Whitney Houston helped open doors for local singer-songwriter


by Rekha Muddaraj / KHOU 11 News


Posted on February 13, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 13 at 7:26 PM

What's your favorite Whitney Houston song?

HOUSTON – Whitney Houston touched many lives with her legendary voice, including that of a Houston songwriter.

Tami Latrell was just 17 years old when a demo for her song, "Whatchulookinat," landed in Houston’s lap.

"I was just a 17-year-old writing a song about a situation that happened to me, me and my man, and so she connected with that," Latrell said.

Houston recorded Latrell’s song, and it ended up becoming the lead single on Houston’s 2002 platinum-selling album, "Just Whitney."

"She did put her own spin to it, she made it a Whitney song. But she kept a lot of my harmonies, she kept a lot of my melodies," Latrell said.

She said after the song was released, doors began to open for her.

"That song, when it was released, it helped me get a deal with EMI Publishing, got another placing with Kesha Cole, and I also put myself through college," Latrell, who now works as an online editor for Radio One Houston, said.

"It’s enough for me to say, ‘Wow, this woman who I looked up to changed my life,'" Latrell said.

Sadly, she never had the chance to meet her idol. But Latrell considers herself one of the lucky few to have had a connection with Whitney Houston, before her untimely death.