Wyclef Jean Remembers Whitney Houston - Rolling Stone
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Wyclef Jean Remembers Whitney Houston

The musician on Whitney’s church background and love for her daughter

Whitney Houston and Wyclef Jean perform during an AmFar Benefit Concert in New York City.

Whitney Houston and Wyclef Jean perform during an AmFar Benefit Concert in New York City.

L. Busacca/Getty

When Whitney was coming to the studio to make “My Love is Your Love,” of course I was very nervous – like, “Man, is she going to feel this song?” But when she walked in, I gotta tell you, she lit up the room to the point where we forgot that she was a diva. We just thought she was a friend from back in the day in Newark. Everyone will tell you that Whitney was witty, she loved to have fun, she loved to make people laugh. I was having so much fun with Whitney – the Whitney from Newark, New Jersey – that I don’t really know when we got the song done.

Beyond the music, we shared the same background. We talked about the church, because that’s where it started. Once you can stand up and rock the church congregation, everything else is easy. But the church comes with a lot of pressure, too. When you’re a church person, people expect you to be a certain way.

The greatest memory for me was, as hard as she was working, she had her daughter in the studio. She was five or six. Do you know how hard it is to be recording and your kid’s there? But when it came to her daughter, the rest of the world didn’t exist. She was recording one of her biggest comeback records ever – and it really wasn’t about the comeback record. It was about making sure that her daughter was there with her, experiencing what she was experiencing. This is the Whitney that I know.

As told to Simon Vozick-Levinson


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