Grammy Award winners and 2019 nominees are joining forces to celebrate the beauty that is Aretha Franklin. Tonight, a one-of-a-kind concert called Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul will air on CBS paying tribute to the legendary music icon that was the Queen of Soul.
Along with the jaw-droppingly stunning group of musicians in attendance (Kelly Clarkson, Common, Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Patti LaBelle, Brandi Carlile, Chloe X Halle, H.E.R., and Janelle Monáe, to name a few), producer and music mogul Clive Davis will be in the house to help celebrate the life of his dear friend Franklin.
“I am thrilled to have the Recording Academy and CBS as partners in this global tribute to my very dear friend Aretha Franklin,” said Davis in a release. “Aretha was more than the Queen of Soul; she was a national treasure. This unique concert, featuring many of today’s greatest artists, will celebrate Aretha in a spectacular manner befitting her once-in-a-lifetime talent.”
Davis is an absolute veteran of the music industry and icon in his own right. Here are five fast facts you need to know about the man whose client roster reads like an all-time music Hall of Fame.
1. Clive Davis Has A Net Worth of $850 Million
Davis’s net worth is an astonishing $850 million earned after decades of experience as a music producer and A&R executive. In just under 60 years in the business, he’s worked with a huge list of clients who’ve all gone on to much success and acclaim. The roster reads like a who’s who of superstars and includes Janis Joplin, Aerosmith, Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, TLC, Rod Stewart, Air Supply, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Carlos Santana, Leona Lewis, and many more.
Davis seemingly had a knack for recognizing talent. He also has a great track record of reviving the careers of past hit-makers as he did with Warwick and Franklin. But reaching into music’s back catalogue wasn’t only a niche; his keen sense and taste helped him spot talent and launch the careers of new artists on the scene, such as L.A. Reid, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, and whatever name Sean “Puffy” Combs is going by today.
2. Davis’s Early Start in the Biz
Davis was born April 4, 1932 in Brooklyn, N.Y. After both of his parents tragically passed away when he was a teenager, Davis received a full scholarship to Harvard Law School where he was a member of the Board of Student Advisers and graduated in 1956. He practiced law at a small firm in New York before joining the firm of Rosenman, Colin, Kaye, Petschek, and Freund two years later; partner Ralph Colin had CBS as a client and Columbia Records was a subsidiary of CBS. Soon enough, Davis was assistant counsel of Columbia Records by the age of 28 and general counsel by the following year.
As part of a reorganization of Columbia Records Group, then president Goddard Lieberson appointed Davis as administrative vice president and general manager in 1965, and by 1967 Davis had become president, a position he held until 1973. Some of the acts he signed during his time at Columbia include Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Santana, The Chambers Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, Chicago, Billy Joel, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Loggins & Messina, and Aerosmith.
3. Davis Founded Arista Records in 1974
In 1974, Davis founded a brand new company called Arista Records. The label signed its first megastar in Barry Manilow, but went on to accumulate names like Franklin, Warwick, Patti Smith, Al Jourgensen, The Outlaws, Eric Carmen, Ace of Base, The Right Profile, Ray Parker Jr., and Alicia Keys throughout the years.
In 1989, Davis co-founded LaFace Records, a joint venture between Arista and the producing duo Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. LaFace became the home of TLC, Usher, Outkast, Pink, and Toni Braxton. Davis also founded Bad Boy Records with Sean “Puffy” Combs and that label produced records by Notorious B.I.G., Combs, Mase, 112, and Faith Evans.
It was during this time period that Davis saw Cissy and Whitney Houston, a mother-daughter duo, perform at a nightclub in New York City. Davis signed Whitney, who went on to become one of the biggest selling artists in music history thanks to Arista and Davis’s mentoring.
4. Davis Won Four Grammys for His Production Work
In 2000, Davis won two Grammys for his production work on Santana’s Supernatural which won Best Rock Album and Album of the Year. In 2006, Davis snagged a third award for Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway which won Best Pop Vocal Album. Then in 2009, he won again for Jennifer Hudson’s self-titled album which won Best R&B Album.
Davis also received the Grammy Trustees Award in 2000 and the President’s Merit Award at the 2009 Grammys. In 2011, the 200-seat theater at the Grammy Museum was named the “Clive Davis Theater.”
Also in 2000, Davis became the first music executive to be voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Patti Smith inducted me,” said Davis. “I’ll never forget it.”
5. Davis’s Personal Life
Davis has been married and divorced twice. From 1956 to 1965 he was married to Helen Cohen; his second marriage was to Janet Adelberg from 1965 to 1985. He has four children and seven grandchildren.
In 2013, Davis publicly came out as bisexual in his autobiography The Soundtrack of My Life. On the daytime talk show Katie, he told host Katie Couric that he hoped his coming out would lead to a “greater understanding” of bisexuality.
“I opened myself up to the possibility that I could have a relationship with a man as well as the two that I had with a woman,” he said. “I’m still attracted to women…You don’t have to be only one thing or another. For me, it’s the person.”