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Clive Davis Opens Up About the Music He and Whitney Houston Were Working on Before Her Death

"So she was vital, optimistic. Looking forward to the future," the music industry legend told 'CNN' in an interview

Lester Cohen/WireImage Clive Davis and Whitney Houston in Los Angeles
Lester Cohen/WireImage Clive Davis and Whitney Houston in Los Angeles

Clive Davis can still recall what fervor for life and music Whitney Houston had before she died.

In a new interview with CNN, the music industry legend and famed mentee of the late pop icon opened up about the music the two had been working on before she died at age 48 in 2012, on the weekend of the 55th Grammy Awards.

The record producer, 91, who discovered Houston at 19, explained to the outlet that the singer had asked him to come up with material for new songs not long before her sudden and tragic death.

<p>Whitney Houston and Clive Davis in Los Angeles in July 2009</p>

Whitney Houston and Clive Davis in Los Angeles in July 2009

Related: Remembering Whitney Houston's Remarkable Life in Photos

He shared that it was always their process to discuss ideas for new music with each other before she went into the recording studio. “We scheduled that we’d be ready,” he said. “That’s the way we worked. We collaborated and met before any recording session with material.”

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The Grammy winner confirmed that he and the “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” singer even came up with a prospective schedule. “And we said, ‘Yeah, she’ll go in August,’” Davis explained.

“So she was vital, optimistic. Looking forward to the future,” he added.

Lester Cohen/Getty Whitney Houston and Clive Davis in 1989
Lester Cohen/Getty Whitney Houston and Clive Davis in 1989

Related: Whitney Houston Biopic Will 'Answer All the Questions' About Late Singer, Clive Davis Says

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer also told the outlet about how Houston had spoken candidly about her heath prior to her death (which was the result of an accidental drowning with contributing factors of heart disease and cocaine use).

“She knew I couldn’t believe that she was still smoking cigarettes,” he shared. “And she showed me she had given up smoking. She had gone to some kind of throat doctor to remove all the nicotine from her throat. This was February.”

Despite how optimistic the performer seemed, Davis said, “That’s the lethal power of drugs. You never beat it. She didn’t beat it.”

The pop superstar died on Feb. 11, 2012 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, just hours before she planned to attend Davis’ annual pre-Grammys Awards party at the same hotel later that evening. Her loss was then greatly felt among the music community, and rest of the world, at the 55th Grammys later that weekend and hereafter.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Whitney Houston performs
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Whitney Houston performs

Related: Whitney Houston's Friends and Family Celebrate What Would've Been Her 60th Birthday at Legacy of Love Gala (Exclusive)

Davis — who’s also credited with playing a role in the careers of stars like Barry Manilow, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys and others — has spoken candidly about how affected he was by Houston’s death in the past.

In a 2015 interview with PEOPLE, the former A&R executive said, “I miss her. I miss her personally, and I miss her as [a] staggering performer.”

While he noted how “charming” and “funny” the “I Will Always Love You” singer was, he reflected fondly about how he missed her love for music most of all.

“If you ever saw her live, it was so overpowering,” Davis reminisced. “Never has a voice so effortlessly or emotionally been able to bring the songs home. She received standing ovations time and time again."

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