Photo Credit: Sony Pictures
Finally, something happy for Whitney Houston fans! The last song that Houston recorded before she died on Feb. 11, an upbeat duet with Jordin Sparks called "Celebrate," premiered this morning on Ryan Seacrest's radio show. Listen below!
The joyful R&B tune, produced by R. Kelly, was recorded for Houston and Sparks' upcoming musical film, Sparkle, which is due in theaters Aug. 17. For the American Idol winner, making music with Whitney was a dream come true.
"I remember them playing the demo for me, and R. Kelly is singing and I'm looking at everybody going, 'I get to sing this song? Are you serious?' I was very excited," Sparks, 22, recalled last month.
"For me as a singer growing up listening to [Whitney], to be able to do a song with her is incredible," said the younger singer. "And being her friend, just hearing how she sounded, it was amazing. So I can't wait for people to hear that. I cannot wait."
Although Houston was going through tough times toward the end of her life, the "Celebrate" recording session was joyful, according to co-producer Harvey Mason Jr.
"We stood around and joked, listened to music, and we got her this throat coat tea she likes," Mason told People. "Then she got in the booth, started her vocal session with a prayer as she always did, and worked for about three to four hours. We ended the session dancing around the control room while she said 'Turn it up! Turn it up!' She was so fun-loving."
Houston's voice, which sounds terrific, also shows signs of age -- perhaps more so because she's paired with the much younger Sparks. But according to Mason, the pop diva didn't feel threatened in the slightest.
"[Whitney] wanted to make sure Jordin had enough time to shine on the song," the producer said. "She loved all of the female singers coming up."
Sunday night, Sparks paid tribute to her idol and costar with a moving performance of "I Will Always Love You" at the Billboard Music Awards. (Watch it below.) The sentiment continues on "Celebrate;" if you listen closely, you can hear Sparks saying "We love you, Whitney" at the end of the song.