Music mogul Clive Davis comes out

Clive_DavisYou know Clive Davis by name, if not face: Half of all Grammy winners and American Idol finalists seem to mention him. Not surprising — the music mogul has been a force for almost 50 years, variously leading Arista, Sony and RCA music groups, and discovering or nurturing such groups as Santana, Jennifer Hudson, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys and countless more.

Yesterday, Davis came out as bisexual on The Katie Couric Show, while promoting his new autobiography. Now, no one in the music business who admits to dabbling with same-sex sex surprises me, even though Davis was married twice for nearly 30 years total. But I’m not sure “bisexual” is the correct word for it — in his book, he admits to having been in a relationship with a man since 2004 … and that follows a relationship with another man for 14 years before that. By my count, that’s the last 23 years of the 80-year-old’s life with guys. That’s longer than me.

Anyway, call it what you like, I say mazel tov! Your toaster oven is on the way, Clive.

You can watch a clip from the show here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

BREAKING: Singer Whitney Houston dead at 48

It has just been reported that singer Whitney Houston has died. According to the Associated Press, no further details are known at this time. From ABC News.

Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

News of Houston’s death came on the eve of music’s biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It’s a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday’s ceremony. Houston’s longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday; it was unclear if it was going to go forward.

—  Rich Lopez

Hudson grows in new CD

The last time we were media blitzed by Jennifer Hudson, she was winning awards for her movie and album debuts. Hudson stepped away from the spotlight when her mother and brother were murdered, but she’s been quitely coming back — first as a Weight Watchers spokesperson, and now for her sophomore album, I Remember Me.

Considering her recent past, Hudson could easily have made a maudlin album. Instead, she’s delivered a mature set of R&B grooves showing the emergence of a woman. With some help from Alicia Keys, R. Kelly and Ne-Yo, the album stays fresh (while sometimes bordering on passé) with Clive Davis helming the production and Diane Warren injecting sappy ballads.

Despite the soft opening of “No One Gonna Love You,” the album gets going with “I Got This.” This could have been a self-help anthem, but she keeps it cool without showing off her strong voice.

She turns the emotion on in “Where You At.” There is a patience here that’s unexpected, but she can pack a punch. Lyrics like Thought you were my hero / But as it turns out, you a no-show are kinda sassy, but her disappointment reaches beyond the speakers and man; you just feel bad for her.

Davis’ oversight sometimes makes the album a little obvious and the impact is referential rather than modern. What saves it is Hudson believing in these songs. Her most personal song, “I Remember Me” (which she co-wrote), is part ballad, part declaration. With a heavy bass spine, it’s still a delicate bird of a song and knowing her tragic story, she shows her survival mode and even celebrates herself without being narcissistic.

For a relatively newbie artist, Hudson can vocally walk a tightrope with subtle emotion. She holds back when you think she’ll explode with a vocal run, and then she’ll throw one into the fire once you’ve settled back into her quiet groove. It’s a nice trick.

The album does suffer with some clichés. Keys pens three boring songs (you wonder if these are her throwaways because they never resonate). That said, “Don’t Look Down” has a glorious ’80s adult R&B vibe a la Patti Austin or Jeffrey Osborne.

The excitement trails off in the second half and lumbers a bit. The one punctuation that keeps it afloat is “Feeling Good,” made famous by Nina Simone. This gives a punch of energy much needed by this point. Everything is right about this version from the lush horn riff to Hudson’s respectful homage but leaving a very personal stamp on it.

I Remember Me is an exciting step forward for Hudson. Here, she seems to be recognizing the fairy tale that is her life and embracing its reality. She picks up where Whitney and Toni have left off and contemporary music has been missing that kind of vocalist. Despite some missteps, it’s nice to see her return and do so with substance.

— Rich Lopez

Three-and-a-half stars.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 25, 2011.

—  John Wright

Starvoice • 02.18.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

David Geffen turns 68 on Monday. The music impresario and co-founder of Dreamworks tends to keep a lower profile. But the power gay showed up for his own fete. Record exec Clive Davis honored Geffen and his work in the entertainment industry right before this year’s Grammys. Jane Fonda, Warren Beatty and Neil Young were among the big stars to attend.

………………..

THIS WEEK

Socially we are facing a huge uprising over the next few years in the clash between structures of authority (Pluto in Capricorn) and individual freedom and integrity (Jupiter and Uranus in Aries). The sun in Pisces is bringing intuitive awareness to how we find healing through the crises ahead.

………………..

AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Review your accounts carefully. Mistakes are very expensive, but locating them now solves problems or turn up hidden assets. Professional help can be worth the investment.

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
Your birthday gifts are very enriching and generous, though not necessarily in the monetary sense. You have to let your friends challenge you if you’ll ever find out how valuable they really are.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
Your eye for opportunities is sharp, although your ego pushes you too far too quickly. Meditate on your success can serve the good of others. Then opportunities will be even greater.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
Don’t be afraid to speak up. You will find you are wrong and need to reevaluate things. Clearing things up now is advantageous than if you dummy up to look smart only to stumble later.

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Friends building  your reputation will make you out to be nastier than you are, but that edgy cachet serves you well. Stretch to fit it andide this wave of confidence socially and professionally.

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
Career opportunities put strain on your relationship. Listen to your partner, assume responsibility for adapting and be open to new ideas. Imagination and compassion can save the day.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
Be empathetic and persuasive about sexual equality, even in the workplace. Sympathizing is more effective than argument. Being effective makes you feel sexy, and when you feel it you get it.

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
Your eagerness to try new fun and games with your partner could get real kinky, but are you two on the same track? Listen carefully and be accommodating. You’ll be happily surprised.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
Resolve household problems. Remember you and your partner (or roommate) are not opponents but need to solve the situation cooperatively. Giving in a little can get you a lot.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
Your eagerness for results causes friction and accidents. Relax. Look at the situation as a creative challenge. Be open to new ideas as you think other people should be to yours.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
Reevaluate any investments you have. Property is best in the long run, but moving too quickly on that isrisky. Exploring your family background and cultural roots turn up hidden strengths.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
Talking with relatives makes lots of people crazy. Somewhere in there, you see both the secret and the source of your deepest integrity, whether those come from your family or despite it.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 18, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas