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Valerie Simpson


Whitney Houston’s godmother Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder will sing at the singer’s funeral, to be held in New Jersey on Saturday.

Clive Davis, her musical mentor, will speak at the ceremony, which will include contributions from Whitney Houston’s cousin Dionne Warwick and singer Alicia Keys.

Whitney Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown and Kevin Costner, with whom she starred in The Bodyguard, are among those who have been invited to the private service.

Police plan to block off streets around the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.

No one without an invitation will be allowed near the building and fans have been urged to stay home.

The funeral will be shown live on US television after the Houston family agreed to have a single video camera inside the church.

Whitney Houston’s funeral will also be streamed on the BBC News website at 12:00 EST.

Various media crews are already in place outside the church, hoping to capture footage of the guests arriving and leaving.

Whitney Houston was one of the world's best-selling artists from the mid-1980’s to the late 1990’s, selling 170 million records worldwide

Whitney Houston was one of the world's best-selling artists from the mid-1980’s to the late 1990’s, selling 170 million records worldwide

Songwriter Valerie Simpson, whose I’m Every Woman was covered by Whitney Houston in 1992, will also be attending the funeral.

Valerie Simpson told CNN she hoped the day would be a celebration of Whitney Houston’s talent.

“Her personal trials and tribulations have nothing to do with her artistry,” she told Piers Morgan.

“Her record is her music. That incredible voice.”

“It had everything – it was elastic, it had meaning, it had range, it had soul, it had pop sensibility and an ability to interpret a lyric in a way that made you feel it.”

The funeral comes one week after Whitney Houston was found in her hotel bathroom in Los Angeles.

Officials are waiting for the results of toxicology tests that will help them ascertain how the singer died.

Reginald Dowdley, the late singer’s make-up artist, spent three hours with her on the day before her death and said he saw “no signs of stress”.

“She was warm and inviting and welcoming,” he said.

“She didn’t seem erratic. I didn’t get any of that from her at all.”

Whitney Houston was one of the world’s best-selling artists from the mid-1980’s to the late 1990’s, selling 170 million records worldwide.

Sales of Whitney Houston records have soared since her death was announced last Saturday.

Nick Ashford (Nickolas Ashford), famous songwriter of Motown, died on Monday, August 22, in a New York hospital.

[googlead tip=”lista_mare”]Ashford has been suffering from throat cancer for years and was undergoing radiation therapy. His wife, Valerie Simpson and their daughters were with him when he died on Monday afternoon, said Liz Rosenberg, publicist and friend of Nick Ashford.

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson were inducted into the “Songwriters Hall of Fame” in 2002.

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson

The duo, performers and songwriters, had a great contribution on setting the golden standard for R&B duets. [googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”]

They broke out as R&B stars in the late ’70s and ’80s, with hits like Don’t Cost You Nothing, It Seems to Hang On, Found a Cure, Street Corner and their signature song, Solid.

Nick and Valerie recorded eight albums with Warner Bros., (four of them went gold), five with Capitol and two independently. Been Found, recorded in 1996, was created along with Maya Angelo, poet.

In 1966 they started to work with Motown. Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson wrote or produced most of the songs of Motown’s Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, including Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, You’re All I Need to Get By, Your Precious Love. They also wrote hits for Chuck Jackson, The Shirelles, Maxine Brown and the Fifth Dimension.

Let’s Go Get Stoned, Ray Charles’ 1966 number one R&B hit, was written by Nick Ashford and Valerie together with Josie Jo Armstead.

They wrote and produced Diana Ross’ solo hits, including Diana’s first solo Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand) and I’m Every Woman for Chaka Khan (Whitney Houston recorded it later).

In the recent years they performed occasionally. In 2001 they sang, with various artists, We are a family, a song by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers re-recorded as a benefit record for the September 11 attacks. Also they often hosted events at Sugar Bar.  Bruce Willis, Michael Douglas, Steve Wonder, Whoopi Goldberg, David Rockefeller Jr., and many others attended their New York restaurant. [googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”centrat”]

Nick Ashford was born on May 4, 1942, in Fairfield, South Carolina, New York, and he wished to be a dancer. In 1963 he met Valerie at Harlem’s White Rock Baptist Church and they married in 1974. They have two children, Nicole (born in 1975) and Asia (born in 1987).

In the link below you can find pictures of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson children:

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson Photo Album

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson performing Found a Cure (the album Stay Free went gold):