On August 17, Sparkle opens in U.S. theaters, offering a chance to see Whitney Houston‘s final onscreen performance. She also co-produced the remake of the 1976 film, which features her first acting role since playing the Fairy Godmother alongside Brandy in 1997′s Rodgers And Hammerstein’s Cinderella for ABC.
Following Sunday’s tribute to Houston on the 2012 Billboard Music Awards from John Legend and her Sparkle co-star, Jordin Sparks, the final two recordings from the late singer have debuted. Both were recorded for the forthcoming film’s soundtrack.
The first, “Celebrate,” is a duet with Sparks, recorded just days before Houston’s death on February 11 at 48. Written and produced by R. Kelly (who also penned Houston’s “I Look To You”), it’s a breezy, uptempo jam perfectly timed for the start of summer. The vocal interplay between the huskier-voiced Houston and the sweetness of Sparks’ higher-register really makes “Celebrate” sing.
I’ve got nothing but love and positivity for “Celebrate” — and for Kelly, somewhat surprisingly. The quartet of descending notes under “you celebrate me” in the chorus is a total hook. Bring on summer, and some quality remixes! (Someone please ring up Freemasons.)
The second song that Houston contributed to the Sparkle soundtrack is a rendition of the classic gospel hymn, “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.”
It’s a side of Houston the public didn’t often hear, save for another soundtrack, 1996′s The Preacher’s Wife. But from the personal remembrances shared by close friends and family since her passing, I’d bet this is how she’d like to be best remembered.
As Sparks intones during the fade-out of “Celebrate,” “We love you, Whitney.”
Whitney Houston & Jordin Sparks – “Celebrate” is out 6/5.