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'The Bodyguard' Soundtrack: 25 Years After Whitney Houston's Masterpiece

Whitney Houston

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'The Bodyguard' Soundtrack: 25 Years After Whitney Houston's Masterpiece

Clive Davis, Deborah Cox, Maureen Crowe, and other key players in the GRAMMY-winning album's legacy reflect on the best-selling soundtrack of all time

GRAMMYs/Nov 9, 2017 - 12:16 am

It's been 25 years since the release of The Bodyguard soundtrack, and the 13-song collection continues to hold the record for best-selling music from a film, boasting a staggering sales total of more than 45 million copies worldwide.

Of course, the feat can be attributed largely to the appeal of late pop queen Whitney Houston, who co-starred in the film and contributed six songs, among them her jaw-dropping version of Dolly Parton's 1974 ballad "I Will Always Love You" that features Houston delivering arguably the best female pop vocal performance of all time.

Released just weeks before the film debuted, "I Will Always Love You" opens with a piercingly sweet a cappella melody and the chorus soars into a string of impressive, triumphant vocal acrobatics. Like a movie trailer, the music video builds interest in the film, previewing highlight clips as Houston sings the lead song.

"I Will Always Love You" was simply magic — a lighting-in-a-bottle pairing of the right song with the right voice. It ultimately held the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 14 weeks, earned Record Of The Year honors at the 36th GRAMMY Awards and helped the project earn the distinction as one of three soundtracks to receive the GRAMMY for Album Of The Year, among other accolades.

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Looking back on this milestone anniversary, The Bodyguard lead actor and co-producer Kevin Costner says Houston was his first and only pick to portray his female co-lead, Rachel Marron, a larger-than-life pop star with magnetism and depth.

"We just needed a world-class voice, a world-class beauty in a sense and a world-class presence, and there's not many that fit that bill," recalls Costner, whose film career was blossoming at the time. "I didn't see anybody [else] on the landscape that actually matched up with what we needed in a contemporary way and a musical way."

It would be difficult to argue with Costner's point. Houston, a stunning former model, was already a pop star of the magnitude of a fictional character. Her previous three albums at the time — Whitney Houston (1985), Whitney (1987) and I'm Your Baby Tonight (1990) — scaled the top of the charts, with the former two landing at No. 1. Costner was so convinced that Houston was the right fit for the role that he delayed production until the "Greatest Love Of All" singer finished touring and was available to begin filming.

Music mogul Clive Davis, who signed Houston to his Arista Records label and co-executive produced the soundtrack, says Houston made a deliberate choice to accept The Bodyguard role.

"It was a very specific and determined decision on her part," Davis says. "She said, 'I really want to make a film.' I asked, 'Well, can you afford to? You're making literally $20 to $50 million an album — a movie will probably take a year of your time. And can you get a part that you feel comfortable with that does justice to your talents?"

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Houston met and exceeded Davis' challenge to find a film role that could make her an even bigger star.

The GRAMMY winner garnered praise for her big-screen debut, including notable film critics such as Roger Ebert. "[Whitney Houston] is at home in the role; she photographs wonderfully, and has a warm smile, and yet is able to suggest selfish and egotistical dimensions in the character," wrote Ebert in his three-star review of the film.

Musically speaking, the six songs Houston performs on the soundtrack (five in the film) offered an impressive sampling of her varied vocal stylings: power pop ballads a la "I Will Always Love You," "I Have Nothing" and "Run To You"; an R&B dance cover of Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman"; a rock-fueled crossover hit in "Queen Of The Night"; and the pop/gospel offering "Jesus Loves Me." Each song, save for "Jesus Loves Me," was released as a single and peaked in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, U.S. Dance Club Songs or Adult Contemporary charts.

Music supervisor Maureen Crowe rounded out the best-selling soundtrack with plenty of more soulful firepower: Kenny G and Aaron Neville's "Even If My Heart Would Break," Lisa Stansfield's "Someday (I'm Coming Back)," the S.o.u.l. S.y.s.t.e.m.'s "It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day," Curtis Stigers' "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, And Understanding," Kenny G's "Waiting For You," Joe Cocker and Sass Jordan's "Trust In Me," and Alan Silvestri's "Theme From 'The Bodyguard.'"

While "I Will Always Love You" eventually sold more than 4 million copies as a single, it actually wasn't the first choice for the soundtrack's pivotal song. Costner originally intended to use Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted" but another remake of the track had already been used prominently on the soundtrack for the Academy Award-nominated film Fried Green Tomatoes, which was released while The Bodyguard was in production.

Crowe suggested a few alternate options, with Costner picking "I Will Always Love You." The actor pitched the song to Houston, Davis and producer David Foster, and they all loved the idea.

For her part, Houston had no trouble making the song her own. Linda Ronstadt's 1975 rendition of "I Will Always Love You" was used as a reference track. However, Ronstadt's cover did not include the third verse Parton recites on the original. Crowe recalls watching Houston record the vocals for the third verse.

"I remember being in the studio and saying, 'Hey, is there anything you need for this third verse?' and [Foster]'s like, 'Don't worry, honey. Just watch her go.' David really understands how to do an arrangement for a singer of Whitney's caliber. It's like the saying: The song presents itself but the singer delivers."

"The first version that David sent me had that brilliant a cappella opening that was just chilling and spine-tingling," says Davis. "Then he kept sending more and more versions — but they weren't registering the same way with me. It got down to D-day — 'You've got to pick a single, — the movie's coming out.' Finally, I had to pick, and I picked that very first version."

In addition to the soundtrack's astronomical success, all of these colliding positive forces helped yield a box-office smash. The film made $411 million in 1992, making it the second highest-earning movie globally that year, while raising Houston's profile higher into the stratosphere.

The Bodyguard Soundtrack Reissued For Its 25th Anniversary

"Plain and simple, The Bodyguard's unparalleled success cemented Whitney Houston's status in the firmament of iconic female singers," says Gail Mitchell, Billboard magazine senior correspondent. "The film also opened the door to a second career as an actress — a transition that only a few singers have seamlessly accomplished."

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While Houston's life and career were cut short far too soon by her tragic death in 2012, her legacy and influence live on through her work, with The Bodyguard playing a key part.

Today, musical adaptations of The Bodyguard run rampant around the world. In addition to productions in Toronto, Australia, Madrid, and North America, "The Bodyguard" musical opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End during the fall of 2012, featuring Heather Headley in the principal role.

GRAMMY-nominated singer Deborah Cox was cast in 2015 for North American dates. Cox, who was a labelmate with Houston at Arista Records and recorded the 2000 duet "Same Script, Different Cast" with her, admits to feeling the pressure to uphold Houston's legacy.

"I wouldn't be honest with you if I didn't tell you it was challenging," says Cox, who is currently performing U.S. dates through 2018. "I knew what the expectations were. I knew what I would have to perform and deliver every single night."

Challenge aside, Cox could not resist taking on the role. Like millions of fans, it especially resonated with her because she was already a huge Houston fan, loved The Bodyguard and knew all of the songs. And it's a story that continues to appeal to fans 25 years later and beyond.

"It was the perfect combination of my favorite entertainer, a storyline and a script that I love — because I'm a hopeless romantic — set on a screen and a good story put with [timeless] music."

(Billy Johnson Jr. is a Los Angeles-based freelance music journalist, content producer and former senior editor for Yahoo Music. You can follow him on Twitter at @BillyJohnsonJr.)

Did You Know? Whitney Houston's "The Bodyguard — Original Soundtrack" Album

(Photos: WireImage.com/Getty Images)

17 Love Songs That Have Won GRAMMYs: "I Will Always Love You," "Drunk In Love" & More
(L-R) Usher and Alicia Keys during the Super Bowl LVIII halftime show.

Photo: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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17 Love Songs That Have Won GRAMMYs: "I Will Always Love You," "Drunk In Love" & More

Over the GRAMMYs' 66-year history, artists from Frank Sinatra to Ed Sheeran have taken home golden gramophones for their heartfelt tunes. Take a look at some of the love songs that have won GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Feb 14, 2024 - 09:42 pm

Editor's Note: This is an update to a story from 2017.

Without heart-bursting, world-shifting love songs, music wouldn't be the same. There are countless classic and chart-topping hits dedicated to love, and several of them have won GRAMMYs.

We're not looking at tunes that merely deal with shades of love or dwell in heartbreak. We're talking out-and-out, no-holds-barred musical expressions of affection — the kind of love that leaves you wobbly at the knees.

No matter how you're celebrating Valentine's Day (or not), take a look at 18 odes to that feel-good, mushy-gushy love that have taken home golden gramophones over the years.

Frank Sinatra, "Strangers In The Night"

Record Of The Year / Best Vocal Performance, Male, 1967

Ol' Blue Eyes offers but a glimmer of hope for the single crowd on Valentine's Day, gently ruminating about exchanging glances with a stranger and sharing love before the night is through.

Willie Nelson, "Always On My Mind"

Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, 1983

In this cover, Nelson sings to the woman in his life, lamenting over those small things he should have said and done, but never took the time. Don't find yourself in the same position this Valentine's Day.

Lionel Richie, "Truly"

Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1983

"Truly" embodies true dedication to a loved one, and it's delivered with sincerity from the king of '80s romantic pop — who gave life to the timeless love-song classics "Endless Love," "Still" and "Three Times A Lady."

Roy Orbison, "Oh, Pretty Woman"

Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1991

Orbison captures the essence of encountering a lovely woman for the first time, and offers helpful one-liners such as "No one could look as good as you" and "I couldn't help but see … you look as lovely as can be." Single men, take notes.

Whitney Houston, "I Will Always Love You"

Record Of The Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, 1994

Houston passionately delivers a message of love, remembrance and forgiveness on her version of this song, which was written by country sweetheart Dolly Parton and first nominated for a GRAMMY in 1982.

Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)"  

Record Of The Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, 1999

This omnipresent theme song from the 1997 film Titanic was propelled to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 as the story of Jack and Rose (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and GRAMMY winner Kate Winslet) swept the country.

Shania Twain, "You're Still The One"

Best Female Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song, 1999

Co-written with producer and then-husband Mutt Lange, Twain speaks of beating the odds with love and perseverance in lyrics such as, "I'm so glad we made it/Look how far we've come my baby," offering a fresh coat of optimism for couples of all ages.

Usher & Alicia Keys, "My Boo"

Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals, 2005

"There's always that one person that will always have your heart," sings Usher in this duet with Keys, taking the listener back to that special first love. The chemistry between the longtime friends makes this ode to “My Boo” even more heartfelt, and the love was still palpable even 20 years later when they performed it on the Super Bowl halftime show stage.

Bruno Mars, "Just The Way You Are"

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, 2011

Dating advice from Bruno Mars: If you think someone is beautiful, you should tell them every day. Whether or not it got Mars a date for Valentine's Day, it did get him a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona, "Fool For You" 

Best Traditional R&B Performance, 2012

It's a far cry from his previous GRAMMY-winning song, "F*** You," but "Fool For You" had us yearning for "that deep, that burning/ That amazing unconditional, inseparable love."

Justin Timberlake, "Pusher Love Girl" 

Best R&B Song, 2014

Timberlake is so high on the love drug he's "on the ceiling, baby." Timberlake co-wrote the track with James Fauntleroy, Jerome Harmon and Timbaland, and it's featured on his 2013 album The 20/20 Experience, which flew high to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Beyoncé & Jay-Z, "Drunk In Love"

Best R&B Performance / Best R&B Song, 2015

While "Drunk In Love" wasn't the first love song that won Beyoncé and Jay-Z a GRAMMY — they won two GRAMMYs for "Crazy In Love" in 2004 — it is certainly the sexiest. This quintessential 2010s bop from one of music's most formidable couples captures why their alliance set the world's hearts aflame (and so did their steamy GRAMMYs performance of it).

Ed Sheeran, "Thinking Out Loud"

Song Of The Year / Best Pop Solo Performance, 2016

Along with his abundant talent, Sheeran's boy-next-door charm is what rocketed him to the top of the pop ranks. And with swooning lyrics and a waltzing melody, "Thinking Out Loud" is proof that he's a modern-day monarch of the love song.

Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, "Shallow"

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance / Best Song Written For Visual Media, 2019

A Star is Born's cachet has gone up and down with its various remakes, but the 2018 iteration was a smash hit. Not only is that thanks to moving performances from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, but particularly thanks to their impassioned, belt-along duet "Shallow."

H.E.R. & Daniel Caesar, "Best Part"

Best R&B Performance, 2019

"If life is a movie/ Know you're the best part." Who among us besotted hasn't felt their emotions so widescreen, so thunderous? Clearly, H.E.R. and Daniel Caesar have — and they poured that feeling into the GRAMMY-winning ballad "Best Part."

Kacey Musgraves, "Butterflies"

Best Country Solo Performance, 2019

As Musgraves' Album Of The Year-winning LP Golden Hour shows, the country-pop star can zoom in or out at will, capturing numberless truths about the human experience. With its starry-eyed lyrics and swirling production, "Butterflies" perfectly encapsulates the flutter in your stomach that love can often spark.

Dan + Shay & Justin Bieber, "10,000 Hours"

Best Country Duo/Group Performance, 2021

When country hook-meisters Dan + Shay teamed up with pop phenom Justin Bieber, their love song powers were unstoppable. With more than 1 billion Spotify streams alone, "10,000 Hours" has become far more than an ode to just their respective wives; it's an anthem for any lover.

Lovesick Or Sick Of Love: Listen To GRAMMY.com's Valentine's Day Playlist Featuring Taylor Swift, Doja Cat, Playboi Carti, Olivia Rodrigo, FKA Twigs & More

Inside The Recording Academy And Clive Davis' 2024 Pre-GRAMMY Gala: New Artists, Lasting Legends and Iconic Performances
(L-R) Sabrina Carpenter, Ice Spice, Lana Del Rey and Jack Antonoff attend the 2024 Pre-GRAMMY Gala, presented by the Recording Academy and Clive Davis.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Inside The Recording Academy And Clive Davis' 2024 Pre-GRAMMY Gala: New Artists, Lasting Legends and Iconic Performances

Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, stars including Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Megan Thee Stallion, Chloe x Halle, and more flocked to the annual Pre-GRAMMY Gala co-presented by the Recording Academy.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2024 - 10:20 pm

Who better than Tom Hanks to say it best?

"Clive Davis has provided us with the soundtrack of our lives, our emotions and our inspirations," the legendary actor said of the night's premiement host; the legendary music executive, passionate advocate for the power of song and noted discoverer of artists. 

"Music is the food [of the soul], give us excess of it," said Hanks in his passionate opening soliloquy packed with approbation. "And tonight is a night of excess."

It's the stuff of legend, a topic of lore and an evening that regularly rockets itself in the pages of music history. For nearly 50 years, the annual Pre-GRAMMY Gala, presented by the Recording Academy and Clive Davis, has been a star-making opportunity for the music industry to celebrate their past monumental year, highlighting both veteran acts and tomorrow's superstars. For the 2024 Pre-GRAMMY Galasponsored by Hilton, IBM and Mastercard and held on a rainy night at its regular home at the equally iconic Beverly Hilton Hotel the night before the 2024 GRAMMYs, its usual slot on the calendar — the grand master of music's party continued to provide a beacon of light for jaw-dropping performances and starry shoulder-rubbing. 

But before the party is the cocktail hour; a curious affair where music past and present collides. In one corner finds Producer Of The Year nominee Dan Nigro, the pop whisperer behind acclaimed acts ranging from Chappell Roan, Conan Gray and the multiple-Grammy nominated Olivia Rodrigo. A couple people away was Frankie Valli, last year's Pre-GRAMMY Gala opener who is currently in the midst of what he bills as a farewell tour. Looking around the room, the star power is abundant: Dianne Warren, the aforementioned Hanks with wife Rita Wilson, MusiCares' 2024 Person Of The Year Jon Bon Jovi, longtime Gala guest Nancy Pelosi alongside husband Paul. 

Just beyond the cocktail hour lies the red carpet, which boasts a head-snapping array of personalities. Megan Thee Stallion strutted in flaunting a gold-colored dress, while last year's Best New Artist winner Samara Joy sauntered in an equally dazzling gown. The list of guests includes an eclectic array of who's who in music: pop star Ellie Goulding, the dance-pop-country artist and producer Diplo, country-pop icon Shania Twain, recent Black Music Collective honorees Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz, the producer David Foster with wife Katherine McPhee, eventual three-time GRAMMY winners Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridgers (the trio otherwise known as Boygenius), and the following night's GRAMMY opener Dua Lipa, among countless others.

As the esteemed guests (which also included Kenneth "Babyface" EdmundsJanelle Monáe, Troye Sivan, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, the members of Earth, Wind and Fire and Charli XCX) settled into their seats in a ballroom with a stage outfitted with the bash's signature twinkle lights sparkling on the stage, a countdown on the monitors appeared. 3, 2, 1…

"We're going to play a game of word association," said Hanks, who was bestowed the honor of introducing Davis and to mark the occasion, he managed to recite a massive list of artists Davis had a hand or hands in making superstars, from Janis Joplin to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, right up to Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys. "The only reason why Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky weren't mentioned is because they all died before Clive Davis had a chance to introduce them," he joked.

"I've gotta tell you, the emotions run high," said Davis. "I look out among you and I see so many familiar faces. The whole thing began as long ago as 1976 and I really have to pinch myself that it's going so, so strong. I'm happy to say that music is alive and well."

Tennis great Serena Williams introduced the night's opening act, Green Day. "In 2022, Clive Davis and I were honored together when we were inducted into the National Portrait Gallery," she recalled. "I said to him, 'You've got to remember to invite me to your gala. I'm so thrilled to be back here to introduce my favorite band. To know me is to know my love for them."

The punk gods are currently making a comeback with their 14th studio album, Saviors, and celebrating the 30th anniversary of their breakout album Dookie and 20th anniversary of their massively successful LP American Idiot. The group honored both anniversaries with a song from each, "American Idiot" and "Basket Case."

In years past, the night's performers ranged a wide gamut; but to prove Davis's point and regenerative effects of the industry, this year a large portion of the roster of surprise performers were plucked from the 2024's crop of Best New Artist nominees. There was the singer-songwriter Noah Kahan, who busted out a rousing rendition of his own breakout "Stick Season," while Ice Spice hit the stage to deliver her 2023 solo hit, "Deli." 

Rising country star Jelly Roll was also bequeathed a coveted slot, proclaiming his excitement by saying he had "only read about the party in books and magazines." With that, he delivered rousing versions of his candid single "Need a Favor" backed by a choir, as well as his equally affecting "Save Me," on which he brought out duet partner and eventual GRAMMY winner Lainey Wilson.

In fact, it was Wilson who provided one of the most surprising moments of the night when she appeared to perform a special version of Barbie's "I'm Just Ken" accompanied by songwriter Andrew Watt on piano and Mark Ronson on guitar. Of course, Davis was the architect of the moment, an idea he said came to him last week; Ronson suggested Wilson after the song's original performer, the actor Ryan Gosling, was unavailable. 

"To look astound and to see some of the greatest musicians and record-makers, it's really an honor to be here," Ronson said. "This is a song we wrote for the movie Barbie about the beauty of being the runner-up sometimes, which is a lesson I know very well," he said to laughter. "It's pretty cool to be second sometimes."

2024 GRAMMYs: Explore More & Meet The Nominees

Fresh off his starring role on Broadway's Sweeney Todd, Josh Groban delivered a subtle tribute to the legend behind the Broadway musical by performing "Children Will Listen," before paying tribute to Davis himself with a gospel-tinged performance of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which Davis had a hand in releasing. Joining him was another Best New Artist nominee, The War and Treaty frontman Michael Trotter Jr., and the pair's joint vocal power brought the audience to its feet. 

Musical whiplash ensued with additional performances courtesy Maluma and Isley Brothers, the latter of which performed their instantly-recognizable "Shout" as a tribute to Chairman and CEO of SONY Music Publishing Jon Platt, the evening's Icon honoree. An award which in years past has gone to heavyweights including David Geffen, Mo Ostin, Ahmet Ertgun and Jerry Moss to name a few, Platt was touched by the honor and delivered a 40-minute speech chock full of stories and reflections. Not even a beeping fire alarm, which at one point blared and flashed through his speech, tripped up Platt.

"It's funny because Harvey called me and I thought he needed help with something," said Platt, recalling the moment the Recording Academy's CEO Harvey Mason jr. informed him of the honor. "But he said I was selected as this year's industry icon and I was like, 'Wow, man.'" 

Noting he needed convincing to accept the honor ("I'm [just] seeing so many other people doing great things," he relented), Platt's contributions to music, from his work with everyone from Isley Brothers to Beyonce to Jay-Z, and even Oliva Rodrigo, makes him both a genre and decade-spanning force. 

"You'll see a consistent thing with me is that I'm a music nerd-fanboy," Platt said, noting how a kind word from the composer Gerald Busby made this evening a full circle moment for him. "[One day in 1998] I saw him and we were making small talk and he said, 'Someone was asking me who I see in the industry today that can achieve the things that I can achieve. I told them that Big Jon's gonna run the whole thing one day.' For someone to share the belief they have in you is incredibly powerful. From that day, I changed the course of my focus. Everything had a purpose after that."

Another one of the artists Platt fostered performed in his honor as well: Public Enemy. "We're here for you and here for all of our heroes and hero-ettes," Chuck D declared before the group dove into an energetic medley of "Can't Truss It," "Bring the Noise" and "Fight the Power." 

It wouldn't be a Clive Davis bash without one final surprise. As 1 a.m. neared, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick hit the stage, with the former belting out a passionate version of "(The Way We Were) Memories" and the duo joining together for Warwick's endearing staple, "That's What Friends are For" alongside Andra Day. 

But from the electrified crowd, guest Stevie Wonder just couldn't help himself, getting up on stage to assist on harmonica. "This has been such a wonderful blessing to meet all of these people in my life; to meet Dionne, to meet Gladys," Wonder said, cueing up an unrehearsed and on-the-fly version of "What the World Needs Now Is Love" with the entire group. 

"I know this is what we need in the world," he continued. "There are many people that for so many years have been dividing people, not understanding the purpose that God has given us to come together."

It was a moving way to wrap up the night — and a fitting one at that, bringing together stars young and old to offer an inspiring message, and remind just how powerful music can be.

10 Must-See Moments From The 2024 GRAMMYs: Taylor Swift Makes History, Billy Joel & Tracy Chapman Return, Boygenius Manifest Childhood Dreams

GRAMMY Museum Announces Student Showcase Program For High School Students Aspiring To Work In The Music Industry

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GRAMMY Museum Announces Student Showcase Program For High School Students Aspiring To Work In The Music Industry

On Jan. 27, high school musical acts will participate in panel discussions and perform for the public and music industry professionals as part of a new Student Showcase program. The event kicks off the Museum’s 2024 GRAMMY Week.

GRAMMYs/Jan 18, 2024 - 06:05 pm

The GRAMMY Museum has announced a new program designed to offer highschool students an opportunity to showcase their musical talents on stage at the GRAMMY Museum. The Student Showcase program will feature high school musical acts from Los Angeles and elsewhere in Southern California, performing in a variety of genres. 

Kicking off the Museum’s GRAMMY Week 2024 programming, these solo performers, bands and groups will perform at the Student Showcase Finale on Saturday, Jan. 27 from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. PT. The event will be held in the Museum's Clive Davis Theater. 

Student Showcase artists and bands include Zharia Amel, Kieler Avery, Maya Delgado, DIONE, HEDY, Honeybee, Iris Le, Kayla Pincus, SPARK, Sam Sweeney, Matias Villasana, and What Can I Say? This inaugural program has been made possible due to the generous support of The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation. 

Ahead of the actual showcase, students will participate in panel discussions focusing on careers in music, content creation, and stage presence, as well as receive real time feedback from industry professionals during rehearsals. Guest panelists include A.D. Johnson (Founder, Chosen Musicians), Amanda Verdadero (Production Manager, Kia Forum), Candace Newman (CEO & founder, Live Out L!ve), Cisco Adler (musician and record producer), Grecco Buratto (musician and composer), Nirupam “Niru” Pratapgiri (Artist Manager, Red Light Management), Omar Akram (composer and pianist), and Taji Hardwick (Talent Buyer, Goldenvoice).

Participants will also work with the Museum’s production team to understand what it takes to produce a live event — from staging and lighting direction, to managing the soundboard and video production. 

The Student Showcase Finale will be free, open to the public, and live streamed so the performers can reach a wider audience. In addition, participants will receive their performance footage for their social media channels and get tips on content creation and branding.

The GRAMMY Museum, currently celebrating its 15th anniversary, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating and exploring music from yesterday and today to inspire the music of tomorrow through exhibits, education, grants, preservation initiatives, and public programming. Paying tribute to our collective musical heritage, the Museum values and celebrates the dynamic connection in people’s diverse backgrounds and music’s many genres, telling stories that inspire us, and creative expression that leads change in our industry.

Kenneth T. Norris and Eileen L. Norris believed they had an obligation to give back to the community and in 1963 The Kenneth T. & Eileen L. Norris Foundation was created with $9,140. They initially focused their grantmaking on two key areas: medicine and private education in Southern California. It was their belief that concentrating the Foundation’s resources would allow its gifts to have the greatest impact. They instilled in their son, Kenneth T. Norris, Jr. the same dedication to philanthropy, and he took over as chairman of the Foundation in 1972, after his father’s death. Throughout the years the Norris Foundation continued to allocate large portions of its resources to medicine and education but also encompassed a broader range of organizations – one that also includes community and youth programs, science and the arts.

In each program area the Norris Foundation has shaped the results, producing a pattern of giving designed to encourage, extend, reconfigure, or transform projects originating from a diverse assortment of nonprofit recipients. Harlyne J. Norris took over as chairman of the Foundation in 1997, after the death of her husband Kenneth T. Norris, Jr. In 2003, Harlyne passed the reins to her daughter Lisa D. Hansen who served as chair of the Board until her passing. In 2023, the Norris Foundation celebrated its 60th Anniversary and Walter J. Zanino was elected chairman of the Board. Since 1963, we have created partnerships with many different organizations that we still collaborate with today. We count our longstanding relationships as one of our most valued assets. We are very proud of our history and look forward to the future with optimism.

GRAMMY Museum Foundation Receives $2 Million Donation From The Ray Charles Foundation

8 Ways Whitney Houston Made An Iconic '90s Comeback With 'My Love Is Your Love'
Whitney Houston performs in Paris in 1998.

Photo: Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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8 Ways Whitney Houston Made An Iconic '90s Comeback With 'My Love Is Your Love'

After several years of made-for-movies music, Whitney Houston delivered her first studio album in nearly a decade — and reestablished herself as one of pop's all-time greats.

GRAMMYs/Nov 17, 2023 - 04:29 pm

By 1998, the late Whitney Houston was a good 15 years into her colossally successful music career— and yet, by this point, she'd only ever released three studio albums. But as the millennium approached, the legendary diva finally decided to follow up her two eponymous 1980s efforts and 1990's I'm Your Baby Tonight. And the wait proved to be worth it.

My Love Is Your Love may have only peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 (it had the misfortune to be released alongside nine other major new releases on a retail battlefield coined Super Tuesday). But the record-buying public gradually recognized that Houston was no longer just the power ballad expert; she had finally embraced the kind of innovative R&B sound they'd always wanted, and known she was capable of. And after several years away from the upper reaches of the Billboard Hot 100, she suddenly scored three consecutive top five hits, guiding the slow-burner to platinum status four times over – and proving that Whitney Houston was back in full force.

With the contemporary R&B classic now celebrating its 25th anniversary on Nov. 17, here's a look at how Houston reasserted her status as a superstar with one of the greatest comebacks of the decade.

She Tapped The Era's Hottest Producer

Rodney Jerkins ruled the R&B scene at the turn of the century, producing monster hits for the likes of Destiny's Child ("Say My Name"), Jennifer Lopez ("If You Had My Love"), and Toni Braxton ("He Wasn't Man Enough for Me"), to name a few. But Houston was one of the first artists to recognize that his trademark staccato beats and alluring harpsichords equaled musical gold.**

Shortly after Brandy and Monica's "The Boy Is Mine" put him on the map in 1998, Jerkins was tapped to work his magic on three My Love Is Your Love tracks: "Get It Back," "If I Told You That" (which also received a 2000 remix with another 1980s favorite, George Michael), and, perhaps most notably, "It's Not Right But It's Okay." Houston's work with Jenkins both helped her move away from mainstream pop and show that she still had her finger on the pulse.

She Rediscovered Her Soulfulness

Houston had famously been accused of abandoning her gospel and soul roots in favor of chasing a white pop crowd during her first imperial phase, even memorably getting booed at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1989. No one could label her a sellout with My Love Is Your Love, though.

Not only did Houston put her own spin on an all-time Motown classic, Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made to Love Her," she also roped in R&B talents both established (Babyface, Lauryn Hill) and emerging (Missy Elliott, Kelly Price) to help hone a fresh, forward-thinking sound that was far removed from the adult contemporary ballads she'd made her name with. It was a move validated when the same ceremony she'd been heckled at handed her two nominations and an Artist of the Decade Award.

