Studio Time with…Deborah Cox

Deborah Cox is no one-dimensional singer. she’s a mom, a lover of family, an eclectic gal and human rights advocate. Her grand motif vocal range is electrifying. She has traveled the world as both singer and actor; stacked up six top 20 Billboard R&B singles, and registered eleven #1 hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart.

And who can forget Cox’s moving performance as the lead in Aida?

Cox is currently in the studio recording her seventh studio album, not yet titled. It’s a piece of work she describes as, “melody driven and soulful. ”We caught up with the songbird during a break and she shares her world with in a candid interview where she talks about the doors opened for her, and whether she’s ever been accused of purposely “out-singing” a peer onstage. We even get all up in her closet. Check it out below:

At the Mcdonald’s 365 Black Awards you recently sang a tribute to Gladys Knight with Angie Stone and Yolanda Adams. Gladys Knight fought a hard battle, so folks could take her seriously as a Black woman singer coming into stardom when racism was at its highest point. Have her struggles then made it easier for you as a singer today?  

COX: I absolutely believe Gladys made it easier for my peers and myself. It’s important to pay homage and recognize the struggles and adversities that artists before us endured. I have not had to deal with what she has had to deal with, thank God. Gladys made it easier for me because I’ve been able to make moves musically in a shorter time than it might have taken artists back in the day. Chaka Khan and Tina Turner both endured the same type of struggles as Gladys. Many opportunities come to me as a result of these women fighting to be heard and taken serious as Black women singers.

Back in the day Patti Labelle was often accused by other singers of upstaging their performance during tributes or recordings because of her strong pipes. You have powerful vocals! Have you ever been accused of trying to out-sing another singer?

COX: I’ve never been accused of out-singing anyone to my face. I’m a team player when it comes to singing with other singers. I really respect the other performers that I’m on stage with whether it’s Yolanda Adams, Angie Stone or any other singer. I have respect, admiration and camaraderie for other artists and Black women that are in this game.

You recently joined Cher for an exclusive performance during a Gay Pride Week in New York City. Why do you appeal so much to the gay community?

COX: The gay community embraced me very early in my career. The LGBT community often loves women with big voices. I address bullying and issues with not fitting in, those are issues they can relate to. Back in the day, I might have had to perform in some secret location because everything was so taboo. Cher and I both had a celebration! We’re for human rights!

Would you support an openly gay son or daughter in a gay marriage?

COX: Oh absolutely! For me, it’s always been about love. It’s never been about judgment. Our society has to come to terms with the fact that people are people, love is love and we have to accept each other just the way we are. We should all be respected for who we are and what we bring to the world.

You wore that Roberto Cavalli citronelle-print Dress really well at the opening night party for A Trip To Bountiful. Other designers who tickle your fancy?

COX: I love Marc Bouwer. His dramatic pieces for the stage are beautiful. I love Dolce and Gabbana. I love Donna Karan. It’s always amazing to pull out a Cavalli print. I’m a big lover of print. I tend to flock to designers who I can just go into the showroom and put the outfit on without worrying about any alterations. Cavalli is always number one.

If you contemplated approaching some artists to do a collaboration on the seventh studio album you’re currently working on, which artists would you approach?

COX: The song would have to be a duet. I like Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, and Charlie Wilson. I would love to work with Prince! And you know, I’ve always enjoyed Jazmine Sullivan’s music.

Jazmine Sullivan is a great vocalist, but she doesn’t receive the shine she deserves. 

COX: I know.

You always bring surprises when new music from you arrives. Our JET readers want to know what is the vibe on this new seventh studio album you’re recording?

COX: A club component will be on the CD, though this project will be very melody driven and soulful. I’m still putting together the songs as we speak. It usually shapes itself by the sixth song. That’s all I can share right now. [Giggles]

Quassan Castro is a news and entertainment journalist. Follow him on Twitter @Quassan.