"I Look to You"
Single by Whitney Houston
from the album I Look to You
ReleasedJuly 23, 2009
Songwriter(s)Robert Kelly
Whitney Houston singles chronology
"One Wish (for Christmas)"
"I Look to You"
"Million Dollar Bill"
Music video
"I Look To You" on YouTube

"I Look to You" is a pop-soul song performed by American recording artist Whitney Houston, from her seventh studio album[1][2] of the same name. It was released as a worldwide promotional single[3] and as the first US single from the album on July 23, 2009 on US radio following highly favorable reviews at pre-release album listening parties.[4]

The single is one of two songs written by R. Kelly which appear on the album and was produced by Emanuel Kiriakou, Tricky Stewart and Harvey Mason Jr. Following its preview on US radio the single was released fully for airplay on July 27, 2009.[5] On July 30, just one week after its premiere (and 3 days after its promotional release) the song reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Chart, becoming her 30th top 20 hit. The song has since become her highest charting single in the United States in nine years, charting at #70.

On February 18, 2012, R. Kelly (who wrote "I Look to You") performed the song at Houston's homegoing at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. The service was broadcast and streamed live to a worldwide audience.


Initially Vibe magazine reported that another song titled "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" penned by Diane Warren and produced by David Foster would be released as the lead single.[6] However, on July 14, 21 and 23 Houston held 3 pre-release album listening parties in which 9 of the 11 songs where previewed, "Call You Tonight" was described as a possible lead single by mentor Clive Davis.[7] Swizz Beatz producer of the song "Million Dollar Bill" (written by Alicia Keys) said that his record was definitely a potential comeback record and with critical acclaim at all three parties it was widely expected that the song would succeed the others as the lead single. However both Rap-Up and Houston's official website have confirmed the title song will indeed be the first US single[3] whilst "Million Dollar Bill" is being released as the worldwide lead single (second US single, almost simultaneously with first single). "I Look to You" was the second single from the album in the United Kingdom, where it was released on December 14, 2009.[8]

Music video

The video for "I Look to You" premiered on September 10, 2009 on Whitney Houston's official website[9] and on Entertainment Tonight.[10]

The video, also directed by Melina Matsoukas, features the singer in front of a plain beige and gray backdrop with different angles of her. She is sitting on an applebox with a spotlight focused on her. Toward the end of the video, a shower of flowers are shown falling all around her. Houston is wearing a white dress in mood of the beige and grey background. The significance of the number was her humbleness to the Lord.


Critical reception

Houston said that the powerful piano ballad sums up the album and was all she wanted to say at that stage of her life.[7] From the album parties Rolling Stone said that with the two tracks from R. Kelly (the chippy kiss-off "Salute" and the steely title track produced by Tricky Stewart, Emanuel Kiriakou and Harvey Mason Jr.) Houston seemed to be aiming for a younger audience and the radio.[11] Billboard magazine's Mark Surtherland wrote "The overall feel of the album was notably contemporary, while retaining Houston's trademark vocal flourishes. Clive Davis praised Houston by saying that on songs like "I Look to You" it is not difficult to say she is 'the premium balladeer of our time'.[12]

Billboard's Monica Herrera gave the song a positive review, writing that Houston is "both vulnerable and in control". She adds that "the minimalist production, which features a lone, sullen piano and soft synths, exists purely to cushion Houston's moving vocal performance". Lastly, she stated that it "stands firmly in the tradition of her most emotive hits ("Greatest Love of All," "I Will Always Love You") and signals the long-awaited return of a true diva".[13]

Cover versions

Track listing

Commercial performance

The song debuted at No. 86 on the Billboard Hot 100 and two weeks later peaked at No. 70. The song also did well on the Adult R&B Songs chart peaking at No. 2 the week of October 3, 2009.[16] It spent six weeks on the Hot 100 and as of May 2012 had sold nearly 298,000 copies in the US. The song sold more than 550,000 copies worldwide and has been certified Gold by the RIAA.


