'The Greatest Love of All' concert comes to Jozi
The critically-acclaimed live tribute concert honouring the late Whitney Houston, her music and journey, will finally make its way to Johannesburg, with South Africa’s very own Belinda Davids as the lead.
Titled "The Greatest Love of All", Davids will perform the special orchestral concerts in June following a successful debut run in Cape Town last November.
The star, who hails from Port Elizabeth, has toured with the production since its inception in 2013, travelling between the UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and is excited to bring the production back home once again.
According to Davids, not only has the show’s success been an honour but also getting to portray her icon, with whom she has been obsessed since childhood, has been a dream for her.
“My earliest memories of Whitney Houston was when I was five-years-old when my older brother had a Teddy Pendergrass LP on which she (Whitney) performed a duet on a song called Hold Me. That was the first time I heard her, and immediately, I fell in love with her voice,” said Davids.
“I could not stop listening to it, and it was at that moment I knew she was going to be my idol and I was going to sing just like her - not sound like her, just sing like her.”
Davids was selected from 15 000 contestants who auditioned in 12 countries. Emerging as the front-runner boosted her musical career which had been struggling for years.
At the age of 20, Davids relocated to Dubai so she could support her family. She moved to Hong Kong, and later to Los Angeles where she lived for 10 years and met musician Keyshia Cole who took her on tour, enabling Davids to make a living.
Throughout the struggles and tribulations, she never gave up on her dream, until she landed this coveted role that propelled her career.
Belinda Davids. Picture: Supplied
“It’s been such an incredible experience, from meeting all sorts of different crowds in Germany, Iceland, Dublin, England, Scandinavia and America, with the US crowds being the most nerve-racking because that was my territory,” she said.
Being a South African portraying such a global icon, Davids said there is nothing better than representing your own country throughout the world.
“We have been to a lot of countries, and now bringing this experience back home for everyone to see is what makes me proudly South African.”
And eight years being on the show, Davids said she never gets tired of portraying the late legendary singer.
“And if there’s anything I learned over the past eight years is that she was way ahead of her time. Whitney didn’t make music for only the 80s, she made music for the next 20 to 30 years.
“Everybody knows about her tragedies in life, but I think they forget that she was an incredible artist, way ahead of her time.”
Her musical influences range from Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, Donny Hathaway, Michael Jackson and Whitney.
Her highlight has been performing at the Apollo in New York, which she calls a full circle moment for her. “
“The first song I ever performed in my entire life was 'The Greatest Love of All' when I was eight-years-old, and to be on the stage where Whitney actually recorded 'The Greatest Love of All' was surreal,” she said.
The future looks bright for Davids, with her desire to build her legacy for people to remember her name for the important work she has done. @AmandaMaliba
The Sunday Independent