Did Whitney Houston Write Any Songs?

Whitney Houston’s powerful vocals and emotional performances made her one of the most iconic pop stars of all time. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: While Whitney Houston did not write many of her biggest hits, she did co-write several songs over the course of her prolific career.

In this in-depth article, we’ll take a close look at Whitney Houston’s songwriting credits to determine just how many songs she wrote or co-wrote herself. We’ll provide background on her early career start, look at her biggest hit songs and their writers, analyze her songwriting process and influences, and highlight the standout original tracks she composed over her decades-long career.

Houston’s Early Singing Career and Record Deal

Whitney Houston’s journey as a singer began at a young age in her local church. Growing up in a musical family, she was exposed to gospel music from an early age and quickly developed her vocal skills.

Her powerful and soulful voice captivated those who heard her, and it was clear that she had a natural talent for singing.

Started singing at a young age in church

From the tender age of 11, Whitney Houston began singing in the junior gospel choir at her church in Newark, New Jersey. This early exposure to performing in front of an audience allowed her to hone her skills and gain confidence as a singer.

It was during this time that her love for music and singing truly blossomed.

Backup vocalist in the 1980s

In the 1980s, Houston’s exceptional vocal abilities caught the attention of industry professionals. She started her career as a backup vocalist for established artists such as Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls.

This experience not only allowed her to showcase her talent but also provided valuable networking opportunities that would later prove instrumental in her success.

Signed a record deal with Arista Records in 1983

In 1983, Whitney Houston signed a record deal with Arista Records, a prominent record label at the time. This milestone marked the beginning of her solo career and paved the way for her unprecedented success in the music industry.

Under the guidance of legendary music executive Clive Davis, Houston’s self-titled debut album was released in 1985, and it quickly became a chart-topping success.

According to Biography.com, Houston’s debut album sold over 22 million copies worldwide, solidifying her status as a powerhouse vocalist and establishing her as one of the greatest singers of all time.

Whitney Houston’s early singing career and record deal with Arista Records laid the foundation for her iconic status in the music industry. Her remarkable talent, combined with her hard work and determination, propelled her to become one of the most successful and influential artists of her generation.

Her Biggest Hits Were Written by Others

Whitney Houston is undoubtedly one of the greatest voices in the history of music. Her powerful vocals and emotional delivery captivated audiences around the world. While she is often remembered for her iconic performances of hit songs, it may come as a surprise to some that many of her biggest hits were actually written by other talented songwriters.

“I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton

One of Whitney Houston’s most well-known songs, “I Will Always Love You,” was not actually written by her. The song was originally written and recorded by country music legend Dolly Parton in 1973. Houston’s rendition of the song, which was featured in the soundtrack for the movie “The Bodyguard,” became a massive success and remains one of her signature songs.

Despite not writing the song, Houston’s powerful and emotional interpretation made it truly her own.

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam

Another one of Houston’s biggest hits, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” was written by songwriters George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam. The catchy pop anthem was released in 1987 as the lead single from her album “Whitney.”

The song’s infectious beat and Houston’s energetic performance made it an instant favorite among fans. Merrill and Rubicam’s songwriting prowess combined with Houston’s incredible talent resulted in a chart-topping hit that is still beloved today.

“How Will I Know” by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam

George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam strike again with their songwriting skills on Houston’s hit single “How Will I Know.” Released in 1985, the song became an international success and showcased Houston’s vocal range and versatility.

The upbeat and catchy tune, coupled with Houston’s undeniable talent, made “How Will I Know” an instant classic.

“Greatest Love of All” by Michael Masser and Linda Creed

“Greatest Love of All” is a powerful ballad that became one of Houston’s most beloved songs. The song was written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed and was released in 1985. Houston’s soulful rendition and the empowering message of self-love resonated with listeners worldwide.

The song continues to inspire and uplift audiences to this day.

While Whitney Houston may not have written these iconic songs herself, her incredible talent and unique interpretations made them unforgettable. These songs continue to be celebrated and cherished by fans around the world, solidifying Houston’s legacy as one of the greatest vocalists of all time.

