Almost ten months after her death and since his moving performance at her funeral, the late Whitney Houston and R. Kelly have released a duet version of “I Look To You,” a song R. Kelly originally wrote for Houston’s 2009 album by the same name. Posthumous reworks are not always so easy — let Draketell you about that — but this rework is both respectful in remembering her legacy and impressively successful in keeping her spirit alive.
This new version of “I Look To You” remembers Whitney with apparently tearful gasps strewn throughout, with a quiet “Whitney” chant and with a nice eulogy from Kelly at the end: “We love you, Whitney. Rest in peace.” What’s more, though, is the way it works to keep Whitney’s spirit alive as well. Maybe it’s because they were originally his words, or maybe it’s because he really means it (as you’ll remember, performed a heartfelt rendition of this song at Houston’s funeral earlier this year, tears choked back and with a tissue clenched tight in hand just in case), but Kelly’s involvement seems to draw forth a Whitney that sounds stronger and fuller than she did even on the original. It’s chilling to hear Whitney sing “I don’t know if I am going to make it, nothing to do but lift my head” at this point, but Kelly’s insistence that “when melodies are gone, in you I hear a song” soothes, making her instead the song’s beacon of hope. Read more…
For every Michael, Beyoncé and Usher, there’s a Christina, Mariah or Rihanna. Try as they might, the latter group of hot pop acts just can’t coordinate that whole singing-while-dancing thing. Their beats and belting may be tight on the radio, but when it comes to rocking dance moves in a music video, even some of the best sirens fall flat. For your amusement, check out these hilarious GIFs (you’re welcome) of crooners we adore who demonstrate some of the worst rump shaking we’ve ever seen. Debate our list in the comments below and, more importantly, let us know whose lack of rhythm we failed to catch.
Moroccan and Monroe weren’t even zygotes yet, but Mariah looks like she was practicing serious mom moves in this video. Luckily, Mimi’s vocal acrobatics helped us shake off the memory of her awful wannabe thug life bleacher rocking, so all is forgiven.
In an ideal world we’d celebrate Whiney Houston‘s legacy every day. On her 49th birthday today we’re obviously grooving to the 11 videos of her No. 1 hits. As we dance as much as we can in our chairs to “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me),” we also think about how loved Whitney was by her fans and everyone that knew her. We chatted with Jordin Sparks about working with Whitney on Sparkle. She reveled in Whitney’s ability to light up a room any room she walked in. The two formed a bond on the set of 1976 remake of Sparkle, which debuts August 17th, and led to the duet “Celebrate.” Read more…
Whitney Houston would have celebrated her 49th birthday today. Six months after her sudden death and we’re still coping with the loss of a tremendous once-in-a-lifetime vocal talent. On her born day we’re going to celebrate the life she lived through her music. Her flawless voice carried her hit singles to the top of Billboard charts, breaking records once held by only The Beatles and The Bee Gees. Through Whitney’s incomparable gift she touched millions. Whether it was the uptempo feel good “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” or the love ballad “I Will Always Love You,” Whitney’s beautiful spirit shined through and made us feel as bright of a star as she was. Enjoy the videos to her 11 No. 1 hits. Happy Birthday, Whitney!
