Whitney Houston’s estate announced a slew of new projects featuring the beloved singer, including a hologram tour, a new album or previously unreleased songs, a possible Broadway musical and a Vegas show.
Seven years after her death, Whitney Houston may be coming to a venue near you.
The pop icon’s estate has partnered with BASE Hologram to produce “An Evening With Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour,” the company revealed in a statement on Monday.
The announcement comes on the heels of a separate deal between the singer’s estate and Primary Wave Publishing last week, which is also expected to produce a series of new projects, including a new album, a possible Broadway musical and Vegas-style spectacle.
“Whitney Houston was unquestionably one of the most important singers of any generation,” BASE Hologram CEO Brian Becker said in a statement.
The show will include master recordings of the late singer and feature a live band and backup singers.
In an interview with Billboard, Becker revealed production has already started and the singer is expected to reappear before adoring fans longing to see her once again, or for the very first time, hit those stratospheric notes in “I Will Always Love You,” sometime next year.
“Her career inspired so many musicians across all genres and generations and we are honored that her family is entrusting part of her legacy to us,” Becker said.
A computerized spectral apparition by Houston in the coming years expands a roster of posthumous tours by singing legends and rock stars, which includes Maria Callas, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly and Frank Zappa. Last year Amy Winehouse’s father reported that a similar tour was in the works for his daughter, whose meteoric rise to fame was followed by years of very public drug addiction problems before her death in 2011.
In an interview with The New York Times, Houston’s sister-in-law and estate executor explained that the aggressive marketing push is part of a strategy to monetize her legacy and simultaneously redeem the singer’s reputation which suffered from stories of drug addiction.
“Before she passed, there was so much negativity around the name; it wasn’t about the music anymore,” Pat Houston said. “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.”
Jeff Pezzuti, CEO of Eyellusion, the company behind a well-received ongoing Frank Zappa tour, told NPR, hologram tours go “way beyond being just a regular show.” And he insists new and old fans are eager for opportunities to spend more time with the stars they love.
“Think about it, Frank Zappa passed away in the early 90s so a lot of people that are my age or younger, maybe didn’t have the opportunity to see him,” Pezzuti said. “That makes it appealing to the younger generation of fans who really admire Frank” and for older fans, “it’s one more chance to relive that time,” he added.
He also noted it could prove to be a great opportunity for older living artists who may be approaching retirement or planning to launch farewell tours.
“When I see acts like the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney who are still touring but are really starting to wind down, it makes me a little bit sad because when these people do finally retire, there’s going to be a big void in the touring world,” he said. “This is a way to bottle that up and find a way to create live experiences for fans to still enjoy them and continue their legacy.”
Catie Monck, vice president of communications for Primary Wave, said a new album by Houston, who had 11 number 1 hits and sold tens of millions of albums, will be released at the end of the year or early 2020. It will consist, at least in part, of outtakes from Houston’s 1985 self-titled debut album.
Public health experts suggest every doctor visit is an opportunity to vaccinate. Dr. Melanie Siefman examines an 11-year-old patient at a Unity Health Care clinic in Washington D.C. who came in for allergies, and ended up getting three vaccinations.
The toddler looking up at Dr. Melanie Seifman in her Washington, D.C., exam room seems a little dazed.
It could be because she just woke up from a nap at daycare. It could be that she remembers the shots she got last time, and she knows what’s coming.
The little girl is catching up on some vaccines she’s behind on: missing doses of the DTaP and polio vaccines. She’s over two years old — both of those shots are supposed to happen at a baby’s six-month check up.
“It happens a lot,” Siefman says. The Unity Health Care clinic, where Siefman practices, serves mostly low-income, mostly African-American patients. She says her patients often miss vaccinations because of struggles in their parents’ lives. The reasons include: “transportation, couldn’t get off work, didn’t have insurance and didn’t know that they could come in without insurance.”
During this recent measles outbreak, there’s been a lot of discussion about the religious and ideological reasons behind low vaccination rates, especially in places like Washington state and New York.
But sometimes the reasons why a kid is not up-to-date on their vaccines has more to do with poverty and access to health care than a parent’s vaccine hesitancy.
“Luckily — knock on wood — we have not had a measles outbreak in D.C. and I hope that we don’t,” Siefman says.
In fact, the measles vaccination rate in D.C. for kindergartners is only 81% — lower than all 50 states. If Washington were to have an outbreak, Siefman says, “based on my population, it would be more because of just inadequate vaccination because they’re just not coming in, and not because of the anti-vaccine group, just because I don’t see so many of those kids.”
Dr. Holly Hill, a medical officer and epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that rate in the District is “definitely lower than we’d like to see.”
“We really look for at the very least 90% — hopefully more like 95% — to prevent outbreaks, especially with measles because it’s so infectious,” she says.
Data from the CDC shows the connection between poverty and vaccination rates bears out nationally.
“We see large coverage gaps among children who are living below the poverty line compared to those at or above poverty and among children who have no insurance,” says Hill. “The highest disparity is among the uninsured compared to those with private insurance.”
