In August 1996, in the midst of an exhaustive world tour supporting The Bodyguard soundtrack and other projects, Whitney Houston took an unexpected detour to the Southeast Asian country of Brunei.
There, she played a private concert for the young Princess Rashidah and royal family, which fans can get an exclusive peek at in a never-before-seen video of her performing I Have Nothing, premiering on usatoday.com.
Listening to this particular rendition of the Bodyguardhit, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, reminds “me of how amazing she was as a vocalist,” says Rickey Minor, Houston’s longtime musical director. “It’s a mountain of a song — it just climbs, climbs, climbs until the end. Every night, just like any professional athlete, she took interesting choices to run the scales to get to a note or hold a note a little longer.”
Swimming, playing sports and enjoying massages throughout her week-long stay in Brunei, “she got a chance to relax, whereas if you’re on tour every day, it’s hectic,” Minor continues. “I think she was in a really relaxed place for this show.”
Nothing is one of eight previously unreleased live and studio recordings included on Whitney Houston – I Wish You Love: More From The Bodyguard (out Nov. 17), which coincides with the 25th anniversary of the iconic 1992 film that co-starred Kevin Costner and Houston, in her acting debut.
The new edition of the soundtrack — the best-selling of all time with 45 million copies sold worldwide — features never-before-heard versions of Run to You, Queen of the Night and Jesus Loves Me from Houston’s Bodyguard World Tour, a dance remix of I’m Every Woman, and an alternate rendition of I Will Always Love You with added instrumentals.
Minor remembers being on set with Houston the day she sang Love You, which was written by Dolly Parton but became the R&B powerhouse’s calling card.
“Thinking about the emotion behind the song, she thought, ‘I should sing it live,’ ” Minor says. “One thing that was really important for her was that she always said, ‘I need stories and I need a melody. I can’t sing something that I don’t feel, that I don’t believe. I’m a storyteller through my voice.’ “
Houston died in 2012 at age 48, after an accidental drowning in a hotel bathtub brought on by heart disease and cocaine abuse. Her loss makes the song even more bittersweet, Minor says.
“You always wonder in this kind of case what could’ve been,” he says. “I guess the ‘sweet’ part for me was getting to have any time with her; I’m grateful for that. I’m quick to look at the landscape of singers who were after her and before her, and recognize that it was a gift to be in close proximity to her, let alone work with her and be involved in shaping some of these iconic performances.”
Minor hadn’t revisited many of Bodyguard‘s songs until the upcoming re-release. Listening to them with fresh ears in the studio one night, “I hadn’t had an emotional reaction like that since the day she died.”
Source: USA Today (Patrick Ryan)
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