Two new songs by Whitney Houston, who died yesterday at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, will be included the upcoming remake of the 1976 film Sparkle, set for release in early August. Houston’s iconic recordings are already set to re-appear in next week’s Billboard chart, and now it appears her final new work will be a cover of a gospel classic and a new duet with Jordin Sparks, both from the film. Details below.
Houston, who began her singing career in the junior choir at her church in Newark, N.J., sings the hymn “Eyes On The Sparrow” in the new film, and her duet with fellow Sparkle star Jordin Sparks on a new R. Kelly track called “Celebrate” will arrive during the movie’s credit sequence, according to Billboard.
Houston hasn’t appeared in a movie since 1996′s The Preacher’s Wife. She acquired the rights to remake the story about a girl group in Harlem in the 1950s almost 12 years ago, and has been working on it off and on ever since. She plays the mother of Sparks’ character, Sparkle, and Sparkle’s sisters. Houston told Entertainment Tonight last year Sparks “knows her voice is like an angel’s”, though she had reportedly planned for Aaliyah to take the title role before her tragic death in a 2001 plane crash. Cee Lo Green will appear in the film, and music by Curtis Mayfield will be featured on the soundtrack.
Fellow Sparkle producer Bishop T.D Jakes nodded to the fact that the movie may stand as Houston’s final musical work in a statement late Saturday: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic and untimely passing of Whitney Houston, whom we were blessed to have just completed work with on the remake of the film Sparkle. We ask the world to join us in lifting up Whitney’s family in prayer and ask God for their strength and comfort during this devastatingly difficult time. At the apex of her career, Whitney had no peer, with a voice that shaped a generation. She has left behind a musical and film legacy that will endure…. she will be sorely missed by us all.”