Streetwise Houston Tries New Approach: Singer's Tour Hits Town Monday
Washington, Misti, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Look for Whitney Houston to set off some fireworks of her own when she performs live at DAR Constitution Hall on Monday, sparkling in exclusive Dolce and Gabbana originals and spotlighting her new, explosive, streetwise approach to music.
The multiplatinum, multi-Grammy-winning singer is leaving behind the smoke-and-mirrors distractions of lavish full-scale productions. Instead, she hopes to ignite a flame in loyal fans via a personal repertoire of sassy, edgy numbers that showcase the strength of her five-octave vocal range.
Miss Houston says the opportunity to have a close connection with her fans was a major factor in deciding to embark on a 17-city tour. She is sure to sizzle in this venue, which fosters intimate contact with the audience. "I've turned down a lot of arena dates because I've done the big-arena thing," she says. "We are looking for a perfect setting to provide an intimate, special atmosphere."
She also had another reason for choosing Constitution Hall. In 1997, the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children Inc. hosted a televised HBO special there, raising more than $300,000 for the Children's Defense Fund.
This time, Miss Houston will perform new songs from her latest album, "My Love Is Your Love," and from her repertoire of sentimental classic hits such as "You Give Good Love" and "All the Man I Need." Tracks such as "Heartbreak Hotel" and "It's Not Right, But It's Okay" signal a change of pace, as well as a change of heart for the performer.
Joining Miss Houston on tour is the R&B recording group 112, which will perform from its collection of up-tempo grooves and ballads. On the heels of such chart-topping singles as "Cupid" and "Only You," the group managed to make magic the second time around with the release of its platinum-selling album, "Room 112." Composed of Slim, Michael, Daron and Q, 112 will perform "Love Me" and "Anywhere," hits from its new album that have lingered on the Billboard charts for months. "Room 112" boasts a host of contributors, from Bad Boy CEO-producer Sean "Puffy" Combs to rappers Mase, Lil' Kim and MJG and R&B recording artists Faith Evans and Kelly Price.
Although Miss Houston spawned a bevy of imitators, beginning with her stint as a bubbly ingenue in the mid-'80s, and set a benchmark for a whole generation of female R&B neophytes, her new album takes a new direction. It is written and produced by a new batch of young, A-list songwriters and producers such as Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott and Rodney Jerkins whose songs reflect their awe of the pop goddess. …