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An Unreleased Demo Song By a 17-Year-Old Whitney Houston Auctions Off for $1M as an NFT

Still missing Whitney? Many people are. Which is why one fan purchased an unheard Whitney Houston song for almost $1 Million.

The song was an early demo recording of the teen diva singing before getting signed by Clive Davis at Arista Records.

Special guest Whitney Houston at the Songwriters Hall of Fame 32nd Annual Awards at The Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in New York City on June 14, 2001 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect

Billboard reports the song was sold for $999,999 on Dec. 14 as a nonfungible token in an auction on the OneOf platform, which is backed by music mogul Quincy Jones and runs on the Tezos blockchain.

Earlier this month during Miami Art Week, OneOf revealed that it would be auctioning off this vintage full-length demo. Recorded when Houston was only 17, it is one of the earliest examples of her performing as a solo artist.

The auction started on Dec. 13 with a $125,000 bid and ended on Tuesday a dollar shy of a $1 million bid from a fan under the profile AlwaysLoved. In addition to the Houston recording, AlwaysLoved will receive featured art created by Diana Sinclair, another 17-year-old prodigy. 

Sinclair described in a statement what it was like to get ready to create something that would complement the unmatched giftedness of a young Houston. 

“For this video, I took a lot of inspiration from Whitney’s ‘Every Woman’ music video which featured many Black women of all ages and the ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ song which had lots of fun colors,” the artist shared. “Creating something fresh, young, and colorful was the goal for this project, as well as bringing Whitney’s legacy into the modern space through digital art and technology.”

On Houston’s NFT collection landing page, Sinclair discussed how it was a privilege to work on the project, “Being able to collaborate with her music and her family really transformed the way that I saw her in her music videos. I feel more connected to the person that she was. Some of the messages that I put across in my artwork as well, they’re very similar.”

A description of the NFT says that this masterpiece is a “OneOf One” and “includes the trailer video” and that the winner gets “full personal use rights” of the work. It is also a part of a larger collection of work. 

Other items from the Whitney Houston OneOf NFT collection will be auctioned off at different tiers. On the gold and platinum tier, fans will be able to bid on rarely-seen archival photos of the singer during her early life, and her career will be featured in new scrapbook-like animations. On the diamond tier, fans will be able to check out video artwork inspired by Houston’s discography made by Sinclair and copies of other music videos like “The Greatest Love of All” and “I Will Always Love You.”

Proceeds from the sale of this collection will go to the Whitney E. Houston Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed in 2020 and headed up by Pat Houston, the singer’s sister-in-law. This is different from the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, formed by the singer in 1989.

The late singer met her demise on Feb. 11, 2012, at the age of 48. The daughter of renowned gospel and rock and roll singer Cissy Houston, Whitney’s life was dedicated to music. Before she was able to demo her own music, this musical phenomenon started her professional career singing background for acts like the Neville Brothers, Lou Rawls, the Michael Zager Band (for which she sang the lead for the song “Life’s A Party” in 1978), and Chaka Khan.

According to ABC News, in 1978, when she was 15 years old, she sang background on the Naughty album that was released in 1980. She, her mother Cissy, and Luther Vandross can be heard on songs “So Naughty,” “Clouds,” and “Our Love’s In Danger.”

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