Clive Davis held an intimate dinner party last night at the Sunset Tower to celebrate and preview his already much heralded CBS special “Aretha: A Tribute” which airs this Sunday night at 9 pm. Clive explained his take on the special. “I’m particularly proud of this, not only does it do great justice to Aretha it also reminds us of what great voices mean to the future of music as the hip hop revolution more and more dominates. Let us not forget the history of great voices. Each artist performing at the Shrine in January gave the performances of their lives. Feel free to go with it, with whatever emotions you feel.”
Rickey Minor, the Musical Director, told me that “Working with Clive is always inspiring for me because he cares deeply. He introduced me to Aretha over 20 years ago. I told her then, ‘I work for you. That’s how I work.’ And we lasted. I produce, arrange, conduct and direct. Anything I can do to add value to what is there. With this honor to Aretha, all I had to do was support these artists and get out of their way.”
The powerhouse artists included Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar, Alessia Cara, Brandi Carlile, Chloe x Halle, Kelly Clarkson, Common, Celine Dion, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monae, SZA and BeBe Winans.
Clive was joined by his devoted friends including quite a group: the legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, the legendary record producer Richard Perry, the legendary creeator of Motown, Berry Gordy and his daughter Sherry, the legendary pop star and composer Neil Sedaka, plus a slew of A listers including 10-times Oscar nominated songwriter Diane Warren, Beverly Johnson, Barbara Davis, Nancy Davis and Ken Rickel, Grammy honcho Neil Portnow, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Suzanne De Passe, HBO’s Glenn Whitehead and Jeff Guthrie, record producer Harvey Mason Jr., writer David Wild, Nikki Haskell, producer Roger Birnbaum, Apple’s Larry Jackson and Stephanie Shepherd, Clive’s son Producer Mitch Davis, (another of Clive’s sons Doug Davis is a Producer on the show) and the maestro Executive Producer of the special Ken Ehrlich.
Clive noted poignantly of his dear friend Aretha that, “She was the one timeless, pure artists that knowing and feeling with a sense of history she will be listened by countless generations to come. Aretha stood all of us on our ears.”