Deborah Cox has thus far had a very talented and diverse career. As a platinum recording artist, she has held the record for longest single (R&B) on Billboard (14 weeks in a row), has been cast in Elton John’s Aida on Broadway and has appeared in films as well. With her brand-new, super pumped and addictive single released December 1, her career is about to become even hotter!
Cox was also selected to portray the voice of Whitney Houston in the Lifetime biopic about Whitney, which is a great honor and tribute, airing on January 17.
Your new single is amazing!
Thank you, awesome. I’ve kind of had a lot of pots on different burners, so to get this kind of feedback from this single is really great. I love the Panda mix. I really love the Wasteland mix; it’s more for the EDM crowd. Another one of my favorites is the Tom Stephan mix, and we’ve gotten great other remixes that I think people will enjoy too.
I think it was last year you had another single.
Are you talking about “Higher,” maybe?
Yeah, it was out last year.
Do you have plans in the near future of perhaps combining some of your singles and doing an album?
Yeah, well, I’ve thought about that. I’ve talked to my team about that. I think that will be maybe a separate issue or conversation, only because there are so many different versions of songs that tend to be people’s favorites. In Europe there’ll be a certain mix that they’ll want to hear, or if I’m doing a show on the West Coast or here on the East Coast it’s different. So everyone’s taste is different. We have thought about that, but we haven’t confirmed anything.
You also have a bunch of kids?
I do; I have my hands quite full. It’s like “The Matrix.” It’s crazy how you’re in one world and life kicks in, and then, you know, with work, trying to be creative—just so many different mindsets that are completely different.
And how do you juggle that?
You know, I don’t. I just learned the tricks of different worlds all happening at the same time. I know that the world of music and recording and production—I have to put that head on. It’s usually late at night, but then I got to put on the mommy head, and I gotta get up at six in the morning and make sure that the kiddies are off to school. So it’s crazy! It’s…crazy! I get my sleep when I’m on the road. Lots of coffee.
So I understand that you are going to do the voice of Whitney Houston for Lifetime’s “I’ll Always Love You,” a biopic of Whitney.
Yes. The movie comes January 17, and that was one of those things that I felt was amazing. I felt like a tribute to her. I got the call from Angela Bassett and Dick Rudolph—he’s the musical supervisor. He mentioned the songs that they were planning on doing, and, you know, I made it happen. I just tried to capture the essence of her that she brought to the music.
Well, I think you’re a wonderful choice. That had to be a bit intimidating.
A little bit, yeah. I knew that there was going to be a lot of controversy. I knew that there would be a lot of judgment. But I’m not here to be “her”; I’m not trying to replace her. There is only one Whitney Houston, and again, I was telling a story that Angela directed, and my performance was very, very focused on telling the story.
What songs did you get to sing?
“I Will Always Love You,” “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “Greatest Love of All.”
Were you nervous?
I was a little bit, but again, I was just kind of in the mind frame of just making sure the tonality of my voice was as close to the essence of her as possible. So I tried not to let that take over.
So you’re originally from Canada.
Originally from Toronto, yes.
You must love Florida!
I love Florida, yes.
What or who inspired you as a child?
Lots of things: pop music, whatever was popular. Of course Whitney, the Eurythmics. I listened to a lot of soul as well, Aretha Franklin, the pop world. I loved great, great songs and singers with big voices like Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan. It depended on what I was sort of listening to in school at the time, because music was just—you heard different styles on the radio stations. You heard rock, you heard pop, you heard a little bit of up-tempo things. You heard reggae. I’ve always been the type that paid more attention to the song, not what was popular.
As you were growing up, did you picture your life to be what it is now?
I knew I wanted this career in music, and I knew that I always saw myself touring and on stage, yeah. I never thought I’d be in Florida though.
You have done a lot of things: You’re a recording artist, an actress, you’ve been on Broadway, in films, you’re a mom. Is there anything you haven’t done that you’d still like to achieve?
I’d love to do more films. I love movies, so movie making is something I’d like to get into more of. But I feel very blessed that I’ve been able to do a little bit of everything. I focus on longevity, which means being very selective with some of the projects that I do and get involved in. So I’ve been very blessed, blessed and lucky with hard work. It all paid off.
If your life were a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
OMG, it would be a mash up of “I’m Every Woman” to Rihanna’s “Monster”! That’s what it would be.
Do you have a favorite role that you’ve played?
Oh, Broadway it would have to be – that’s tough. I want to say Aida was my favorite. I mean, I loved it. It’s a horrible question, because each project, each part – it’s difficult. But I liked Aida so much because of, well, the story, the music, the way the story was told, and it was my first. So, yeah, I’d have to say Aida.
If you could pick two celebrities to be your parents, which two would you choose?
Two celebrities to be my parents, wow, that’s a hard question. OK, let me think. Probably Marvin Gaye to be my father, and for my mother, you really stumped me. Maybe Diana Ross.
I like that choice.
Yeah, because she’s like glamorous, but she’s still very nurturing. … I feel like I wouldn’t have been lost in her career as some celebrity moms can do.
I like her as your mom. Now, what do you think about when you’re driving alone in your car?
Usually just trying to get to the destination without…I really hate driving when I have a lot of stuff to do. I like to be driven.
You go girl!
Yeah, I prefer to be driven. I usually have a ton of things on my mind. Like you, I’m juggling and still sorta trying to keep up with everything, making sure I’m on top of the kids’ schedule, my own schedule, managing the home.
What are your children’s names?
My children’s names are Isaiah, Sumayah and Kaila.
What would you want your fans to know about you?
What don’t they know? That’s always tough, cause I never know what the fans know and what they don’t know. You know what I mean. That I’m a pretty easy going person. I love to have a great time. I love to dance. I’m very light-hearted and funny. I think a lot of the things that people have seen have been on the serious side, I think, maybe, but I’m actually much goofier and much more fun in person, and slightly reserved.