Saturday at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy party, when Jennifer Hudson performed “The Greatest Love of All,” the crowd collectively roared and clapped in tribute to Whitney Houston—the singer who made the song famous.
Hudson was one of a stellar lineup of performers during Davis’ pre-Grammy party which has been a tradition since 1976. Saturday’s event is the first time the party has happened in person since the pandemic.
In 2012 when Houston passed during Grammy weekend, Hudson performed the late singer’s biggest hit “I Will Always Love You” at the Award’s ceremony. This weekend, the Dream Girls alum was tasked once more to tribute “The Voice.”
More actors attended Davis’ pre-Grammy party than in previous years per Variety. That list included, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Sharon Stone, Adrien Brody, and new mother Paris Hilton. Red carpet regulars Lizzo, Offset and Cardi B, Wiz Khalifa, and Janelle Monae were all present as well.
But there was an eerie silence in the room when Kevin Costner took to the microphone.
“Neither one of us, in the end, could protect your beloved Whitney,” Costner said speaking directly to Davis. Both Houston and Costner famously starred together in the blockbuster film, The Bodyguard.
“But your fingerprints on her life are clean my friend. You were a miracle in her life. Thank you for being her bodyguard, Clive. Everyone in this business has a mom, but not everyone has a Clive,” Costner added.
In I Wanna Dance with Somebody, it was revealed that Costner brought the Dolly Parton hit, “I Will Always Love You” to Davis, who brought it to Houston. To date, it is the best-selling single of all time from a female vocalist.
At 90, Davis told Vanity Fair that he still had things to do, including making sure that I Wanna Dance with Somebody made it to the big screen. In the big-budget biopic, Stanley Tucci plays the iconic music mogul. Davis said the two Zoomed twice. “We’ve become quite friendly.”
Davis signed the singer when she was 19, and though the producer had many iconic moments in the industry, his new-gen claim to fame was the fresh-faced church girl from Newark, N.J. with the musically connected family that included ties to Dionne Warwick (her cousin), and Aretha Franklin (for whom her mother sang background).
Houston was 49 when she was found dead in the tub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. She’d been in rehearsals to perform at Clive’s pre-Grammy party that weekend, but she never made it. Her last public performance was an impromptu rendition of “Jesus Loves Me,” at Kelly Price’s pre-Grammy celebration.
In an interview Davis did on Friday with the official publication for the Grammy’s, he said, “I’m gratified that she was not a one-hit wonder or a passing fad, but she’ll be a permanent influence and inspiration to young artists forever because she was that unique. So it’s been very gratifying.”
The 2023 Grammy Awards is set to take place on Sunday night at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.