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Whitney Houston‘s songs are very different from R. Kelly’s songs. Despite this, Kelly wrote one of Houston’s last hits for her. Houston revealed why it took ten years for her to record the song.

R. Kelly wearing a headband
R. Kelly | Gregory Bojorquez / Contributor

A record executive prevented Whitney Houston from recording an R. Kelly song for 10 years

In an interview uploaded to Houston’s YouTube channel, the “I Will Always Love You” singer discussed working on a track called “I Look to You.” “‘I Look to You’ came to me and R. Kelly with his genius wrote this song for me many years ago and wanted me to do it many years ago and it never got to me,” she revealed. “[Record executive] Clive [Davis] held it for a long time.”

Houston discussed what she enjoyed about “I Look to You.” “When I heard the lyric, spiritually, it connected with me very much,” she said. “I also didn’t know that R. Kelly wanted to work with me for a very long time.”

Whitney Houston told Oprah Winfrey that the song R. Kelly wrote for her was the ‘essence’ of her final album

According to, Oprah Winfrey interviewed Houston about “I Look to You” in 2009. “Let me first say that the song was written by Robert Kelly, who we all know as R. Kelly, 10 years ago for me,” she revealed. “It was the first song presented to me for the album, and I wanted that to be the flavor of what I wanted people to know about me and where I look to. How I got over, how I made it through some of the rough times.”

Oprah asked Houston if she was singing about something greater than herself in “I Look to You.” “Greater than me,” Houston replied. “Far greater than me. Absolutely. Somebody bigger than you and I.”

Oprah asked Houston if she called the song’s parent album I Look to You because the song was the album’s essence. “Yes,” Houston revealed. “That is the essence of what I wanted everyone to realize and to feel that this song — this album — is all about.”


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How the song and its parent album performed on the charts in the United States

“I Look to You” became a minor hit in the United States. The track peaked at No. 70 on the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed on the chart for six weeks. “I Look to You” became one of Houston’s final songs to hit the Billboard Hot 100.

The album I Look to You became considerably more popular. For one week, it topped the Billboard 200. I Look to You spent 39 weeks on the chart in total.

“I Look to You” was not one of Houston’s bigger hits but it remains an interesting connection between her and Kelly.