Whitney Houston’s self-imposed 7-year hiatus officially ends today with the release of “I Look To You,” her sixth full-length studio album. The album is getting mostly strong reviews so far from critics, and now the singer has begun her media blitz, opening up first to Ebony magazine.
In the article, Houston goes into detail about the courting process by her longtime Arista Records mentor Clive Davis to bring her back into his musical fold.
“Clive called me one day and said, ‘OK, are you ready now?’” she told the magazine. “He said, ‘I’m tired of listening to what I’m listening to, and I’m tired of seeing what I’m seeing. I want YOU back.’”
But Houston continued to put up resistance, even saying to Clive, “You have a great roster of people (Jennifer Hudson, Leona Lewis, Monica). I said, ‘Do your thing.’”
However, the music impresario only told her, “Nope, nobody’s singing like you; nobody’s going to do it like we used to do it.”
But Houston says that she was perfectly happy at the time in her dual roles of mother and daughter.
“I was just ready to lay back and raise my daughter and just watch her grow and nurture her,” she said. “And my mother’s getting older. I wanted to spend more time with my mom (because during) most of my 20s and 30s, (I) was dealing with making records and traveling the world and being this thing — icon, you know — whatever this has turned into.”
Ebony points out how the singer’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, is now a “trim and fashionable 16-year-old, who sat in the front row” at her mom’s listening party for media and celebs in New York.
“She and I are not only mother and daughter, but we’re good friends,” Houston said. “I want her to trust me, to be able to trust in me, to know that I’m not going nowhere. If she knows that I’m there for her, she can depend on me. I’m the dependable one; she can depend on her mommy.”
Houston goes on to point out that it was her strong spiritual belief that kept her strong through her difficulties in recent years.
“I’m really humbled, and I thank God that people love me,” she told Ebony. “But I (really) thank God that God loves me. I thank Him for chastening my heart, for never letting go. What I did sometime … I went off and did my thing, but He never let me go.
“I shed a lot of stuff, a lot of unnecessary weight in the last three or four years,” she continued. “I left a lot of old luggage behind, and when I did, the blessings just started pouring on me, and the light in my spirit started to lift again.”
Ebony even talked to Whitney’s first cousin, the famous Dionne Warwick, for their article.
“I am thrilled for her,” cousin Warwick told the mag. “She sounds wonderful. She sounds happy. That’s the one thing about being able to sing a song. You hear the joy in her voice. And the album cover is just flawless. You see the happiness in her eyes.”
The October 2009 issue of Ebony is on sale Monday, Sept. 7.