Release history

Country Release date Format Label
North America July 23, 2009[5] Premier/debut Arista Records, Sony Music
Austria July 27 until
July 31, 2009[4]
Limited free download Sony Music Entertainment
North America Arista Records, Sony Music
Spain Sony Music Entertainment
United States August 11, 2009[36] Airplay Arista Records
August 4, 2009[37] Digital download
Germany October 2, 2009[38] Double A-side Single Sony Music Entertainment
United Kingdom November 6, 2009 Digital Download[15]
  • Single remix album
RCA Records
December 14, 2009[39] Digital Download[14]
  • 5-track single


Year Region Award Category Result
2010 United States NAACP Image Awards[40] Outstanding Music Video Won

Duet version with R. Kelly

"I Look To You"
Single by Whitney Houston and R. Kelly
from the album I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston
ReleasedSeptember 25, 2012
Songwriter(s)Robert Kelly
Whitney Houston singles chronology
"His Eye Is on the Sparrow"
"I Look To You"
R. Kelly singles chronology
"Feelin' Single"
"I Look To You"
"When a Man Lies"

The song was later re-recorded as a duet between Houston and R. Kelly and was released as a single on September 25, 2012, seven months after Houston's death.[41] This version marks Houston's final single, and third posthumous release. One day before the release, a sneak peek of this version debuted on Ryan Seacrest's website.[42] The duet version of the song was released from and to promote Houston's posthumous compilation album I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston. The song was released as the first and only single from the compilation by RCA Records.

Track listing

Digital download
  1. "I Look to You" (Whitney Houston and R. Kelly) — 3:39

Chart performance

Chart (2012) Peak
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[30] 90

Release history

Country Release date Format Label
Worldwide September 25, 2012 Digital Download RCA Records
United Kingdom November 11, 2012[43]


Year Region Award Category Result
2013 United States NAACP Image Awards[44] Outstanding Song Won


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  2. ^ a b c https://www.billboard.com/artist/whitney-houston/chart-history/
  3. ^ a b Billboard I Look To You Review Archived August 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b "Album gets bumped up and free download". official website. July 28, 2009.
  5. ^ a b "the first single". Rap-Up Magazine. July 24, 2009.
  6. ^ "WHITNEY HOUSTON NEW SINGLE CONFIRMED". Vibe magazine. April 5, 2009. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Preview: Whitney Houston - 'I Look to You'". Rap-Up Magazine. July 23, 2009.
  8. ^ Whitney Houston Announces Extra Tour Dates Due To Public Demand
  9. ^ "::That Grape Juice // ThatGrapeJuice.net::.. || In Loving Memory Of Michael Jackson". Thatgrapejuice.net. March 25, 2007. Archived from the original on September 6, 2009. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
  10. ^ "::"I Look to You" Video Premier; The Official Whitney Houston Site". Arista Records. September 10, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2009.
  11. ^ "Whitney Houston Returns: Diva Debuts "I Look to You" in New York". Rollingstone Magazine. March 7, 2009. Archived from the original on July 25, 2009.
  12. ^ "Whitney Houston Premieres New Album In London". Billboard Magazine. July 14, 2009.
  13. ^ "New Music Releases, Music Reviews, Album Releases & Song Releases". Billboard.com. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
  14. ^ a b Whitney Houston: I Look To You: Amazon.co.uk MP3 Downloads
  15. ^ a b I Look To You Remixes: Whitney Houston: Amazon.co.uk: MP3 Downloads
  16. ^ "Adult R&B Songs & Music Chart". Billboard. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  17. ^ "Whitney Houston – I Look To You" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  18. ^ "Whitney Houston – I Look To You" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  19. ^ "Whitney Houston – I Look To You" (in French). Ultratip.
  20. ^ "Brazil Hot 100 Airplay". Billboard Brazil (in Portuguese). Brazil: Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 79 (2). April 1, 2010.
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  22. ^ "Whitney Houston – I Look To You" (in French). Les classement single.
  23. ^ "Houston, Whitney – I Look To You" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  24. ^ "Whitney Houston Chart History (Japan Hot 100)". Billboard.
  25. ^ "Whitney Houston – I Look To You" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  26. ^ "Whitney Houston – I Look To You". Singles Top 100.
  27. ^ "Whitney Houston – I Look To You". Swiss Singles Chart.
  28. ^ CHART LOG UK: NEW ENTRIES UPDATE - 31.10.2009 (wk43)
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  31. ^ "Whitney Houston Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
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  33. ^ a b "Whitney Houston Chart History: Gospel Streaming Songs". billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  34. ^ "Gospel Digital Songs: Week of January 31, 2015". billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media. 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  35. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs – Year-End 2009". Billboard. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
  36. ^ "R&R :: Going For Adds :: CHR/Top 40". Radio & Records. August 8, 2009. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
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  38. ^ I Look to You/Million Dollar Bill: Amazon.de: Musik
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  40. ^ Winners of the 41st NAACP Image Awards Announced - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers
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  43. ^ "I Look To You: Whitney Houston & R. Kelly: Amazon.co.uk: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  44. ^ Winners of the 41st NAACP Image Awards Announced - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers