LONDON(Reuters) – For music mogul Clive Davis, one memory stands out from a six-decade career – the sudden death of long-time collaborator Whitney Houston.
The Grammy-winning record producer and executive – and subject of a new documentary “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives” – met the future star singer when she was an untested teenager.
“Whitney and I formed this creative collaboration, right from the beginning when she was 19 years old, and chose together every song that she ever recorded,” Davis said.
Houston won six of her own Grammys in a 25-year career that was marred by drug and alcohol problems and a turbulent marriage to singer Bobby Brown. She died in 2012 aged 48, after drowning in a hotel bathtub.
“Her death was so startling and unexpected – there is that analogy when someone dear to you, and it brought back the loss of my parents – how you can be affected by this tragedy,” he told Reuters.
“The film does make clear that I might have been a little bit more vigilant earlier. But once I became aware of the seriousness of Whitney’s addiction, I acted,” he added.
The documentary ranges further over his career, with interviews with other artists he worked with from Aretha Franklin and Alicia Keys to Sean “Puffy” Combs, Patti Smith and Paul Simon.
He was there in the early days of rap, financing the LaFace and Bad Boy labels which launched the careers of some of the first artists to attain mainstream success, such as Notorious B.I.G. and Combs.
Davis said Combs convinced him that they could convince mainstream audiences to embrace hip-hop. “He was very articulate in expressing that vision and I bought into it,” Davis said.
“Clive Davis: The Soundtrack To Our Lives,” is released on Oct. 3 via the Apple Music streaming service.
Reporting by Jayson Mansray; Writing by Mark Hanrahan; Editing by Andrew Heavens