In what league would you put Whitney Houston? Clive Davis believes she’s among the top three greatest songbirds of all times. He also included Aretha Franklin in that number. Davis recently worked to produce concept albums for both. So what does ‘Whitney Houston Live’ tell us about making it in any business?
Houston was discovered by Davis at a local NY club. He convinced her to sign with his record company. This led to an illustrious career that began with an appearance on the Merv Griffin Show. Over time people fell in love with Houston not just for her teenage charm but for her incredible voice.
The greatest hits album features some of her best-ever performances. The signature of Houston’s body of work is that she ‘owned’ her voice. That’s a simple distinction that made Houston rise to the occasion. Whether it’s singing or some other talent/gifting, making it in any business rides on ‘owning our voice.’
Once Davis took Houston under his wings her career began to fly. Most people will point to a mentor or facilitator who played a major role in their exposure. Having the talent, training or capability is one thing. But it helps in getting a lift or related lessons from someone in the game, with elevating your name.
There’re many recording artists who started out as background singers. There many business executives who started out as company regulars. Many individuals helped pave the way for those who would rise to their own greatness. Plus each person had to do everything in their power to embrace their dream.
The music business has seen a lot of change in recent times. We’ve gone from cassette to vinyl to CD to streaming music. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the song structure. That usually follows the pattern of verse, chorus and bridge. The verse might be simple, the rhythm groovy and the chorus catchy.
The bridge is about taking the song to another level. Becoming a hit beyond the music business involves a bridge too. It could be a bridge from setback to comeback. It could be a bridge from underdog to top-dog. That’s how getting to the next level as an artist or in any other career field includes a bridge.
Taylor Swift made news for her recent album with platinum sales in the first week. While she takes a stand against music streaming services, she’s someone who’s made it big at a young age. Swift reminds us of Houston for how she has owned her voice, embraced her dream and can ‘take it to the bridge.’
Footnote: Every ‘greatest hit’ song has a bridge and every successful person has a game-changing moment for taking it to the next level.