How Will I Know” is a song recorded by American recording artist Whitney Houston for her eponymous debut album, which was released in February 1985. The song was released by Arista Records in November that year, as the album’s third single. Composed by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, the song was originally intended for Janet Jackson, but she passed on it. Houston then recorded the song with altered lyrics and production from Narada Michael Walden. The lyrics speak about the protagonist trying to discern if a boy she likes will ever like her back.
“How Will I Know” received mainly positive reviews. The song became Houston’s second number one single on the United States Billboard Hot 100. It spent two weeks atop the chart and also became Houston’s first chart topper on the Canadian RPM Singles Chart. Its success was worldwide: it reached the top 10 in Sweden, Ireland, Norway, and the United Kingdom, and the top 20 in the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
The song’s music video features scenes of Houston dancing in a setting of video screens and colored partitions. The music video gave Houston exposure to the teens and MTV. It also received nominations at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards in the categories of Best Female Video and Best New Artist in a Video, winning the former category. The song was performed on many of her tours including Greatest Love Tour (1986) and her Nothing but Love World Tour (2009–10). “How Will I Know” is also featured as a remix on Houston’s compilation album Whitney: The Greatest Hits (2000), whereas the original version is featured on The Ultimate Collection (2007) and I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston (2012; remastered).