Exclusive: Herbie Hancock Remembers Whitney Houston: ‘She Was So Kind’

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At Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy Gala on Saturday the mood was rightfully heavy at the Beverly Hilton Hotel where Whitney Houston was found dead earlier that afternoon. Everyone seemed to have a connection to the late singer, and Herbie Hancock shared some of his favorite memories with us.

“There are a couple of them,” he told us on the carpet. “She was always very sweet to me, that’s the personal feeling I have about her. She always went out of her way to give me a big hug no matter how many people were between us. She would always come over. She was sought after from press to fans, but she always made a point to say hello. She was so kind.”

“The first memory I have isn’t the last time I saw her, which was at Clive’s party a few years ago, but the first time I met her,” continued Herbie. “I was in Japan performing and I had a day off. I had a chance to go backstage with Whitney and talk to her for a while. We were walking down this hallway and talking and I remember her voice echoing down the hall. It’s kind of a surrealistic memory.”

As for what her legacy will be:

“Her voice. Her delivery. Her personality was in her voice. She’s influenced so many singers of today and she will continue to do so even though she isn’t with us.”