LONDON, United Kingdom – Shortly before Whitney Houston died on Saturday, her cousin Dionne Warwick had spoken to her about meeting up at a Grammy Awards party, it was revealed today. News of the family tragedy broke just after a pre-recorded Dionne TV performance was screened on Jonathan Ross’s show in the UK on Saturday.
Dionne called Whitney to make sure they would be sitting at the same table at the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party to be held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles where Whitney was staying. According to sources, Whitney seemed fine to Dionne during the phone call.
Dionne was said to be inconsolable about her loss last night. Nokia Conversations would like to send our deepest condolences and encourage readers to send theirs via this post, updated after Whitney’s death.
They call her Momma D for a reason: Dionne Warwick is the grand dame of divas: “Talent will prevail,” she once said. “Nobody, bar none, can do what Dionne Warwick does.”
Dionne Warwick’s multi-grammy award winning career began singing around the family piano with her sister Dee Dee and Aunt Cissy – Whitney’s mother. Since those early days she’s risen to the very top of the music industry – learning her stagecraft from Marlene Dietrich, recording unrivalled Burt Bacharach classics like Do You Know the Way to San Jose and Walk on By, and mentoring the best in modern music from Michael Jackson to Beyoncé, P-Diddy and Jay-Z.
Even a star-struck Barack Obama sang one of her songs back at her at a fundraising event, telling the audience he used Dionne’s smooth sound to impress the ladies. Not bad for a girl from East Orange, New Jersey whose first gig was with gospel group the Drinkard Sisters.
Now she’s touring the world on her 50thanniversary tour.
This week she was in London, appearing on ITV’s Jonathan Ross Show to promote a gala musical performance for World Hunger Day on May 28th at the Royal Albert Hall – and a new song which she will be recording for the occasion, and which she hopes everyone else can contribute to.
For a lot of people that could even mean recording and sending clips on their mobiles.
We caught up with her, and she told Conversations:
“I’m so excited about World Hunger Day 2012. Our performance, in aid of The Hunger Project, at the Royal Albert Hall on May 28th is all about connecting fantastic performers, and an audience from around the world, to the idea that we can enable people to end their own hunger.”
“Music will always be about that special connection between a performer and the audience and we are currently working on a special song for World Hunger Day that people will be able to join in with.”
She’s not known for using the latest in smartphones (rumour has it she’s yet to send a text) but she values what they have to offer:
“New technology presents us with opportunities too. I’d love to have people from around the world singing with us and being part of the same conversation to end hunger.”
Warwick has worked for years as a Goodwill Ambassador for The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and says, “I’ve seen how enterprising people are, and how much they want to improve their own lives. If new technology can play a part in that, its very welcome.”
Over the next few months we’ll be keeping you updated about how Nokia users can contribute to World Hunger Day. In the meantime you can get in the mood by listening to some of Dionne’s classic recordings that are bestsellers in the Nokia Music store – something that she appreciates:
“I also love it that the internet has given my music an ongoing life….and that people are listening to songs I recorded around the world.”
Dionne Warwick: Dionne Warwick includes Dionne’s first Burt Bacharach hit, Don’t Make Me Over – so called after she snapped the line at the producers in the recording studio. It’s also got Walk on By and Wishin and Hopin.
Try this Dionne Warwick album for the classics Do you Know the Way to San Jose, and Alfie.
Dionne Warwick Sings Dionne has one her later hits, and favourites, What the World Needs Now is Love.
If you want to hear Dionne’s comeback classic Heartbreaker, which was co-produced with the Bee Gees, download Dionne Warwick, the Greatest Hits.
World Hunger Day is organised by The Hunger Project, an international development charity whose mission is for the world to achieve the sustainable end of hunger and poverty: a world where all people have a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature, a life of self-reliance and dignity, and where women and girls are full partners in society.
Original photo by Brian Ritchie