By Judy Kurtz - 02/14/12 01:06 AM EST
Count Ayla Brown among the many fans mourning the death of music icon Whitney Houston.
According to police, the record-smashing “I Will Always Love You” singer was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub on Saturday. Houston, 48, had openly battled drug addiction for years.
Houston famously belted out a spine-tingling version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 1991 Super Bowl.
Brown says, “Still, to this day, I believe, and I think many others do as well, that it’s one of the best renditions of the national anthem in our country’s history … Especially being an anthem singer myself, it’s something I’ve always admired.”
The 23-year-old vocalist says the Brown household was often filled with the sounds of the music legend when she was growing up, as she blasted “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” from her bedroom.
But it was the “flawless” way Houston sang America’s anthem that Brown says really moved her. The entertainer watched Houston’s performance countless times: “She’s definitely someone I’ve looked up to in terms of that song.”