By dictionary definition, Deborah Cox is an icon. We didn’t need one to tell us that. She went from backup vocalist to multi-faceted superstar thanks to her faith, authenticity, and intuition. The Canadian recording artist, Broadway star, television, film actress, and LGBTQ activist can do it all with astonishing grace. And now, she’s making history as the first Black woman inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Deborah Cox is a Canadian singer-songwriter specializing in Pop, House, R&B, and Soul. She began singing for TV advertisements at the age of 12 and, with the support of her mother, participated in numerous talent events. She began performing in nightclubs at the same time she began writing music. Deborah Cox debuted in the music profession in the early 1990s, spending six months as a backup vocalist for Celine Dion.
The Steady Rise of Her Career
Clive Davis, a label executive, signed Deborah Cox to Arista Records in 1995, and she released her self-titled debut album the same year. The album was a mixed commercial and critical success, peaking at number 102 on the US Billboard 200 but proving to be a consistent seller, earning gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and platinum in Canada. Deborah Cox won a Juno Award for Best R&B/Soul Recording in 1996, and she also received a nomination for Best Soul/R&B New Artist at the 1996 American Music Awards.
In 1998, Deborah Cox released her second album, One Wish. It peaked at number 72 on the Billboard 200 and earned a platinum certification from the RIAA while reaching gold status in Canada. For nearly eight years, the album’s lead single, “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” held the longest-running number-one single on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart (14 weeks).
Following One Wish, Deborah Cox collaborated with Whitney Houston on her track “Same Script, Different Cast” from the Whitney: The Greatest Hits compilation album. In addition, Deborah Cox made her acting debut in the Canadian drama film Love Come Down, directed by Clement Virgo, in which she played a nightclub singer. At the 21st Genie Awards, the film received eight nominations, including two Best Original Song nominations for Deborah Cox’s songs “29” and “Our Love.”
After a painfully long separation from Arista, Deborah Cox’s third album, The Morning After, was released in November 2002 on J Records. It was her highest-charting album on the US Billboard 200 and Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, debuting at number 38 and peaking at number seven, respectively. It was a mix of urban R&B and adult contemporary songs with more dance/house music.
Deborah Cox recorded her fourth album, Destination Moon, between 2005 and 2006, with Rob Mounsey arranging and producing it. Deborah Cox described the album as a concept album that she had been planning for years. In the same year, Deborah Cox finished production on her sixth studio album, The Promise, released on November 11, 2008, through Deco Recording Group, Deborah Cox’s independent label. It was a departure from her last album in that it marked her return to R&B music and saw her collaborate with a larger group of songwriters and producers.
Recent and Personal Life
She performed at Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019 in June 2019. Five months after that, Deborah Cox released the Rico Love-produced track “Easy Way” through Deco Entertainment. The song was supposed to be the lead single from her seventh studio album. Then, in 2022, news came out about her induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. In a press release, she said, “I feel incredibly grateful to experience this true milestone moment.” Deborah Cox is now living in Miami, Florida, married to her high school sweetheart and manager, Lascelles Stephens.