Whitney Houston’s music had been part of Belinda Davids’ life long before she began to perform as the legendary singer on the stage.
“I’ve been singing as long as I remember,” says Davids. “My first memory of singing was on my grandmother’s porch and I have never stopped.”
The South African artist had an instant connection with the music of Whitney Houston when she was eight years old and she found that she had a similar range. She found inspiration with Houston’s music, as well as that of George Benson and the gospel music she heard in church, starting her professional career at the age of 14 and then signing on with a local record label at 16. When Davids turned 20, she left South Africa to move away from regional music and to travel the world. From Hong Kong to Dubai and then eventually to Los Angeles for ten years, the singer created her own music.
“I came back to South Africa to start over again locally. Two years later, I had just had a baby and I was given the opportunity to audition for The Greatest Love of All*,” says Davids. “Nine years later, I had a full circle moment. I am singing Whitney Houston in The Greatest Love of All on the stage at the Apollo Theatre and the first song is one made famous by George Benson. My two idols merged in that one moment as I am performing as Whitney, while singing a classic Benson song on the stage that I had seen him sing the song on video. It was incredible.”
Touring and paying tribute to her idol has pushed her to be as good as she can be as a performer. It never feels like work because Davids loves singing so much. When the pandemic hit and tours ceased, the singer “rolled with the punches,” looking at the time as an opportunity to spend time with her kids, be home and engage in domestic activities like cooking and baking, while also flexing her creative muscles to write new songs.
“Was it tough? Of course. You can depend on it. It was a struggle for me to now be touring,” says Davids. “But, I definitely loved the time spent with my kids and the ability to slow down and focus on new music.”
The performer is happy to be back traveling the world and singing. She did this interview while in England and on her last stretch of her tour in the UK, doing seven shows and then heading off to Russia.
“When people come to the show, I want them to walk away with nostalgia and memories of how incredible Whitney was,” says Davids. “I want people to experience what she was like live on the stage. There are seven costume changes, a full band, two dancers…it is an incredible show.”
We always love to know what artists are listening to and Davids says she listens to a lot of artists. Right now she is enamored with Adele’s new album, 30, and American singer-songwriter Yebba’s debut album, Dawn.
“I look for inspiration everywhere and love listening to anything new,” says Davids. “I often think about what Whitney would be doing in music now if she were still alive.”
“It is also great to see that the music in South Africa is starting to evolve. The Western world is taking notice and acknowledging the music we create here. South Africa is such a rich place – did you know we have 11 languages here?” continues Davids.
See Belinda Davids bring Whitney Houston’s musical legacy to life on the main stage at Chandler Center for the Arts on Saturday, February 26, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now, $36 - $56, online at chandercenter.org or by calling the box office at 480-782-2680.
*NOTE: The Greatest Love of All: A Tribute to Whitney Houston, starring Belinda Davids is not affiliated with the estate of White Houston