Belinda Davids. Photo: supplied

Posted by & filed under Arts & Entertainment, Featured Arts & Entertainment, Theatre & Performance.

By Mark Morellini

Belinda Davids is the extraordinary South African singer who fronts the tribute show to Whitney Houston, one of the most revered singers of all time and idolised by millions around the world. Davids beat 15,000 hopefuls from 12 countries for the role and said that she was both scared and excited when she found out, but ultimately it felt like she had been practising 25 years for the role.

Davids started earning money singing in clubs and signed with a few record labels when she was younger. Her resemblance vocally and in appearance to Whitney Houston hindered many early career opportunities. “At the time when I was trying to make a name for myself with record labels, they wouldn’t really do anything for me because they thought I sounded so much like her. It was difficult, but it was part of the journey. In 2013, I began singing as Whitney Houston in this show and now I travel the world to bring the music of Whitney to those who miss her as much as I do.”

The show has been incredibly successful in South Africa, Canada, USA, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand. This will be Davids’ third visit to Australia and she is adamant that Whitney Houston fans won’t be disappointed. “The show is really good. We’ve added two more costume changes and we have four dancers and a full band. We also have a great tech team that allows for a great show as far as lighting and sound is concerned. We do all her number one hits from the beginning right up until the end, but unfortunately, we can’t cover all her songs because there are so many.”

When asked, which was her favourite Whitney song to perform, Davids paused momentarily. “My favourite song would be The Greatest Love Of All… and… One Moment In Time…and… I Have Nothing and I can keep going and going and going. This show is such a success because people miss her. People still want her to be here and that’s why they come out to the show. They miss her music, they miss that genre.”

Whitney Houston found fame and fortune during her 30 years in the spotlight, but unfortunately suffered adverse publicity when she was booed off stage during a performance in Australia. “This was hard for me – very hard. As soon as I saw that I said to my director, right – we have to go back there. We have to go back to Australia to remind people just how great she was. It was important. The outcome was overwhelming! People came and people who were also at her last concert where she was booed off stage came to the show and they enjoyed it.”

Davids’ inspirations as a child were Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, and Michael Jackson amongst others and she wishes that she had met Whitney Houston before her untimely death. She was young, vibrant and had an amazingly powerful voice. But will Whitney Houston continue to have a fanbase and will her music live on forever? “Definitely! She was ahead of her time. I mean if you listen to her music today does that not get you going? It still gets me going. We miss that space of music. We miss that type of voice that she had. I’ve seen parents bring their children, I’ve seen that happen and it makes me happy because that means Whitney will forever be in the memory of people.”

Davids hopes to participate in more of the touristy outings during her current tour. “I don’t really do much when I’m touring in Australia or any country for that matter because it’s vital that I get enough rest as the show is pretty big. I haven’t seen much but this is exciting because we are going to do all the major cities and I’ll probably end up seeing much more of Australia than I did on my previous visits.”

She looks forward to bringing her dazzling show to the majestic and iconic State Theatre in Sydney. “When I performed there last year it was great. It’s such a beautiful theatre and I was honoured by the turnout.”

In conclusion, Davids said that her show is suitable for people of all ages, families, and anyone and everyone! “The audience this show has been attracting has been the younger generation. I don’t want to put an age group as to who can come and see the show. Everybody can come along as this is a PG show. If you have ever heard a Whitney song, sang a Whitney song or even gotten up to dance to one then this show is for you!”

Apr 12. State Theatre, 49 Market St, Sydney. $71-$81+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.ticketmaster.com.au