Seven years after her death, Whitney Houston is singing again with the help of Norwegian producer Kygo.
The 27-year-old dance music superstar has teamed with the late icon’s estate to release a contemporarily produced version of Houston’s cover of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love,” originally recorded in 1990 and previously released only in Japan as a bonus track on the album I’m Your Baby Tonight.
“When [producer] Narada Michael Walden sent me ‘Higher Love’ with the Whitney vocal [in 1990], we didn’t want her being a cover artist at that time,” Clive Davis, the record label titan who helped launch Houston’s career, told Rolling Stone of the posthumous collaboration, while Kygo added: “I was trying to make it sound like something that she would’ve done, but also something that’s my style.”
According to Pat Houston, Whitney’s sister-in-law and sole executor of her estate, indicated that the revived cover is the first of multiple musical projects on the horizon.
“The current cultural environment has been thirsty for something uplifting and inspiring. Who better to inspire than Whitney, the most exhilarating vocalist of all time?” Pat, who specifically sought out Kygo to work on updating the track, said. “You can’t tell Michael Jordan how to shoot a basketball. We knew when his name was brought up that it would be successful in the hands of someone of his caliber.”
Pat Houston previously told the New York Times she has laid out an extensive plan to reinvigorate the diva’s brand, including a compilation of previously unreleased tracks from the 1985 album Whitney Houston, a traveling hologram concert series using advanced technology to bring the singer’s likeness to stages around the world, as well as a potential Broadway musical and other licensing opportunities.
“Before she passed, there was so much negativity around the name; it wasn’t about the music anymore,” she told the Times. “People had forgotten how great she was. They let all the personal things about her life outweigh why they fell in love with her in the first place.”
Listen to Whitney’s Kygo-assisted cover of “Higher Love” above.