Whitney Houston's last creative effort in the form of the movie "Sparkle" isn't due to hit theaters until Aug. 17; but, the motion picture soundtrack's first cut, "Celebrate," a duet with film co-star Jordin Sparks, debuts this week on Billboard's Nielsen BDS-based Adult R&B airplay chart at No. 34.
(The ranking, and all Billboard charts, will be updated Thursday, June 7 on billboard.biz.)
The upbeat "Celebrate" arrives with airplay detected on 45 of the Adult R&B chart's 64 reporters. WBAV Charlotte, N.C., led with 13 plays, followed by WXST (12) and WMGL in Charleston, N.C. (10) and WWDM Columbia, S.C. (10). Major-market Adult R&B panelists having sampled the song include WMXD Detroit, KMLQ Houston and WMMJ Washington, D.C. Sirius XM's "Heart & Soul" channel added seven first-time spins.
"Celebrate" helps set up Houston's final film, a remake of the 1976 release "Sparkle." Set in the 1960s, the movie follows three sisters who form a girl group that becomes a Motown sensation, only to see that success challenge the family's tight bonds. Singer Cee-Lo Green also appears in the film.
"Celebrate" - written and produced by R. Kelly, whose official website notes that the song is the last that Houston ever recorded - has been released to radio with utmost confidence from RCA, Houston, Sparks and Kelly's home label. "'Celebrate' is a great song from an iconic artist (Houston)," says Geo Bivins, RCA senior VP of urban promotion. "It's a great duet with Sparks."
The song's early supporters agree.
"It's too early to tell about it being a hit, but I just like the song," says WBAV program director/music director Terri Avery.
"It's Whitney. People miss her voice."