One of this year’s most anticipated releases is Whitney, a documentary that hopes to provide a candid look at Whitney Houston’s career and life. The first clip of Whitney, which features her working on the choreography for her songs “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “My Name Is Not Susan,” has just debuted, and the joy in performing is definitely evident within the footage.
Houston’s albums have sold over 200 million worldwide, and she is the only artist to have seven consecutive U.S. No. 1 singles. As an actress, she scored hits with The Bodyguard, The Preacher’s Wife, and Waiting to Exhale. Oscar winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, State of Play), who has directed his share of acclaimed documentaries (Marley, Touching the Void), directs. Check out the clip and tell us what you think!
The Voice winner Chris Blue continues his passionate attention to his craft, as the singer is currently working on his upcoming studio album. Personal songs such as “Blue Blood Blues,” a heartbreaking and compelling tune that was inspired by a previous relationships, are a testament to Blue’s decision not to go the creatively safe route with the project. Part of Blue’s success, along with having a collaborator like Alicia Keysby his side, comes from appreciating his own roots.
“Whitney Houston started in the church, one of the greatest singers of our time,” said Blue, who won season 12 of The Voice. “Marvin Gaye was a church guy. Al Green was a church. There’s a lot of talented artists that started in church that we don’t know started in church. And I’m one of those guys and I’m proud of that. It’s who I am.”
Click on the media bar to hear Blue explain why his album will be filled with original tracks and not covers:
During the 1980s, Whitney Houston became one of the biggest names in pop music. And after Madonna parlayed her musical success into a Hollywood career, it seemed only natural for the photogenic, personable Houston to follow suit. It was 25 years ago this month that her acting debut, The Bodyguard, hit the big screen. She played Rachel Marron, a singing superstar who’s being hunted by a ruthless killer. (Hence, the need for Kevin Costner’s title character.) At the time, Houston was being offered a lot of different roles, but she told us why this was the one she decided to take. (Click on the media bar below to hear Whitney Houston)
The movie was a hit, grossing more than $400 million worldwide, and also spawned one of the most successful soundtrack albums in history: It sold more than 10 million copies, and its first single, I Will Always Love You, topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a record-setting 14 weeks. But all of that almost never happened. Although Houston loved the part, she had some serious doubts about whether she could handle a role like that in her first movie. She told us it was her co-star, Kevin Costner, who really convinced her to go for it. (Click on the media bar below to hear Whitney Houston)
While the movie didn’t get much love from the critics — it was nominated for seven Golden Raspberry awards — it remains a fun film to watch, with an added poignancy now that Houston is no longer with us. It’s available on home video or streaming on Amazon.
In theaters this week, SPARKLE is based on the 1976 cult classic of the same name directed by SAM O’STEEN and starring IRENE CARA, LONETTE McKEE, DWAN SMITH, PHILIP MICHAEL THOMAS and DORIAN HAREWOOD. Centered on three sisters who form a singing group, become Motown sensations and fall prey to all the pitfalls of fast fame and even faster company, the film holds a place of honor in the hearts of many moviegoers of ‘a certain age.’ This time around, the script has been altered considerably and the film is helmed by SALIM AKIL with a cast that includes American Idol-winner JORDIN SPARKS, DEREK LUKE, MIKE EPPS, CEE-LO GREEN and (in her final role) WHITNEY HOUSTON.
Remaking cult classics is often a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” proposition that seldom manages to please everyone but, during our recent interview with producer DEBRA MARTIN CHASE, she explained that there are valid reasons for wanting to take on the challenge. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
Opening August 17th, Sparkleis set in 1968 Detroit and follows the struggles of three sisters (Carmen Ejogo, Tika Sumpter, Jordin Sparks) as they pursue their music dreams. Derek Luke also stars as their devoted manager and love interest of Sparkle (Sparks).
Former American Idolchamp Sparks told journalists that she related to her character’s inner drive (Sparkle is also a talented songwriter). “For me, I was seventeen when I won Idol, and I’ll be 23 in December,” says Sparks. “There is a lot of growth that goes on, and I related to her in the fact that she was so determined and strong willed but at the same time she was very loyal and she didn’t want to upset her mother so she had that kind of inner turmoil. The only big difference between Sparkle and I is that my parents have been 100% behind me, since I first opened my mouth crying on key when I was born!”
Although she starred on Broadway’s In The Heights back in 2010, Sparks is still a neophyte in the acting business, and during the interview she recalls the challenging audition process for Sparkle: