For accomplished South African songstress Belinda Davids, starring in The Greatest Love of All: The Whitney Houston Show is the culmination of a life-long connection with the superstar to whom she pays homage.
In 2013 Davids beat almost 15,000 other hopefuls to take on the dream role and it was her own eternal love of Houston that prepared her for the show. Exposed mainly to R&B and gospel as a child, Davids was innately drawn to Houston’s musical style. Singing professionally from her early teens, Houston songs became a fixture in Davids’ live shows. “I think I’ve sung at least one Houston track in almost every live show I’ve ever performed,” says Davids.
Though she eventually carved out a successful career as a chart-topping solo artist and a session vocalist for such artists as The Temptations, Keri Hilson, Keyshia Cole, Monica and Johnny Gill, in her earlier days Davids encountered resistance from many industry professionals who were unsure how to work with her because she looked and sounded so exactly alike Houston.
The ultimate realization of Davids’ affinity with Houston occurred during a show in Hong Kong. Following a recital of ‘I Will Always Love You’, the audience was so astounded by her performance that they demanded she sing acapella to prove she wasn’t lip-syncing to a Houston track.
Now representing her idol on stage, Davids feels destined: “I’ve essentially prepared my whole life for this show and I feel privileged to be able to honour Whitney in such a way.”