Song: “Saving All My Love For You” Released: August 24, 1985 Peak Position: #1 for 1 week
Song: “How Will I Know” Released: December 28, 1985 Peak Position: #1 for 2 weeks
Song: “Greatest Love Of All” Released: April 5, 1986 Peak Position: #1 for 3 weeks
Song: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” Released: May 16, 1987 Peak Position: #1 for 2 weeks
Song: “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” Released: August 8, 1987 Peak Position: #1 for 2 weeks
Song: “So Emotional” Released: November 12, 1987 Peak Position: #1 for 3 weeks
Song: “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” Released: November 14, 1992 Peak Position: #1 for 2 weeks
Song: “I’m Your Baby Tonight” Released: October 27, 1990 Peak Position: #1 for 1 week
Song: “All The Man That I Need” Released: January 5, 1991 Peak Position: #1 for 1 week
Song: “I Will Always Love You” Released: November 14, 1992 Peak Position: #1 for 14 weeks
Song: “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” Released: November 25, 1995 Peak Position: #1 for 1 week
It doesn’t matter if Kelly Clarkson were to sing the phone book. We’d want to hear it. When Clarkson put out the call to fans asking what songs they’d like her to cover the online requests flooded in. The Stronger tour that ended in April produced amazing covers of an array of musical genres. And like the great vocalist she is, Clarkson showed her range nailing everything from the Rolling Stones‘ “Wild Horses” to Bruno Mars‘ “It Will Rain.” When the tour ended our sad faces began, but luckily for us her Summer 2012 tour with The Fray has reignited the covers we were so obsessed with. Because we know you love the covers as much as we do, we’ve chosen the best five covers from Kelly Clarkson’s tour and concerts this year. Enjoy! Read more…
Jordin Sparks has come a long way from belting out Celine Dion‘s “Because You Love Me” in her audition for American Idol at 16. At 17, she won that very season. Five years later the big voiced singer has landed the role of a lifetime as Sparkle Williams in the 1976 remake of Sparkle and her duet with Whitney Houston,”Celebrate,” is the lead single from the upcoming film. And in her wildest dreams she never imagined working with the indelible Houston who plays her mother Emma. Although Whitney’s time may have been cut short from us here on earth, we talked to Jordin Sparks about the invaluable lessons she learned from the woman often referred to as The Voice. Read more…
Ponder on this: Brandy was 15-years-old when her debut self-titled album Brandy dropped. At 33 the R&B songstress still has the powerful voice beautiful enough to put goosebumps on your arms. At 93.9 WKYS’s free concert held at the Howard Theatre in D.C., Brandy performed Put It Down in a royal blue romper. Brandy is back like she never left! Along with a couple backup dancers, B puts the ‘umph’ in every choreographed move hitting each gyration flawlessly. Similar to her BET Awards tribute to Whitney Houston, it’s obvious Brandy is here to win. The vocals? My god. Like every time Brandy opens her mouth (remember her singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” in her bathroom acapella?), even performing a song about putting it down between the sheets, she reminds you why she’s a true vocalist to the core. Read more…
After an already action-packed weekend of Superlounge performances, empowerment panels, and headline-grabbing mainstage sets, Essence Music Festival came to a close last night in New Orleans. Like many other festivals, Essence is notorious for headlining sets extending late into the early morning of the next day, but when the artists performing are esteemed members of music’s nobility, you stay put!
Kirk Franklin kicked off the festival’s third and final night, handing the mic off to VH1 star Fantasia before soulful crooner Anthony Hamilton and his phenomenal back-up vocalists transformed the Mercedes Benz Superdome into a refreshing gospel experience. The big-ticket performers – Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and Queen of Funk Chaka Khan – would soon follow.
As the first woman inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Aretha Franklin has free reign to pretty much do whatever she wants on stage, and did just that. She’d open her mouth, and magic would pour out; graciously bestowing gifts like “(Your Love has Lifted me) Higher and Higher,” “Natural Woman,” “Think,” and “Something He Can Feel,” the 18-time Grammy winner who sang at President Obama’s inauguration was met with a respectful, hyper-attentive audience that contrasted the normal bustling-in-and-out-of-their-seats EMF crowd. Despite the fact that she would at times meander into telling stories and jokes, appropriating an audience-member’s fedora, complaining about the venue’s sound, and acknowledging friends of hers that were in the crowd by asking them to stand, Franklin’s lengthy 90-minute set was any music fan’s dream even that late in the evening.
While Franklin changed her wardrobe from an orange gown to a green and gold frock mid-performance, a presentation was held in her honor, giving Queen of Soul a key to the city of New Orleans by its mayor Mitch Landrieu, a state award by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, and the Essence Power Award from Essence Communications President, Michelle Ebanks. Representing “entertainment, empowerment and elegance,” Franklin was clearly the ideal choice for this year’s awards, and once the Queen of Soul returned to the EMF stage, she performed crowd favorite “Chain of Fools,” sang from what she called “the book of Simon and Garfunkel,” performing a cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and even found time to pay tribute to the late and legendary Whitney Houston. “She was beautiful, she was warm, she was real,” recounted Franklin of her beloved “Christian sister” as she took to the piano to execute a rendition of Houston’s heart-wrenching “I Will Always Love You.”
It’s the 4th of July, which means that it’s time to wish another happy birthday to the US of A! In honor of our country’s 236th bday, we’ve put together this spectacular, über-patriotic GIF Wall featuring some of the music industry’s biggest stars paying salute the stars and stripes, everyone from chart legends like Bruce Springsteen and Madonna to up-and-comers like Lana Del Rey and Azealia Banks. Ain’t that America? Read more…