For accomplished South African songstress Belinda Davids, her role inThe Greatest Love of All starring Belinda Davidsis a serendipitous culmination to her life-long connection with Whitney Houston.
Growing up as a young ‘coloured’ girl in South Africa in the turbulent 80s, dreaming not only of a singing career but of respect and dignity as an artist, a woman and a human, Whitney Houston was a symbol of hope to Belinda.
Their similar musical backgrounds – both exposed largely to R&B and gospel as children and both taught to sing in the church – meant Belinda was innately drawn to Houston’s musical style also. From the earliest seeds of Belinda’s career when she began singing professionally at age 14, Houston’s influence was omnipresent;“I think I’ve sung at least one Houston track in almost every live show I’ve ever performed,”says Belinda.
In her young adulthood, Belinda’s extraordinary, untrained voice allowed her to carve out a successful career as a RiSA chart-topping solo artist in her home country of South Africa and as a session vocalist in the US for such artists as The Temptations, Keri Hilson, Keyshia Cole, Monica and Johnny Gill. However, the link between Belinda and Whitney was so strong that it actually hindered her rise as a solo artist overseas; she encountered resistance from record labels who were unsure how to work with her because she looked and sounded so exactly like Houston.
But in 2013 fate knocked and what had once been a challenge for her, was now to be a blessing – Belinda beat almost 15,000 other hopefuls to become the Principal Vocalist and marquee star of Showtime Australia’s newest stage productionThe Greatest Love of All, a celebratory concert in tribute to Whitney Houston.
Belinda felt 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.”
Now after six years touring almost exclusively withThe Greatest Love of Alland building it into an international hit, Belinda counts appearances on Fox TV’sShowtime at the Apolloand BBC TV’sEven Better Than the Real Thingamong her career highlights along with working with the National Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, performing at London’s iconic Hammersmith Apollo theatre and gaining viral views of some of her performance videos (over 12 million views and counting).
Plans for 2019 and beyond include confirmed tours withThe Greatest Love of Allin Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, a much-anticipated return to the US, and orchestral concerts in the UK and South Africa, along with, undoubtedly, more highlights and achievements to come.