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Artist has learned the ‘Greatest Love of All’

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Belinda Davids’ initial career plans didn’t include singing the music of Whitney Houston, but things don’t always turn out as planned.      

Davids, a South African singer, will be performing in “The Greatest Love of All,” a  Whitney Houston tribute at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24 and 25 at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center.

“Everywhere I go I want people to know, that it’s me – Belinda Davids – paying tribute to an amazing woman,” said Davids.

The comparison to Houston came at an early age.

Belinda Davids pays tribute to singer Whitney Houston in “The Greatest Love of All.” Special

Growing up under Apartheid in South Africa, Davids found strength in the music of Houston, especially songs such as “Greatest Love of All,” which was recorded by other artists before it gained fame with Houston’s voice lifting it up.

Davids started singing professionally as a teen, and Houston’s music played an important part in her early career. While Davids did emulate her idol, her goal was to make her own music and a name for herself.

In the 1990s, she recorded her first album.

“Belinda promoted her album all over South Africa for a number of years at various hotels, clubs and cabarets. She was the opening act for many international artists when they visited South Africa including Michael Jackson’s History tour, The Manhattans, The Temptations and Peaches and Herb,” according to a news release.

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In 2013, Davids’ trajectory changed.

“John Van Grinsven, creator and producer of Showtime Australia’s The Greatest Love of All, was on his final round of global auditions to find a star for the new production and Belinda managed to nab a last-minute audition. What had once been a hindrance for her was now a blessing – Belinda beat almost 15,000 other hopefuls to take the marquee role,” the news release said.

Davids has gone on to embrace the similarities between her and Houston such as her four-octave range and the emotion she puts into her performances, but she’s able to draw a line between herself and Houston, who died in 2012.

“People think that I think I’m Whitney,” she said.

But she knows her identity is separate from Houston, who sang songs such as “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “Greatest Love of All” and “I Will Always Love You.”

Belinda Davids performs a tribute to Whitney Houston Jan. 24-25 in Evans. Special.

In fact, it’s the song “Greatest Love of All” that taught her the importance of learning who she was and that knowledge, that learning to love oneself that is spoken of in the song has truly been one of the greatest lessons she’s learned in her life, Davids said.

Augusta Amusements brought Davids to the Hardin auditorium in January 2020, weeks before the pandemic began to shut down the world.

Despite restrictions that year, Davids competed in “Britain’s Got Talent, where she progressed to the semi-finals and performed in front of the show’s first ever virtual audience. Her performance of ‘I Have Nothing’ was described as ‘utterly spellbinding’ by judge Amanda Holden, and ‘absolutely electric’ by judge David Walliams,” the news release said.

The pandemic made her think about goals for her life and one of them is to start a music school in her hometown because there aren’t many opportunities for young performers there, she said.

Joining Davids on the Evans’ stage next week will be several of her background dancers although not all of them are able to be with her because of COVID restrictions in the countries they are from, but she said she hopes that will be the only COVID influence on her show.

“I hope people will come and have a great time,” she said.

Tickets for “The Greatest Love of All” are $44.95 and are available at augustaamusements.com or by calling (706) 726-0366.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the Managing Editor for The Augusta Press. Reach her at [email protected] 

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