Whitney Houston’s legacy is being honored with a newly-released duet with R. Kelly. The song is a new version of “I Look to You,” the title track of her 2009 album, which R.Kelly wrote for Houston and performed at her funeral earlier this year.
Clive Davis, Sony Music’s chief creative officer and Houston’s longtime mentor, says the previously unused vocal tracks were “made at an unscheduled recording session while she was working on her final album.” She had stopped smoking for two weeks while getting dental work done in Los Angeles, and the effect on her voice was “striking.”
“She [Houston] did two verses and a chorus, and it’s just terribly sad that this incredible, unique treasure is not here anymore,” Davis said.
“I really wanted the public to hear Whitney with her voice intact,” he says. “Tragically, it shows what her voice could have sounded like if, as she had promised me that week she passed away, that she was going to give up cigarettes entirely.”
The song will be included on the 18-track tribute album, I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston, which is scheduled for a November 13 release.
The tribute album is said to include original versions of Houston’s 16 biggest-selling songs, including “I Will Always Love You,” “I’m Every Woman,” “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and more. It will also include an unreleased track “Never Give Up,” which was written by Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox and Junta Austin.
A CBS TV special is also in the works according to Davis. During a recent interview with Ryan Seacrest, Davis revealed the show will be taped on October 11.