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Stars align as Whitney Houston's 1990 cover of Steve Winwood's "Higher Love" resurfaces

Photo: Kevork Djansezian (Getty Images)

A remix of Whitney Houston covering Steve Winwood’s ecstatic 1986 hit “Higher Love” has resurfaced. Houston had recorded it for her third album I’m Your Baby Tonight, according to Rolling Stone, but it remained unreleased until now. Norwegian DJ and producer Kygo was brought on to “collaborate” with her recorded version for a modern version of the song.

The reason it never made it onto her 1990 record was purely a managerial one. “When [producer] Narada Michael Walden sent me ‘Higher Love’ with the Whitney vocal, we didn’t want her being a cover artist at that time,” record producer Clive Davis said. “The only place it was released was as a bonus cut in Japan.” A live version popped up on YouTube in February, and today sees the release of the remastered version with Kygo. Pat Houston, the late singer’s sister-in-law and sole executor of Whitney’s estate is putting the song out now because she thinks it’s the right time to uplift people’s souls. Houston does have that effect on people.

According to Pat, Kygo was picked to take on Whitney’s recording because of his recent remix of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” “Kygo was the first person that was mentioned. He put his spin on it and did a fantastic job,” she told Rolling Stone.

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This, apparently, is just the first in a proposed long line of new work coming from the late singer’s estate. It will include a whole album of new material, “branding opportunities,” and a “hologram tour,” all as a way to keep her material alive, although no one would say it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

If you’re a Whitney Houston purist, you can view the incredible live version of her “Higher Love” cover below. Backed by a gospel choir and brass section, the clip is likely much more akin to the Houston you know and love. It’s not HD but it’s still quality work because, well, it’s her.

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Alani Vargas

Alani Vargas is an entertainment writer and A.V. Club contributor. Her work also appears on Showbiz Cheat Sheet, INSIDER, Bustle, Refinery29, and Elite Daily.