Whitney Debuts CD & Gets ABC Special...
Showbiz411 Roger Friedman: Whitney Houston Debuts New CD, Gets ABC
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Music / By Roger Friedman
Whitney Houston’s new CD,
“I Look to You,” got the star treatment tonight. Music mogul Clive Davis
played nine tracks from the album, due Sept. 1, for an A-list audience at
Jazz at Lincoln Center. When he was done, Houston walked out and got a
standing ovation and cheers.
She deserved it, too. The nine songs — there will be 11 altogether — are
solid tracks, with several tipped as potential hit singles.
I also found out that Houston has signed with ABC for a special that will
air the last week of August, right before her album is released.
In the very buzzy crowd: Alicia Keys, who wrote and produced “Million Dollar
Bill,” a surefire hit that got a huge response; Diane Sawyer, who’s having
Whitney on “Good Morning America”; plus actress Vivica Fox, Gayle King,
Martha Stewart, Nikki Haskell, and lots of family. Whitney brought along mom
Cissy Houston, cousin Dionne Warwick, and daughter Bobbi Kristina, who’s
blossomed into a beautiful young woman.
Also there were many heavyweights from the music biz including L.A. Reid,
Charles Koppelman, and Andre Harrell, whom RCA Records chief Barry Weiss
called “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” for reasons of his own.
But it was Whitney’s night. She looked stunning and a little stunned as the
audience warmly embraced her and welcomed the new songs. Besides the Alicia
Keys hit, the the standouts include an absolute knock-out cover of Leon
Russell’s “A Song for You,” which could do for Whitney what “Let’s Stay
Together” did for Tina Turner’s 1984 comeback. There’s also a sleeper
mid-tempo number called “Nothin’ but Love,” two excellent tracks from R.
Kelly including the beautiful title song, and Diane Warren’s David
Foster-produced “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength.”
During the Keys track, by the way, Alicia — dressed in black and looking hot
— got up and boogeyed around from her seat, and took some video on a Flip
For her part, Whitney got big laughs when she told the invited audience, “I
had a plan to go to an island and start a fruit stand.” She said neither her
mother nor Davis would allow her to do that. “My mother said, ‘I’m tired of
hearing your voice on the radio. I want to hear new songs.’ ”
Davis, remarkable for pulling off this coup, spoke off the cuff before he
played the songs. Why, after so many years and so much success, is he still
making these albums and coaxing these stars to be as good as they can be?
“I keep doing it because music has been my passion,” he said. “And the
report cards have been good.”
Tonight, as usual, he got an A.
21 JULY 2009