"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: