keys recalled. “I couldn’t believe it! Had the greatest voice of all time just demanded that of little ole me? I was shocked, and completely overjoyed, and slightly scared.”

As time went on, Keys and Houston became dear friends and collaborators, with Keys contributing to Houston’s final album I Look to You.

“We all know what a miraculous singer Whitney was, perhaps the greatest voice of our time,” Keys said. “We all know how her unprecedented success brought black women into the absolute highest reaches of the music industry’s pantheon. We all know that her music will live forever. That music, that everlasting voice, is her final, generous gift to us.”

Read the full speech below.

Whitney is one of one. There is no one like her, and there never will be. I remember growing up, listening to her music, and dancing around the house and jumping on my bed, singing her songs into my hairbrush. This golden voice with range and runs and power like none, with a face, a presence, like royalty. She was every little girl’s admiration.

When I first met her, she sought me out at one of Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy parties. I was still in awe of this crazy world I was newly welcomed into, and she marched right up to me, and she said, “You are gonna write a song for me.” I couldn’t believe it! Had the greatest voice of all time just demanded that of little ole me? I was shocked and completely overjoyed, and slightly scared.

And thus began a beautiful friendship that was so genuine, and so sincere. We were kindred spirits and instant sisters. We did work together on “Million Dollar Bill,” a song I wrote for her album I Look to You. We laughed so much that I thought we’d never be able to finish the song. We called each other “meema,” and I cherish every moment that I got to talk to her, be in her beautiful company, and love her.

I still can’t believe that was Whitney’s last album, and that she’s no longer with us. We all know what a miraculous singer Whitney was, perhaps the greatest voice of our time. We all know how her unprecedented success brought black women into the absolute highest reaches of the music industry’s pantheon. We all know that her music will live forever. That music, that everlasting voice, is her final, generous gift to us. And she will now be one of the brightest lights ever to shine in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Congratulations, Meema. We miss you.

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