For instance, CDC data shows that in 2017 only 75% of uninsured children age 19 to 35 months had gotten at least one dose of MMR, the vaccine for measles. That compares to 94% of privately insured children, and 90% of those on Medicaid.
The disparity wasn’t quite as stark when it comes to economic status — 89% of children living below the poverty level had at least one MMR dose, compared to 93% of children living at or above the poverty level.
Insurance is not supposed to be a barrier to vaccination. There’s a federally funded program started in the 1990s called Vaccines for Children that provides free vaccines to children who are uninsured or on Medicaid. The CDC’s Hill says the agency needs to look at the program and “find ways to make it work better for more kids.”
Hill co-authored a CDC study published online in 2016 that examined which specific factors related to poverty correlated to whether children were up-to-date on their vaccines or not. Up-to-date children “tended to live in households with fewer children, higher incomes and less mobility, compared to children who were not [up-to-date].”
When it comes to mobility, it can be challenging for doctors to piece together vaccination histories for children whose families move a lot, the paper concludes.
Dr. Melanie Siefman runs into this problem all the time. She has access to D.C.’s vaccination records, and her own clinic’s records, but that’s it.
“I see kids who show up, they’ve never been to our clinic before, and they were previously in Texas or they were in Maryland,” she explains. “So it leaves me guessing. I have no idea where you’re at with your vaccine status. Do I vaccinate you thinking you haven’t got them? Do I hold off and try and get your records, which may or may not make it — just fax machines and things?”
Many times, she decides to assume the child hasn’t had any and start from scratch. She says that’s safe to do, but it takes months. “You have to bring them in very regularly to catch them up on a lot of missed vaccines,” she says.
When it comes to the measles outbreak, Siefman is concerned about the potential for that first case coming into the clinic. She’s talked to clinic staff about what to look out for.
Band-aid at the ready, Sara McRae, a medical assistant at Unity Health Care, heads in to vaccinate a pediatric patient.
There are reasons to be worried. There’s the city’s low measles vaccination rate before kindergarten. And, as the nation’s capital, a lot of travelers come through town. There have been cases in Maryland, not many miles away.
Dr. Anjuli Talwalker, senior deputy director at the District’s department of health, says for all these reasons, the department is “on alert.”
She does note the measles vaccination coverage for school age kids in general is higher than for kindergartners. In D.C. it’s around 92%. She thinks that a better proxy for how well a community is protected. Nonetheless, they’re working to get kids up-to-date on measles and all their other required vaccinations.
“Our standard practice is to identify children who are overdue for any of their vaccinations,” she says. They generally reach out to families through schools. “We have form letters that go to the families that say your child is due for X, Y, Z vaccines. Please go to her provider.”
They also provide information about local health care providers with their hours of operation and phone numbers.
“We also recently sent a letter to principals specifically about measles,” she says. “We continue to have messaging on our website and through social media.”
Now, they’re focusing on trying to get the word out to schools and families in these last weeks before summer vacation, and they have a message for doctors.
“Even if a child goes to the doctor not for their vaccine, you take that as an opportunity to vaccinate,” Talwalker says.
Dr. Siefman at Unity Health Care is on top of that.
An 11-year-old patient came in because a new pet was causing allergies. She ended up getting three vaccines.
Young Enough, the latest album from Charly Bliss, is out now.
Ebru Yildiz/Courtesy of the artist
Ebru Yildiz/Courtesy of the artist
The four friends who make up the band Charly Bliss have grown a lot since they first met at summer camp as teenagers. The band’s latest album, Young Enough, out now, was born out of growing pains.
Lead vocalist Eva Hendricks says the songs on this album were inspired by bad relationships — the kind that consume you and chip away at you until there’s none of you left. The songs explore the crippling need to be liked — even if it means losing yourself in the process.
The band’s pristine hooks and Hendricks’ sugary vocal delivery call to mind ’90s alt-rock predecessors. Hendricks says the Brooklyn band was also inspired by big pop records, resulting in lyrics seething with resentment and frustration commingling with rippling crystal synths until it all comes crashing to an end.
But these songs don’t just stew in sorrow. The sound stands in stark contrast to the pain in the words. The glittering title track is the album’s whole foundation. It’s an aching, joyful moment that belies the song’s warning: Love doesn’t have to hurt for it to be meaningful. It’s a slow burner that grows and grows until it collapses into a crumbling supernova of a song.
“Feast for eyes, how I changed your mind / but who am I if I don’t have you now? / Nobody knows you / The fate of a crush / How I had to consume and destroy us,” Hendricks sings.
It’s one of many lessons on “Young Enough.” But it never feels like Hendricks is lecturing us. These are her own hard-earned lessons, the most important of which is probably also the hardest to come by: That any relationship that asks you to hand over your autonomy or your happiness isn’t worth your time. It’s a liberating realization.
We rarely stroll into adulthood. Charly Bliss sees that journey more like a mad dash, marked by moments of heartache. Young Enough lays bare those growing pains, then leaves them all in the dust with a strong dose of sonic bliss.