EXCLUSIVE: Yaya DaCosta Channels Whitney Houston In the Studio

by Zach Seemayer 8:21 AM PST, December 23, 2014
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Yaya DaCosta Channels Whitney Houston In the Studio

A biopic chronicling the life and career of iconic singer Whitney Houston is coming to Lifetime in January, and ETonline has an exclusive look at Yaya DaCosta's powerful performance as the music legend.

In the clip, fans get a closer look at DaCosta's portrayal of the seven-time GRAMMY winner as she records the chart-topping single, "I'm Your Baby Tonight." A happier version of Houston--working on her third studio album--is seen in the studio. 

PHOTOS: Stars Who've Played Real Life Icons

While DaCosta looks convincing as Houston, it's singer Deborah Cox who is actually heard on the 1990 single, which was re-recorded specifically for the film. "Angela [Bassett], who is a friend, approached me about singing a few songs," Cox tells Billboard of being asked to fill in for the late-singer on "I'm Every Woman," "I Will Always Love You," and "Greatest Love of All." "Obviously, the best-case scenario would be to use Whitney’s voice. But we’re all very passionate about telling Whitney’s story with integrity and very sensitive to all the talk."

The singer--who recorded the duet, "Same Script, Different Cast" with Houston--promises no "Deborah Cox seeped into the performances." 

Photo: Lifetime

Whitney, which serves as the directorial debut for Bassett, will also follow the ups and downs of Houston's career as she navigated the music industry and tried to maintain her tumultuous relationship with singer Bobby Brown.

VIDEO: Go Behind the Scenes of the Whitney Houston Lifetime Movie

DaCosta, a former contestant on America's Next Top Model, is best known for her roles in Tron: Legacy, The Kids Are All Right, and her recurring part as Nico on Ugly Betty. Arlen Escarpeta portrays Brown, while Yolonda Ross plays her friend and personal assistant Robyn Crawford.

Whitney premieres Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at 8pm on Lifetime.