The pop titan’s estate is planning a resurgence for the late stinger that includes a new album of unreleased tracks, a touring hologram, a potential Broadway musical and other branding deals.
The Grammy-winning megastar, who died in 2012 from a combination of heart trouble and cocaine ingestion at age 48, had devolved into tabloid fodder in the years before her death. The 2018 documentary “Whitney,” which the estate authorized, chronicled that downfall.
Houston’s estate has struck a deal with Primary Wave Music, a boutique marketing firm that specializes in reviving the classic catalogs — of Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley and Def Leppard, among others — through branding and entertainment deals.
The New York-based marketing company will acquire half of the Houston estate’s assets, including royalties from her music and films, merchandising and rights to use her name and likeness. The latter includes profit share in her hit films “The Bodyguard” (both the movie and musical), “Waiting to Exhale,” “The Preacher’s Wife,” “Cinderella” and “Sparkle,” according to a Monday statement from Primary Wave Music.
The performer’s sister-in-law and former manager, Pat Houston, who is also the executor of the singer’s estate, is behind the strategic rollout, which aims to revive the hitmaker’s legacy.
“Before she passed, there was so much negativity around the name; it wasn’t about the music anymore,” Pat Houston told the New York Times. “People had forgotten how great she was. They let all the personal things about her life outweigh why they fell in love with her in the first place.”
The Houston hologram “has taken precedence over everything,” she added. It’s already in development and will perform Houston hits such as “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” and “The Greatest Love of All.” It will be backed by Houston’s original band and backup singers, including Houston’s brother Gary. (He’s Pat Houston’s husband.)
The hologram was planned for a 2016 episode of “The Voice” for a duet with Christina Aguilera, but never came to fruition because it wasn’t ready. Other iconic musicians who have been digitally resurrected with the technology include Tupac Shakur, Frank Zappa, Roy Orbison and Maria Callas.
Music for the new album is expected to be drawn from unused tracks from her self-titled 1985 debut album. It is unclear when the purported projects will premiere.
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