On January 18 1999, Madonna appeared on the cover of People magazine with the headline, “The New Pop Divas.”
The new pop divas. By that definition, say hello to the latest wave of pop divas: Celine Dion, 30; Whitney Houston, 35; Mariah Carey, 29; Madonna, the old-timer at 40; Janet Jackson, 32; Shania Twain, 33; and Jewel, 24—with divas-in-waiting Brandy, 19; Monica, 18; and LeAnn Rimes, 16, warbling in the wings. All certainly have the requisite lung power. Houston, whose Top 20 album My Love Is Your Love marks her first studio release in eight years, can rattle roof beams, Carey skips octaves with the ease of a kindergartner at jump rope, and Dion (who, like Carey and Twain, sang with Franklin on VH1) belts out “My Heart Will Go On,” the Oscar-winning Titanic theme, with chest-thumping majesty. And, with all due R-E-S-P-E-C-T to Aretha and company, these superdivas are richer and wield more power. True, some of their pre-MTV forebears dabbled in movies, but were they also best-selling authors a la Jewel? Did they, like Madonna, run their own record labels? Even divette Brandy has her own TV show.