Dance Traxx/Greatest Hits Info...

[This very interesting article/interview from Billboard's Dance Traxx column also includes the first drop of information about the format of the upcoming Greatest HIts compilation]

DANCE TRAX: Arista's Whitney Houston Gives Her 'Best' To Clubland (Billboard
- 1060 words - January 08, 2000) BY MICHAEL PAOLETTA

SHE'S EVERY WOMAN: From day one, Whitney Houston has brazenly courted the club community, whether in the form of club-ready album tracks (1987's "Love Will Save The Day" and 1992's "I'm Every Woman," to name but two) or wicked remixes ("It's Not Right But It's Okay," "Heartbreak Hotel," and "My Love Is Your Love") from her latest album, 1998's multi-platinum "My Love Is Your Love."

Last year, the Arista artist further enhanced her club profile by making a special appearance at Heritage of Pride's 13th annual Lesbian and Gay Pride Dance on the Pier in New York, where she performed the uptempo versions of "Heartbreak" and "It's Not Right" (Dance Trax, Billboard, July 10, 1999). Houston then proceeded to perform these versions throughout her sold-out European tour.

Like other beat-savvy sisters-in-song who came to prominence in the '80s (Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Mariah Carey come quickly to mind)-and unlike many others who only embrace the genre (and only via remixes) when it becomes a matter of economics (i.e., lackluster album sales)-Houston has never treated the club community like an unwanted child. Quite the opposite, really. Perhaps it's because she fondly recalls a time when her mother (Cissy Houston) recorded disco-era anthems like "Think It Over" and "Warning-Danger (This Love Affair May Be Hazardous To You)."

"Clubs have been around forever, clubs are always where it's happening," acknowledged Houston during a holiday chat with Dance Trax. "People like to get their shit off. And clubs offer a great environment for that.

"Additionally," says Houston, "clubs are a breeding ground for musical trends. They're where you'll always hear the most cutting-edge music, and that's very important for me as an artist."

That said, you'd best prepare yourself for single No. 4 from Houston's "My Love Is Your Love." For the Diane Warren-penned "I Learned From The Best," Houston gets deftly worked over by HQ2 (the duo of Hex Hector and Mac Quayle) and Junior Vasquez.

In the hands of HQ2, the song is infused with a cool, mysterious orchestral vibe that gives the track a sly James Bond-like feel, while simultaneously upping the drama quotient. Speaking of drama, Vasquez surrounds Houston's table-turning words with galloping beats and ambient breakdowns.

"I like when my remixes surprise my fans," enthuses Houston. "I think it's exciting to see this pop princess embrace dance music and create music that's on the edge. I know me and what I like. With the remixes, the world can experience me in all my various colors."

Furthermore, she notes, "the remixes give people other options and show that I can do more than one form of music. I don't ever want to be locked into one groove. For [the album] "My Love Is Your Love,' the original versions have such bad grooves, which made the record. That's the vibe I wanted for the album. But I always knew the remixes would come later. The remix is usually what creates the anthem. Will I include dance songs on upcoming albums? Of course, it's all about timing.

"You know, when I performed at the gay and lesbian pride dance, the people absolutely loved it," she says. "All year long, they hear this music in the clubs, but did they expect me to come and sing the versions they know and love? It was such a great surprise for them. It was my way of showing my love, respect, and appreciation to all my fans."

Arista mailed a promotional 12-inch of "I Learned From The Best" containing the HQ2 mixes to club DJs on Dec. 20; this will be followed on Jan. 11 by a promo-only 12-inch that features the Vasquez versions. According to the label, a commercial street date is forthcoming.

Also forthcoming is a two-disc greatest-hits set from Houston, tentatively scheduled for release March 7. Sources at the label say that one disc will concentrate on the singer's ballads and downtempo material, while the other will spotlight her dancefloor jams.



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