Photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images
  /  12.26.2022

Last Friday (Dec. 23), moviegoers headed into theaters to check out I Wanna Dance with Somebody, a new biopic about legendary singer Whitney Houston. In promotion of the film, music mogul, and longtime Houston collaborator, Clive Davis sat down with CNN’s Don Lemon to talk about the project that he helped to produce. He also revealed the moment when he met Houston for the first time:

“The first time I met Whitney was really at her audition for me. She had been doing background singing in her mother’s [Emily ‘Cissy’ Houston] act. Cissy was playing Sweetwaters, a club, and Whitney sang two songs that night. One was ‘Home’ from The Wiz and the other was ‘The Greatest Love Of All.'”

He continued: “Now, she didn’t know — I don’t know how many people know — I had commissioned the song, ‘The Greatest Love Of All,’ eight years earlier for [the Muhammad Ali film, The Greatest]. And I got Michael Masser and Linda Creed, they wrote ‘The Greatest Love Of All.’ I had recorded it with George Benson. We had a top 10 R&B hit, and then this beautiful, 19-year-old girl gets to the microphone, and as soon as she started singing that song, I was stunned.”

The music legend also stated that he was slow to realize Houston faced issues with drug abuse:

“She was loyal, devoted. She always was on when she was with me. So, admittedly, I didn’t see the sign early on… Clearly, unmistakably, the lowest, if you ask me, the lowest would be the Michael Jackson concert at Madison Square Garden. She walks out on stage and I can’t believe my eyes… I never saw her looking like that. I was scared stiff. I wrote her a letter… She didn’t listen, or never replied to the letter.”

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