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Houston to sing in China
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-22 08:43

Following divas Mariah Carey and Sarah Brightman, a super star who has never walked in anyone's shadow, Whitney Houston, has arrived for her first tour in the Chinese mainland.

Whitney Houston [file photo]
As part of her Asia tour, the six-time Grammy Award winner will first sing in Shanghai's Hongkou Gymnasium tonight and then she will move to the Beijing National Olympics Centre for a July 25 performance. She will wrap up her tour with a Hong Kong concert on July 28.

Sponsored by Emma Entertainment and Beijing's Poly Arts & Culture Co Ltd, the Beijing gig will be a must-see date for Houston's fans which will feature around 20 hit songs including "How Will I Know," "Saving All My Love," and "I Wanna Dance With You," "Greatest Love Of All." Her version of Dolly Parton's classic "I Will Always Love You" was a huge hit in Asia and the Chinese fans, who are still relatively new to the superstar concert experience, are clamouring to hear Houston's beautiful voice in person.

The singer, who hasn't toured since 1999, has high expectations about her debut in the Chinese mainland.

"I have wished to come to the Chinese mainland for a long time and hope to know more about the people and the diverse culture," said Houston.

"Music is a world language which is beyond any barrier of culture and language. I feel so lucky to have so many fans around the world," she added.

This will be the third time that she sings in Hong Kong. She performed there previously in 1988 and 1999.

"Hong Kong is actually one of my favourite cities in the world. I am always looking forward to returning to Hong Kong and performing for my fans there," she said.

Her daughter, the 11-year-old Bobbi Kristina Brown will join Houston's tour which will be her first trip to Asia. As asked whether she expects her daughter to be a singer too, Houston says, "Who knows? But anyway I would support her just as my mother supports me."

For years blighted by speculation of drug addiction, alcohol abuse and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, it is no surprise that some fans doubt whether she could sing as well as before and her Chinese sponsors doubted whether Whitney Houston could still draw a crowd.

But the "Soul Divas" gig in Hamburg on July 7 has proved a triumphant return and confirmed to her fans that despite her problems, her voice is as impressive as ever and she can still put on a class show.

The Hamburg concert was billed as the "Soul Divas: Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole and Whitney Houston." But People magazine reported that by the end of the show the night belonged to Houston. She is back in top singing condition. Two hours into the show, when Houston finally hit the stage, People reported she brought the crowd to its feet.

The 40-year-old star, who has sold over 150 million records, seemed trouble free as she performed some of her most popular hits, such as "I Wanna Dance With You" and "How Will I Know." The biggest applause of the night came after her performance of "I Will Always Love You."

"Houston is one of the most outstanding soul music singers. It is she who brought soul music from a relatively small gospel and black community audience to the world pop music scene. Her golden voice impresses listeners, especially at her live shows," says Beijing-based music critic Wang Xiaofeng.

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