Singer cancels PE leg of Whitney Houston tribute due to lack of interest

Yoliswa Sobuwa

SHE has wowed audiences around the world with her performance in The Greatest Love of All, a tribute to the late Whitney Houston, but former Port Elizabeth singer Belinda Davids will once again be giving her hometown a miss.

Davids, 36, had been scheduled to perform at the Boardwalk International Convention Centre on Tuesday, but the show was cancelled after only 70 tickets were sold. Poor ticket sales for the show scheduled for Cape Town on January 10 also forced that show’s cancellation.

The former Gelvandale schoolgirl was chosen from more than 15000 people in 12 countries who auditioned for the Showtime Australia production, and has performed to sold-out venues around the world, including the Joburg Theatre and Soweto Theatre in Gauteng last year.

Tuesday night’s performance would have been her debut in front of a home audience.

“This is very sad news for me. I must say I am truly disappointed. My son Blake, 16, was looking forward to seeing my family in PE. I don’t even know how to explain or justify this. I know that my shows in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth have been cancelled due to poor sales,” she said.

As a teen, Davids dreamt of following in Houston’s footsteps and, although she lacked vocal training, she started performing at the age of 14. One of the first LPs she owned was the Teddy Pendergrass and Whitney Houston duet Hold Me.

“I was impressed by the quality and style portrayed by Houston in this song,” she has said in the past. “I used to sing Whitney’s music every chance I got, at family gatherings, talent competitions and for my friends.”

After spending a few years opening for international acts visiting South Africa – including Michael Jackson’s on his “History” tour, The Manhattans, The Temptations and Peaches & Herb – Davids, who grew up in Port Elizabeth and later moved to Cape Town, decided to expand her music career abroad. This saw her travelling to Dubai, London and Hong Kong, where she performed in major hotels and clubs. She later settled in Los Angeles.

The show’s promoter, Logan Moodley, said it was sad that the Port Elizabeth and Cape Town shows had been cancelled. “In PE, only 70 tickets were sold. We had to cancel the shows not because we wanted to embarrass the artists but because it [would] be unfair to her 16-piece band to [play] for only 70 people,” he said.

The Boardwalk spokesman Caley Phillips confirmed that Davids’s show and another, US singer Nathan Belt’s tribute Elvis: The Show, had been cancelled due to poor ticket sales. Those with tickets can get a refund from Computicket.

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