It has been revealed that a new Whitney Houston documentary tracing the life of the singer before she became an international icon is currently in production. Directed by Benjamin Alfonsi, Whitney Houston In Focus, is based on a forthcoming book Bette Marshall, a photographer who met the soul singer before she signed her record deal with Clive Davis of Arista Records.
The Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Audra McDonald is set to narrate the documentary and will serve as its executive producer. Discussing Whitney Houston In Focus, she described the titular singer as “an artist I worshipped from the moment I first heard her sing. Her voice was simply miraculous and her artistry was perfection,” McDonald, before adding: “We all witnessed her superstardom, and I’m honoured to help tell this part of Whitney’s story, before it all began”.
Bette Marshall, who met Houston when the singer was just 18, will also feature in the documentary, offering a previously unheard perspective on the star as she transformed from an unknown singer in New Jersey to one of the most revered recording artists in the history of American music.
Marshall’s intimate knowledge of Houston’s life and family has allowed Alfonsi to create what has been described as a “cinematic photo story of a photographer and her young muse”. Indeed, the “unprecedented access” the photographer was allowed offers a stunning insight into Whitney’s rise to fame. As noted in a press release, as she got closer to Houston, “Marshall’s camera followed the young singer to early auditions and recording sessions, and even to church”.
Marshall’s book is called Young Whitney and will be released in February 2022, marking ten years since the shock news of the singer’s death on February 11th, 2012, when Houston was found unresponsive in her Beverly Hilton hotel room. According to Clive Davis, the book, “Captures all the beauty, promise and love of life that was indeed Whitney when I first met her”.
As it stands, the exact release date for Whitney Houston In Focus is still unclear and is set to hit the screen in early 2022. Of course, this isn’t the first documentary about Whitney Houston. Since her death, there have been a number of biographical releases, including the 2017 doc Whitney: Can I Be Me. However, thanks to Marshall, this is the first to “reveal rare photos and personal stories of an up-and-coming Whitney Houston”.