Born Emily Drinkard, “Cissy” Houston was the youngest of eight children in a family which encouraged education, church involvement, and singing. Growing up in Newark, Houston lost her mother when she was five and her father when she was 18, at which time she went to live with her older sister Lee and her husband, Mancel Warrick. The Warrick’s had a son, Mancel Warrick Jr., and two daughters, Marie Dionne and Delia Mae “Dee Dee” Warwick, both legendary American singers in their own right. Having performed regularly as a child, Houston pursued her musical talents, first with a successful career singing backup for artists including Ray Hamilton, Aretha Franklin, and Elvis Presley, and later embarking on a Grammy Award-winning solo career. Houston’s versatile cross-genre singing style has kept her in high demand as a session musician. Houston is the mother of world-renowned Soul/R&B/Pop singer Whitney Houston, songwriter Michael Houston, and NBA player Gary Garland. She has authored two books, How Sweet The Sound and Remembering Whitney.