"We met for the first time in a place called Stars in Orange," Conley said.
That was nearly thirty years ago.
Ever since, Conley says he watched as the legendary singer evolved into one of the world's most iconic singers.
Conley may be older than Houston, but says she was an inspiration to him and so many other artists. He calls her a trailblazer. Now, every time he plays his flute, he thinks of Houston - who he calls his hero.
"She taught me things about singing, she taught all singers how to sing even the best ones, she taught them something too," Conley said.
So how could Houston fall so hard after having achieving so much success? Conley says it can happen.
"What happens in the music industry is you get high in the upper echelon and you get exposed to drugs and you're around so much and then you get addicted and Whitney got addicted," Conley said.
He thinks it was her drug abuse that ended up taking her life, but he refuses to believe it will define her legacy.
"She should be remembered as what she was a great vocalist, a great song stylist and a great person," Conley said.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)