In 1983, music producer Clive Davis was at a New York City nightclub when 19-year-old Whitney Houston took the stage. Immediately, he knew she was something special. "To hear this young girl breathe such fire into this song. I mean, it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine," Davis told Good Morning America. Born into a musical family – gospel singer Cissy Houston is her mother, Aretha Franklin her godmother and Dionne Warwick her cousin – the Newark, N.J., native (pictured in July 1984 in New York City) had been performing in church since she was a child. By the time she was in high school, Houston was singing back-up for acts like Chaka Khan. (A striking beauty, she was also a successful teen model.) After seeing her perform, Davis signed Houston to Arista Records on the spot.