Legendary pop singer Whitney Houston was found dead Saturday at a Beverly Hills, California, hotel, officials said. She was 48.
In 2009, R. Kelly worked with Whitney on her last studio album. He wrote two songs, 'Salute' and 'I Look To You', the album's title song and released as the album's debut single.
Kelly also worked on the Sparkle soundtrack which features a song entitled 'Celebrate', performed by Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks - It's said to be Whitney's final recording.
Both Whitney and R. Kelly have spoken fondly of each other.
Whitney on R. Kelly:
“My dear, dear R. Kelly, some people just have their own world and R. Kelly, he has his own world. You have to step into his world and I kinda stepped in and stepped out for a minute, that’s a story we’ll keep between him and I—forever." (2009)
"[There] would not have been a ‘Salute’ or ‘I Look to You’ without Robert Kelly, who is by far one of the best singer-songwriters in the industry today.” (2009)
"R. Kelly - You are one of a kind but you are the best!" - ILTY Thank You's (2009)
When I asked her about her “Sparkle” soundtrack writing-mate R. Kelly, she illustrated the R&B songwriter in terms of a holy man mixed with her own flesh-and-blood.
“He is a kind of musician the kind of person whom you can stand up and say ‘This is how I feel,’ and he’ll write a song about it in five minutes. And If anybody knows anything about anointing, he has anointing on him that’s powerful. I’ve watched it myself. And we’ve had our share of words… he’s like a brother to me. We talk about life and things that happen in life, and our triumphs and our survival of it. That makes a good song for anybody to sing or anybody to write.” (2012)
R. Kelly on working Whitney:
“Whitney, that’s like my sister. We get into it all the time, but she didn’t understand the process, and Toni Braxton didn’t understand the process. You have to talk about them and crack on them. I’m a mama jokes specialist. Sometimes you got to get to cracking and ribbing on people to let them know how real yo ass is and how ghetto you is,” he said.
Kelly then re-enacted his conversation in the studio with Houston.
Kelly: Now say this. [Begins playing keyboard and singing Houston’s ‘I Look to You’] “As I lay me down…”
Then mimicking Houston’s voice, he said, “What the f-k you mean say that? That’s all you got?”
Kelly: “Hell yeah, that’s all I got! But just say that for right now. You gonna have to trust me some [continues singing ‘I Look to You’]. Then now when it all starts to come together halfway through the song, now yo ass wants to believe me! Yeah whatever.”
Kelly said he admonished Houston, urging her to get herself together before returning to the studio, because he wanted her in mint condition when they cut his songs. “I told her to go get clean and refreshed, and sing my song like ‘I’ll Will Always Love You,’ and we gonna be alright,” he laughed. (2009)