Legendary music producer Clive Davis says his documentary Soundtrack of Our Lives presents a more accurate and balanced picture of late singer Whitney Houston than the unauthorized Nick Broomfield film Can I Be Me…
After a warm reception in Deauville, Davis said much of that emotion has less to do with his story than the sad tale of Whitney Huston’s downfall and eventual death that takes up much of the last third of the film.
“It’s a powerful picture of Whitney, not a self-puffery one, but one that does finally recognize the magnitude of the heights that she reached,” he said of her portrayal in Soundtrack. “For the first time you see a picture of her as an artist, as one of the greatest female singers in history, and yet you also see her downfall graphically exposed.”
He believes Soundtrack shows a balanced picture of Houston’s career, and the mogul took issue with Broomfield’s portrayal of the singer, which he said is a one-sided view he declined to participate in. He has seen the film and said those that did agree to be interviewed were “tertiary and insignificant” to her life.
“This was no girl from the hood. She was from an urban African American neighborhood, but she was a fashion model at 16 and was very much in that world, and she always was in control,” he said, saying her favorite actress was Doris Day. He also downplayed the film’s assertion that she was forever impacted by being booed at the Soul Train awards in 1989. “That’s silly, you see her make fun of Soul Train,” he said, referring to a scene in Soundtrack, in which she discusses the issue with Arsenio Hall.
“No one thought Whitney was not being Whitney. She was an artist like no other before with no blinders,” he said. “So I think that that whole [film], with all due respect, is inaccurate.” However he added that many raw scenes were “painful.” Soundtrack shows Davis’ efforts to reach Whitney, but makes it clear he did not know the extent of her drug addiction at the time.