Clive Davis on Whitney Houston's Legacy and the Return of His Pre-GRAMMYs Party (Exclusive)

The legendary producer's pre-GRAMMYs bash returns this year.

Clive Davis has been making GRAMMY Awards weekend extra special for decades now -- and this year marks the anticipated return of his annual pre-GRAMMYs party.

"This party has taken place celebrating music so distinctively that it's been referred to as the greatest party in the world," Davis shared with ET's Denny Directo when the pair sat down to discuss the upcoming festivities this week. 

"I really am thrilled," he continued. "The emotion of the city, awaiting this night, is really very gratifying and very touching. And I know that we've got a night that lives up to its history."

Davis has been hosting the soiree -- a precursor to music's biggest night on Sunday -- since 1976, so there have been "many highlights" that stand out in his memories of past parties.

"One highlight of those highlights was I was leaving Arista...I only had two artists perform: Whitney Houston and Carlos Santana," he recalled. "After doing two or three numbers, [Whitney] said, 'We're bonded together forever. And I'm wanting to sing two songs, especially to you.' And she sang "I Believe in You and Me." And, obviously, brought tears not just to my eyes, but everybody there. And then 'I Will Always Love You.' That is an incredible memory."

Davis added he's "thrilled" with the response to the late singer's recent biopic, Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody, which he served as a producer on.  

"It's because of her impact. She was the greatest thing of her generation," he said of his late friend. "The impact of Whitney and the songs- these were not just one-hit wonders. These songs are still being streamed in the millions around the world, and you got to see that [in the] film. The movie gives it all to you."

While the anniversary of Houston's death always casts a bit of a pall over GRAMMYs weekend, Davis said there are more happy memories than sad when it comes to thinking about the talented singer -- particularly, the year she and Natalie Cole performed a duet at his pre-GRAMMYs bash. 

And there's plenty more to come this year, Davis hinted.

"We have our share of GRAMMY Award nominees performing, but we really have exciting ideas of artists that they would never expect," he shared. "It's the trademark of this party."

Any teases? "I will say that you can expect a duet between two great performers: one a rock performer, doing a duet with a superstar Latin performer that you would probably not expect."

The 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards take place Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT and will broadcast and stream live on CBS and Paramount+. Follow along at for everything you need to get ready for music's biggest night, including how to watch, GRAMMY performers and more.