Producer: Richard Rodgers
Album: Cinderella Sountrack
“It was unbelievable. I grew up watching Whitney. To meet her and to work with her was just like a dream come true. Like to look at her and to talk to her and realize that she was a real person was so surreal to me.
“I had a dream about Cinderella [one] night. I had a dream that we were redoing Cinderella, even though I’m too old to be Cinderella right now [laughs].
“That was really a moment for me: to be the first African-American princess for one, and to be chosen by my idol, my mentor, someone that means everything to me and still does, to be part of a multi-cultural cast, and to work with legends like Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters. It was a fairytale. I was really living the dream.
“It was so challenging because the music was so different than anything that I had ever done. It wasn’t R&B... It was a different sound for me, and it was a challenge for me to find which voice to use. There was different things I was doing. I learned how to waltz. All this stuff was just amazing. It was as if I was on Broadway, but it was a film.
“I was nervous. My voice wasn’t fully developed, and even if it was fully developed, I wasn’t gonna be on Whitney’s level. It’s funny because there’s a video of us recording ‘Impossible’ on YouTube. It’s so funny. I’m like ‘I’m gonna move from the mic and you go forward, or I’m gonna come forward and you move back so I can be heard.’ It was fun and I was able to just get comfortable with her. After a while, she was just my friend. We had a good time, but I was nervous because I wanted to impress her.
“She used to always say, ‘I just want to shake your stomach so you could sing louder. Sing from your gut,’ because she always felt like I was singing [from the chest], and I was. She just would always shake my stomach so i could sing louder.
“There’s so much that she said to me. But the one about my voice... I’m like everybody can’t sing as loud as you. Leave me alone [laughs]. I’m just trying to do me.”