SXSW Interview: Clive Davis

SXSW panel reviews

Ballroom Dancing
by Gary Miller

SXSW Interview: Clive Davis

Austin Convention Center, Thursday, March 14

One of most important record executives of the past 50 years and probably the most famous, Clive Davis held court for 90 minutes, coming across as a rich uncle with amazing friends and spectacular musical taste. Introduced by a series of video clips narrated by Casey Kasem, they paralleled his new autobiography, The Soundtrack of My Life. Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde, who ably steered the discussion, pointed out the book entered The New York Times Best Sellers list at No. 2. They initially spoke of two big stories that resulted after publication: Davis' announcement of his bisexuality, and a feud of sorts with Kelly Clarkson. He assured the standing room only crowd that he'd only gotten positive reaction to the former and he didn't think there was a difference of opinion with the latter. Some of Davis' life touchstones were mentioned, including a heartfelt discussion of his relationship with the late Whitney Houston. "I was totally unprepared that she was flirting with death," he recalled. As a gift, Davis shared a demo of one of her songs, as well as one from Barry Gibb later offered to Dionne Warwick, and another from Tina Turner working with Santana.

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