Houston’s Songwriting Process and Influences

Co-wrote with big names like Babyface and David Foster

Whitney Houston, known for her powerhouse vocals and unforgettable performances, also had a hand in songwriting throughout her career. While she is primarily recognized as a talented vocalist, Houston collaborated with renowned songwriters like Babyface and David Foster to create some of her most iconic hits.

These collaborations allowed Houston to bring her own unique style and emotions to the songs, showcasing her ability to connect with the lyrics on a personal level. By working with these talented individuals, Houston was able to expand her creative boundaries and leave a lasting impact on the music industry.

Influenced by gospel, R&B, and family memories

Houston’s songwriting was heavily influenced by her upbringing and musical background. Growing up in a family of gospel singers, she was immersed in the rich harmonies and emotional storytelling of gospel music from an early age.

This foundation laid the groundwork for her soulful approach to songwriting. Additionally, Houston drew inspiration from the R&B genre, infusing her songs with elements of rhythm and blues that resonated with audiences worldwide.

Furthermore, family memories played a significant role in shaping Houston’s songwriting process. She often drew inspiration from personal experiences and emotions, using her music as a way to express and heal.

This authenticity and vulnerability are evident in her heartfelt lyrics, which have touched the hearts of millions of listeners.

Preferred writing lyrics over melodies

While Houston possessed a remarkable vocal range and ability to deliver breathtaking melodies, she had a preference for writing lyrics over crafting melodies. This allowed her to delve deep into the storytelling aspect of songwriting, focusing on creating powerful and relatable lyrics that would resonate with her audience.

By honing her skills in lyricism, Houston was able to connect with her fans on a profound level, bringing them along on an emotional journey with each song.

Original Songs She Composed

“Count on Me” with Michael Masser

Whitney Houston, known for her powerhouse vocals, had a talent for not only delivering amazing performances but also for penning heartfelt and memorable songs. One of her notable compositions is “Count on Me,” which she co-wrote with renowned songwriter Michael Masser.

Released in 1996, this beautiful ballad was featured on her third studio album, “My Love Is Your Love.” The song, with its uplifting lyrics and soul-stirring melody, showcases Houston’s songwriting abilities alongside her extraordinary vocal talent.

“The Star Spangled Banner”

While not an original composition, Whitney Houston’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” during the 1991 Super Bowl is still considered one of the most iconic and powerful performances of the American national anthem.

Her soulful interpretation and flawless vocal delivery moved audiences around the world. Although she didn’t write the song, Houston’s rendition showcased her ability to make any song uniquely her own and solidified her status as one of the greatest vocalists of all time.

“Million Dollar Bill”

In 2009, Houston released her final studio album, “I Look to You,” which featured the infectious dance-pop track “Million Dollar Bill.” Co-written by Alicia Keys and produced by Swizz Beatz, this upbeat and catchy song perfectly captures Houston’s signature style.

With its groovy rhythm and uplifting lyrics, “Million Dollar Bill” became a hit on the charts and showcased Houston’s ability to create music that resonated with audiences of all ages.


Released in 2002, “Whatchulookinat” was a bold and empowering song that addressed the media scrutiny Houston faced throughout her career. This R&B-infused track, co-written by Houston herself, conveyed her resilience and determination to stay true to herself despite the constant scrutiny.

While it may not have achieved the commercial success of her earlier hits, “Whatchulookinat” showcased Houston’s songwriting skills and her ability to use her music as a platform for self-expression.

Whitney Houston’s talent as a songwriter is often overshadowed by her incredible vocal abilities. However, her compositions like “Count on Me,” her rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Million Dollar Bill,” and “Whatchulookinat” demonstrate her versatility as an artist and her ability to connect with listeners on a deeper level through her own music.


While Whitney Houston rocketed to fame singing songs written by others, she did co-write a number of tracks over her storied career. Some of her most personal lyrics were penned on collaborations with hitmakers like Michael Masser and Babyface. She crafted heartfelt ballads, uplifting gospel-influenced tracks, and even put her own spin on the national anthem. Though Whitney will always be remembered most for her flawless vocals, she was also able to imprint her own lyrical perspective onto several songs over her decades of making music.

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