Clive Davis is a genius.
I know that no one has ever doubted his brilliance, but themarketing and set up for WhitneyHouston's "I Look To You" illustrates my point.
When she looks up to sing to the singular strobe lightbeaming down on her, she gives the impression that God is the YOU she isreferring to in the song. It is God she is thanking for giving her the strength to overcome her past dramas.
Fifteen seconds into this video, I am reminded of "TheGreatest Love Of All"-Whitney. And even though I was quick topoint out the flaws with her Good Morning America performance, that critiquebecame irrelevant as I watched this video.
The "I Look To You" video captures Whitney at a high point. Shesounds great, and is singing a message that--while is specific to her ownexperiences-is universal and fitting, considering these rough economic times.
Now, here's why Clive Davis is worth millions.
He figured out a way to make Whitney win during a time whenrecord sales are low.
Even though first week record sales are important, Clive wassmart enough to make sure that Arista Records did not exhaust all of its Whitneypromotional tools before the release of the album.
Clive kept under wraps footage of Whitney's performance athis party. Any clip I heard was of such poor quality that I could not judge formyself. I had to feed off of the hype.
In July, Clive hosted exclusive album listening parties forwhich Whitney made appearances. At the BeverlyHills event that I attended, he told us that the 9 songs he played were notmastered, but just a preview of what we should expect.
Based on the reaction of the folks at the Beverly Hills session, people were impressedand genuinely enthusiastic about the songs they heard.
Over the next month-in-a-half, songs from the album leakedmore frequently, heightening curiosity.
Then, the album dropped.GoodMorning America viewers. Her performance did not live up to myexpectations. I felt like I had been let down.
Clive let the 'net pick apart Whitney's live performance fora week.
Still, Whitneydebuted at No. 1, impressively selling more than 300,000 copies in the US.
The very next day, Clive let Oprah premiere Whitney's regaland polished "I Look To You" video.
The timing was perfect. The video trumps the Good MorningAmerica performance. We can say whatever we want to say about the Good MorningAmerica performance. But at the end of the day, a bad performance from anartist you love does not mean much at all. It is an isolated event.
What you hold onto, sing along to, envision in your head isthe version you hear and see repeatedly. It's the one on your CD, computer,radio or television.
I've already forgotten about the Good Morning Americaperformance.
The Whitney in the "I Look To You" video is the Whitney Iwant.
But Clive isn't done.Oprahis going to bring it home. She has devoted Monday AND Tuesday to Whitney.
I hear that a video for the Alicia Keys' penned "MillionDollar Bill" is due out at the end of the Oprah week.
The set up and roll out for the promotion of "I Look To You"is incredible.
If it weren't for the release of Jay-Z's highly anticipated "BP3,"Whitney would have easily held down another week at No. 1.
I wonder what they are planning for the holiday shoppingseason.
This is what I call a comeback.
- Clive Davis