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I Look to You (song)


I Look to You (song)

"I Look to You"
I Look to You
Released July 23, 2009
(see release history)
Format Digital download, CD single
Recorded 2009
Genre Gospel
Length 4:26
Label Arista
Writer(s) Robert Kelly
Producer Emanuel Kiriakou, Harvey Mason, Jr., Tricky Stewart
Whitney Houston singles chronology

"One Wish (for Christmas)"
"I Look to You"
"Million Dollar Bill"

"I Look to You" is a pop-soul song performed by American recording artist Whitney Houston, from her seventh studio album[1][2] of the same name. It was released as a worldwide promotional single[3] and as the first US single from the album on July 23, 2009 on US radio following highly favorable reviews at pre-release album listening parties.[4]

The single is one of two songs written by R. Kelly which appear on the album and was produced by Emanuel Kiriakou, Tricky Stewart and Harvey Mason, Jr.. Following its preview on US radio the single was released fully for airplay on July 27, 2009.[5] On July 30, just one week after its premiere (and 3 days after its promotional release) the song reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Chart, becoming her 30th top 20 hit. The song has since become her highest charting single in the United States in nine years, charting at #70.

On February 18, 2012, R. Kelly (who wrote "I Look to You") performed the song at Houston's homegoing at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. The service was broadcast and streamed live to a worldwide audience.


Initially Vibe magazine reported that another song titled "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" penned by Diane Warren and produced by David Foster would be released as the lead single.[6] However on July 14, 21 and 23 Houston held 3 pre-release album listening parties in which 9 of the 11 songs where previewed, "Call You Tonight" was described as a possible lead single by mentor Clive Davis.[7] Swizz Beatz producer of the song "Million Dollar Bill" (written by Alicia Keys) said that his record was definitely a potential comeback record and with critical acclaim at all three parties it was widely expected that the song would succeed the others as the lead single. However both Rap-Up and Houston's official website have confirmed the title song will indeed be the first US single[3] whilst "Million Dollar Bill" is being released as the worldwide lead single (second US single, almost simultaneously with first single). "I Look to You" was the second single from the album in the United Kingdom, where it was released on December 14, 2009.[8]

Music video

The video for "I Look to You" premiered on September 10, 2009 on Whitney Houston's official website[9] and on Entertainment Tonight.[10]

The video, also directed by Melina Matsoukas, features the singer in front of a plain beige and gray backdrop with different angles of her. She is sitting on a concrete pillar with a spotlight focused on her. Toward the end of the video, a shower of flowers are shown falling all around her. Houston is wearing a white dress in mood of the beige and grey background. The significance of the number was her humbleness to the Lord.


  • Houston performed this song at Good Morning America on September 1, 2009. The show aired the following day.
  • Houston sang "I Look To You" at German television Wetten, dass..? where she performed this song with great reviews.
  • "I Look To You" was performed at 2nd annual BET Celebration of Gospel gala by Houston together with Kim Burrell and gospel choir. The performance was acclaimed as the best performance of the night.

Critical reception

Houston says that the powerful piano ballad that sums up the album and is all she wants to say at this stage of her life.[7] From the album parties Rolling Stone said that with the two tracks from R. Kelly (the chippy kiss-off "Salute" and the steely title track produced by Tricky Stewart, Emanuel Kiriakou and Harvey Mason, Jr.) Houston seems to be aiming for a younger audience and the radio.[11] Showbiz411's Richard Freidman called R. Kelly's contributions "excellent tracks, including the beautiful title song"[12] Billboard magazine's Mark Surtherland wrote "The overall feel of the album was notably contemporary, while retaining Houston's trademark vocal flourishes. Clive Davis praised Houston by saying that on songs like "I Look to You" it is not difficult to say she is 'the premium balladeer of our time'.[13]

Billboard's Monica Herrera gave the song a positive review, writing that Houston is "both vulnerable and in control". She adds that "the minimalist production, which features a lone, sullen piano and soft synths, exists purely to cushion Houston's moving vocal performance". Lastly, she stated that it "stands firmly in the tradition of her most emotive hits ("Greatest Love of All," "I Will Always Love You") and signals the long-awaited return of a true diva".[14]

Cover versions

  • The song was covered on the television show Glee during the second season episode Grilled Cheesus. With Amber Riley on lead vocals, the song debuted and peaked at #74 on the Hot 100 during the week of October 23, 2010.
  • On February 18, 2012, singer/songwriter R. Kelly (who wrote "I Look to You") performed the song at Houston's funeral at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. The service was broadcast and streamed live to a worldwide audience.
  • The song is covered by Selah on his fourth album, Hope of the Broken World, which was released on 2011.
  • The song was also covered by English singer-songwriter Joe McElderry on his fourth studio album Here's What I Believe.

Track listing

Chart performance

The song debuted at number eighty six on the Billboard Hot 100 and two weeks later reached number 70. It spent six weeks on the chart and as of May 2012 has sold nearly 298,000 copies in the US. The song has sold over 450,000 copies worldwide.


Chart (2009-2012) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[17] 47
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[18] 21
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[19] 14
Brazil (Billboard Brazil)[20] 34
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[21] 68
France (SNEP)[22] 124
Germany (Media Control AG)[23]
Double-A-Side with "Million Dollar Bill"
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[24] 40
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[25] 65
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[26] 33
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 16
United Kingdom (Official Charts Company)[28] 115
US Billboard Hot 100[29] 70
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[30] 16
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[31] 22
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[32] 35
US Jazz Songs (Billboard)[2] 21
US Hot Gospel Songs (Billboard)[2] 14

Release history

Country Release date Format Label
North America July 23, 2009[5] Premier/debut Arista Records, Sony Music
Austria July 27 until
July 31, 2009[4]
Limited free download Sony Music Entertainment
North America Arista Records, Sony Music
Spain Sony Music Entertainment
United States August 11, 2009[33] Airplay Arista Records
August 4, 2009[34] Digital download
Germany October 2, 2009[35] Double A-side Single Sony Music Entertainment
United Kingdom November 6, 2009 Digital Download[16]
  • Single remix album
RCA Records
December 14, 2009[36] Digital Download[15]
  • 5-track single


Year Region Award Category Result
2010 United States NAACP Image Awards[37] Outstanding Music Video Won

Duet version with R. Kelly

"I Look To You"
R. Kelly
from the album I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston
Released September 25, 2012
Format Digital download
Recorded 2012
Genre R&B, soul, gospel, pop
Length 3:39
Label RCA
Writer(s) Robert Kelly
Producer Clive Davis, Robert Kelly
Whitney Houston singles chronology

"His Eye Is on the Sparrow"
"I Look To You"
R. Kelly chronology
"Feelin' Single"
"I Look To You"

The song was later re-recorded as a duet between Houston and R. Kelly and was released as a digital single on September 25, 2012, seven months after Houston's death.[38] One day before the release, a sneak peek of this version debuted on Ryan Seacrest's website.[39] The duet version of the song was released from and to promote Houston's posthumous compilation album I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston.

Track listing

Digital download
  1. "I Look to You" (Whitney Houston and R. Kelly) — 3:39

Chart performance

Chart (2012) Peak
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[30] 90

Release history

Country Release date Format Label
Worldwide September 25, 2012 Digital Download RCA Records
United Kingdom November 11, 2012[40]

External links

  • I Look To You (Acharts)


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