Besides being a singer who adds a hip-hop edge to R&B, Belize native Houston prides himself on being an expert painter and tailor. When his family moved to Los Angeles, Houston enrolled in the Hamilton High School and Academy of Music, where he got a chance to polish his musical skills. He joined many impromptu street-corner singing groups, where his fellow classmates would rap their scripted and practiced lines. The talented Houston would have none of that. Not only was he freestyling before any of cohorts had the skills, but he was also singing his freestyles instead of rapping them.
Everyone around him was amazed at his performances, and it convinced Houston he had what it took to enter numerous singing contests. A videotape of one of his performances landed at Capitol Records, who were quick to contact and sign the singer. The single I Like That -- with guest raps from Chingy, Nate Dogg, and I-20 -- was shipped to radio in March of 2004 and immediately started climbing the R&B and mainstream charts. McDonald's picked the track for a television commercial that featured an on-screen cameo from Justin Timberlake. The commercial was getting plenty of airtime as Houston's debut full-length, It's Already Written, hit the streets in August of 2004. ~ David Jeffries