Clive Davis talks of projects with Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson
In the midst of my conversation a few days ago with Clive Davis, the veteran label chief, talent scout and record producer offered up a particularly welcome bit of news about Aretha Franklin, who went through some serious surgery last fall reportedly related to a diagnosis of cancer. She has subsequently discredited widely circulated reports that she has pancreatic cancer.
Davis said that if all goes according to plan, he'll be working this year with the Queen of Soul, who he brought over to Arista Records in 1980, overseeing the dawn of a new era of chart success for her over the next decade.
"I just got off the phone with her, and she's sounding very good," Davis said. "We had a wonderful conversation, and we’re looking forward to working together. She's planning to come here when the weather gets a little warmer in New York."
He said he's also just wrapped up work with one of Franklin's myriad R&B disciples, Jennifer Hudson.
"I'm very excited about the new Jennifer Hudson album we've just completed," he said. "I love the idea of showcasing big voices of someone unique like her, who can not only break through with hits but also have a big career."
Davis will host his annual pre-Grammy Awards bash on Saturday night, and he'll also be on hand Wednesday night at the Grammy Museum to be the first honoree in the facility's new "Icons of the Music Industry" question-answer series.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo: Jennifer Hudson and Clive Davis at the 2010 Grammy Awards "Salute to Icons honoring Doug Morris" in Beverly Hills. Credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images