Billboard: Whitney Houston Premieres New Album In London
July 15, 2009 09:12 AM ET
Mark Sutherland, London
Whitney Houston appeared
at the world premiere of her new album, "I Look to You" (Arista), in London
last night (July 14).
A healthy-looking Houston appeared briefly on stage at the Mandarin Oriental
Hotel in Knightsbridge after Sony Music chief creative officer Clive Davis
played nine tracks from the album, due to be released Sept. 1 in the U.S.
The U.K. release is via RCA on Aug. 31.
Houston thanked Davis for his work on the album, saying: "When Clive called
me I was pretty ready to buy my island home [and retire] but he said, 'No,
you're going to sing again, people want to hear you.'"
Describing the album as "a labor of love" she said: "I hope that these songs
stay with you for a lifetime."
Davis - who worked with Houston for the first time in 10 years on the album
- stressed the album is "by no means done," while many of the songs played
were still in unfinished form.
"We didn't try to fit
Whitney Houston into the market," Davis said. "The copyrights associated
with Whitney in the 1980s and '90s are part of the fabric of music today."
Nonetheless, collaborators on the album read like a who's who of
contemporary pop/R&B, with songwriters and producers including Alicia Keys,
Diane Warren, Stargate, R Kelly and Akon, who duets with Houston on "Like I
The tracks played were "Million Dollar Bill," "Nuthin' But Love," "Call You
Tonight" (which Davis said was a likely lead single), "I Didn't Know My Own
Strength," "Like I Never Left," "For the Lovers," "I Look to You," "Worth
It" and a cover of Leon Russell's "A Song for You."
The overall feel of the album was notably contemporary, while retaining
Houston's trademark vocal flourishes. The up-tempo songs "Nuthin' But Love"
and "A Song for You" received the best reaction from the invited audience of
international media, while Davis particularly praised slower songs like the
Warren-penned ballad "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" and R Kelly's title
track, hailing Houston as "the premium balladeer of our time."
15 JULY 2009