As a girl, Belinda Davids wor­shipped Whit­ney Hous­ton, never guess­ing one day she’d travel the globe car­ry­ing the torch for the fallen star

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - PHIL BROWN

Play­ing her idol on stage is more than just a gig for South African singer Belinda Davids. In fact it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that be­ing Whit­ney Hous­ton for a cou­ple of hours a night is an al­most sa­cred duty.

Her trib­ute show The Great­est Love of All – The Whit­ney Hous­ton Show comes to The Star Gold Coast, this week­end and fea­tures Davids singing Hous­ton’s great­est hits.

Last year Davids, 41, was crowned win­ner of BBC1’s Even Bet­ter Than The Real Thing, a show that pit­ted the world’s top trib­ute acts against each other.

On the strength of that she has a forth­com­ing tour of the UK but right now she’s tour­ing Aus­tralia, for the sec­ond time.

The first, in 2015, was bit­ter­sweet be­cause Hous­ton’s own Aus­tralian tour, to­wards the end of her ca­reer, had been a bit of a dis­as­ter. At her Bris­bane con­cert in Fe­bru­ary 2010 the su­per­star was de­scribed as “breath­less, sham­bolic and out of con­trol”.

Two years later, on Fe­bru­ary 11, 2012, Hous­ton was found dead in her Los An­gels ho­tel room. The coro­ner’s re­port showed she had ac­ci­den­tally drowned in the bath­tub, with heart dis­ease and co­caine use listed as con­tribut­ing fac­tors.

“The first time I came here I thought ‘I have to re­store her name in Aus­tralia’,” Davids says. “It was a dread­fully dif­fi­cult time when she was here; she was right at the end of it all. It was re­ally sad.”

On Davids’ first tour here, au­di­ences were amazed at the pu­rity of her voice. Watch her singing on YouTube and you will be gob­s­macked by her tal­ent. When she’s on­stage singing songs such as Dance With Some­body or Great­est Love of All, she be­comes Hous­ton, and it would be spooky if it wasn’t so mov­ing.

As a young girl in Port El­iz­a­beth, South Africa, Davids lis­tened to Hous­ton daily. “I was eight years old when I dis­cov­ered her, and I’m not mak­ing this up,” she says. “But I never saw her per­form. I hardly saw any­one be­cause we grew up poor.”

With­out for­mal vo­cal train­ing, Davids started singing pro­fes­sion­ally when she was 12. It was when she hit the club cir­cuit in her home coun­try that peo­ple be­gan to no­tice how much she sounded like Hous­ton.

She opened shows for many in­ter­na­tional acts vis­it­ing South Africa and in 2014 be­gan per­form­ing as Hous­ton after she was cast fol­low­ing a global au­di­tion of 15,000 would-be Whit­neys.

“For me it’s an emo­tional trib­ute,” Davids says. I’m not try­ing to be Whit­ney Hous­ton. I’m pay­ing trib­ute to her.”

Davids is booked through to 2020, mean­ing she’s on the road a lot and away from her two sons back in Cape Town, where she now lives. The Great­est Love of All – The Whit­ney Hous­ton Show, this Satur­day at The Star Gold Coast. Tick­ets at

Catch Belinda Davids’ un­canny trib­ute show to Whit­ney Hous­ton at The Star Gold Coast.

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