“I Look to You” was a personal expression of Houston’s faith.
The lyrics are spiritual in nature and speak about finding solace in a higher power when one has run out of strength. The tone of the song is reflective of the struggles Houston faced between her marriage falling apart and a battle against substance abuse, which ultimately led to her death, in 2012.
After all my strength is gone
In you I can be strong
I look to you
And when Melodies are gone
In you I hear a song
I look to you
The tune was written by R. Kelly, who performed the song at Houston’s funeral. He was also on a second release of “I Look to You” for Houston’s posthumous greatest-hits album, I Will Always Love You – The Best of Whitney Houston. The second release was a duet, which featured previously unused vocal tracks Houston recorded during her 2008 studio sessions.
At one of the listening parties for the release of I Look to You, Houston described why she chose to name the album after this song:
“The last several years spiritually, this song says all I wanted to say. There are times in life when we go through certain situations — some not so good. You have to reach for a higher strength, you have to reach deep inside yourself, spend time with yourself to make some corrections that go beyond your own understanding and lean on a higher understanding, for me song puts it all in check. If I did not have my faith I wouldn’t be as strong today.”
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