She Didn't Forget Her Beloved Original Sound

Houston didn't entirely eschew the blockbuster ballads that established her place alongside Celine Dion and Mariah Carey in the holy trinity of powerhouse divas. In fact, she and the latter essentially engage in a sing-off on The Prince of Egypt Oscar-winning theme "When You Believe" (which served as the lead single for the film's soundtrack, My Love Is Your Love and Carey's compilation album #1's).

Elsewhere, songwriting maestro Diane Warren delivers not just one, but two epic love songs in the shape of "I Learned from the Best," and "You'll Never Stand Alone." And Faith Evans and Kelly Price collab "Heartbreak Hotel" (despite its title, not an Elvis Presley cover) proved Houston could still out-warble those who were still in school when "Greatest Love of All" and "Saving All My Love for You" topped the Hot 100. It was a move that helped to perfectly bridge the gap between the old and the new.

She Won Her First R&B Grammy

Although Houston had previously been nominated six times in the R&B GRAMMY categories, she'd never converted any of them into wins: three of her five awards had been for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, while The Bodyguard's success helped her scoop both the Record and Album Of The Year categories of 1993. That all changed with My Love Is Your Love.

The star picked up three R&B nods, and while  Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals went to TLC, Houston did take home her sixth and final GRAMMY when "It's Not Right But It's Okay" was crowned Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

She Snagged Two Fugees At The Top Of Their Game

Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill might now be better known for controversial presidential campaigns and a staggering aversion to punctuality. But back in the late '90s, they were very much R&B royalty. Both had made the transitions from chart-topping trio Fugees to solo success look effortless, particularly Hill who, a year later, would clean up at the GRAMMYs with her debut LP, The Miseducation of... And so, they proved to be an astute choice of collaborators from an artist whose street cred had long been questioned.

Wyclef gave Houston the best Bob Marley-esque jam of his career with My Love Is Your Love's title track, while his former bandmate produced the gorgeous, and hidden, closing number "I Was Made to Love Him."

She Delivered Her Most Iconic Video

From the patriotic jumpsuit she sported while belting out the National Anthem at the Super Bowl to that "accidental" fashion clash with Carey at the MTV VMAs, Houston constantly delivered as a fashion icon. But it was the video for My Love Is Your Love's third single that spawned her most iconic look.

Directed by regular cohort Kevin Bray, the "It's Not Right But It's Okay" promo sees Houston hold court in a black skin-tight corset complete with matching choker and razor-sharp bob. It was a style she replicated for one of her finest stage performances – her show-stealing display at the 1999 BRITs – and one that was also faithfully recreated in both Glee and the recent biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody.

She Became A Club Favorite 

Back in the '90s, you weren't a bona fide diva unless you got the thumping dance mix treatment: see Frankie Knuckles' take on Toni Braxton's "Unbreak My Heart," for example, or David Morales' reworking of Carey's "My All." My Love Is Your Love undoubtedly spawned Houston's biggest club banger. In fact, for many, Thunderpuss' epic nine-minute retooling of "It's Not Right But It's Okay" is the definitive version.

But there was plenty more where that came from, with remixes from the likes of Hex Hector ("Heartbreak Hotel") and Junior Vasquez ("I Learned from the Best") giving Houston four No. 1s on the US Dance Club Songs chart within the space of just 13 months.

She Reminded Everyone Of Her Ultimate Talent

For a good six years, the only singles Houston released were movie tie-ins, a clear sign that she was focusing more on her acting career than her recording during most of the 1990s. And while she acquitted herself well in Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher's Wife, and, of course, the phenomenon that was The Bodyguard, she never quite reached the same heights on the big screen as she previously had in the studio. And My Love Is Your Love reminded everyone that her voice could still blow everyone away.

On the Missy Elliott-penned "In My Business," she's the fearsome R&B diva, warning those skeptical about her bad boy lover to mind their own. On "I Learned from the Best," she's the powerhouse balladeer, drawing upon her trademark melisma while pleading with the one who got away. And on the spiritual title track, she has a new trick up her sleeve: subtlety. This is Houston at her most expressive and most versatile — and arguably, her best.

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