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Clive Davis At Whitney Houston Funeral: When I Needed Her, She Was There

First Posted: 02/18/2012 4:26 pm Updated: 02/18/2012 4:26 pm

"You wait a lifetime for a voice like that," Clive Davis said at Whitney Houston's funeral Saturday.

The famed music producer and longtime collaborator of Houston's spoke fondly of her tenacity and the joy that her work brought her. Davis and Houston worked together for three decades, spanning a career of a scale that few performers have ever experienced.

He sidestepped discussing Houston's battles with drugs and her abusive relationship with Bobby Brown (who left the ceremony after a seating dispute). "Yes, she admitted to crises in her life. Yes, she confessed to Oprah about her searing battles," he said. "But when I needed her she was there."

The funeral capped a long week for Houston fans, and one that was not without controversy for Davis himself. Houston died while in town for Davis' annual pre-Grammys party, and died just hours before the party was to begin. Davis elected not to cancel the party, drawing criticism from Chaka Khan and other celebrities.

Davis also shared details of a private conversation he had with Houston just before she died, in which the singer hinted at plans of a large comeback:

"... last week Whitney came to my hotel bungalow alone -- no bodyguards, no security, just Whitney and me. And she played her new cuts from Sparkle for me and I played some new music that I liked for her. It was like old times and she looked at me and quietly said, "I want you to know I’m getting in shape. I’m swimming an hour or two a day and I’m committed to get my high notes back -- no cigarettes -- plenty of vocal exercising -- Clive, I’ll be ready by August."

"I'm going to to hold you to it," Davis said Saturday.

Photos from the emotional day:

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  • Whitney Houston Laid To Rest In Hometown Of Newark, New Jersey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: Fans sign artwork by artist Mark G at the funeral service for Whitney Houston on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • Whitney Houston Laid To Rest In Hometown Of Newark, New Jersey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: Fans sign artwork by artist Mark G at the funeral service for Whitney Houston on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • Whitney Houston Laid To Rest In Hometown Of Newark, New Jersey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: Fans mourn at the funeral service for Whitney Houston on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • Whitney Houston Laid To Rest In Hometown Of Newark, New Jersey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: Fans mourn at the funeral service for Whitney Houston on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • New Yorkers Remember Whitney Houston On The Day Of Her Funeral

    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 18: A screen shows Whitney Houston's funeral in Times Square on February 18, 2012 in New York City. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

  • New Yorkers Remember Whitney Houston On The Day Of Her Funeral

    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 18: Newspapers are displayed at a newsstand in Times Square on February 18, 2012 in New York City. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

  • Whitney Houston Laid To Rest In Hometown Of Newark, New Jersey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: A makeshift memorial is seen prior to the funeral services for Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

  • Whitney Houston Laid To Rest In Hometown Of Newark, New Jersey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: Media set up for the funeral service for Whitney Houston outside near the New Hope Baptist Church on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead on February 11, 2012 in her room at The Beverly Hilton hotel. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

  • New Yorkers Remember Whitney Houston On The Day Of Her Funeral

    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 18: People gather outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem on February 18, 2012 in New York City. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

  • Whitney Houston Laid To Rest In Hometown Of Newark, New Jersey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: Guests arrive for the funeral services of Whitney Houston outside New Hope Baptist Church on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

  • Whitney Houston Laid To Rest In Hometown Of Newark, New Jersey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: Rev. Jesse Jackson is interviewed by the media at the funeral service for Whitney Houston on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • Newark, New Jersey Prepares For Whitney Houston's Funeral

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 17: Cards and flowers are displayed at a makeshift memorial outside the Whigham Funeral Home on February 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

  • Whitney Houston Private Viewing

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 17: Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown arrives at Whigham Funeral Home for a private viewing for her mother Whitney Houston on February 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

  • Whitney Houston Laid To Rest In Hometown Of Newark, New Jersey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: A poster of Whitney Houston is seen near her funeral at New Hope Baptist Church on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • The hearse carrying the body of singer W

    The hearse carrying the body of singer Whitney Houston leaves the Whigham Funeral Home on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey, en route to a private funeral at the New Hope Baptist Church. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Mourners walk with a sign toward the are

    Mourners walk with a sign toward the area near of New Hope Baptist Church where funeral services are to be held for singer Whitney Houston on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Newark, New Jersey Prepares For Whitney Houston's Funeral

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 17: A fan pays respect at a makeshift memorial outside 'The New Hope Baptist Church' on February 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

  • Newark, New Jersey Prepares For Whitney Houston's Funeral

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 17: A pair of Whitney Houston's shoes on display at the Whigham Funeral Home on February 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

  • Newark, New Jersey Prepares For Whitney Houston's Funeral

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 17: Cards and flowers are displayed at a makeshift memorial outside 'The New Hope Baptist Church' on February 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

  • Newark, New Jersey Prepares For Whitney Houston's Funeral

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 17: A young fan pays respect at a makeshift memorial outside 'The New Hope Baptist Church' on February 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

  • Whitney Houston Private Viewing

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 17: Motorcade arriving at the Whigham Funeral Home for a private family viewing for Whitney Houston on February 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

  • Whitney Houston Private Viewing

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 17: Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown arrives at Whigham Funeral Home for a private viewing for her mother Whitney Houston on February 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

  • Messages left at a memorial for singer W

    Messages left at a memorial for singer Whitney Houston set up outside New Hope Baptist Church on February 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Funeral services for the singer are planned for February 18 at the church. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • People gather to view a display for sing

    People gather to view a display for singer Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church February 16, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey where the funeral will be held for the pop star on February 18. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A fan of US pop diva, Whitney Houston, s

    A fan of US pop diva, Whitney Houston, signs a giant mural with a portrait of her idol displayed at a mall in Manila on February 17, 2012, as part of the mall's tribute to the pop legend who died on February 11, aged 48 in a Beverly Hills hotel. Pop diva Whitney Houston will be laid to rest on February 18, after a private funeral service at the New Jersey Baptist church where she grew up singing in a gospel choir. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Henry Hamilton, principal of the Whitney

    Henry Hamilton, principal of the Whitney E. Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, looks on during an interview outside the school on February 16, 2012 in East Orange, New Jersey. The funeral on February 18 for pop superstar Whitney Houston will be broadcast live from the New Jersey Baptist church where she grew up singing in a gospel choir, the funeral home owner said. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)


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