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Some producers had to pass on the project because of prior commitments. With production from Michael Masser, Kashif, Jermaine Jackson, and Narada Michael Walden, Houston's debut album Whitney Houston was released in February 1985 and sold 25 million copies worldwide; Houston won her first Grammy Award with this LP.Rolling Stone magazine praised Houston, calling her "one of the most exciting new voices in years" while The New York Times called the album "an impressive, musically conservative showcase for an exceptional vocal talent".(Houston had been offered deals by recording agencies before—by Michael Zager in 1980, and by Elektra Records in 1981—but her mother declined them on the grounds that Whitney had yet to complete high school.The label wanted to make sure no other label signed her away, and Davis wanted to ensure he had the right material and producers for Houston's debut album.However, her personal struggles began overshadowing her career, and the album Just Whitney (2002) received mixed reviews.Her drug use and tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown were widely publicized in media.The theme song "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" became her eleventh and final number-one single on the Hot 100 chart, while The Preacher Wife's soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history.Following the critical and commercial success of My Love Is Your Love (1998), Houston signed a 0 million contract with Arista Records.
1, and the video introduced Houston to the MTV audience.
The soundtrack album received the Grammy Award for Album of the Year; it remains the all-time best-selling album by a female artist, as well as the best-selling soundtrack album in history.
Houston made other high-profile film appearances, including Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996).
"Thinking About You" was released as the promo single only to R&B-oriented radio stations, which peaked at number ten on the US R&B Chart.
At the time, MTV had received harsh criticism for not playing enough videos by black, Latino, and other racial minorities while favoring white acts.