Deborah Cox Returns to Orlando for GayDays

Dance-club diva Deborah Cox is comfortable performing in just about any environment, from huge concert halls, sweaty underground clubs to Broadway. From her mega-hit “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here” to the equally empowering “Absolutely Not,” Deborah has always embraced dance music and club life, even performing on a number of gay cruises.

Between 1998 and 2006, Cox held the record for the longest-running number one single on the Billboard charts for “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here.” To date, she has garnered 10 number one singles, firmly established herself as a key pioneer in contemporary dance music and cementing the Canadian singer into R&B and Dance music history.

In 2008, Cox and her husband, Lascelles Stephens, created the Deco Recording Group, an independent label that is distributed through Image Entertainment. The venture’s first release was The Promise, Cox’s fifth studio album.

Cox is currently preparing to return to Broadway, playing iconic American performer Josephine Baker, who became famous in 1930s France as a singer, dancer and actor who later became a civil rights activist in the U.S. Cox made her Broadway debut as the lead role in the musical Aida, which was written by Elton John.

The cultivated chanteuse now resides in Miami with her husband and three children, where she managed to squeeze some time out of her busy rehearsal and tour schedule for an interview with Watermark. Cox will appear Saturday, June 4, as one of the premiere performers for Evolve, a fundraiser by and for Come Out With Pride during GayDays®. This incredible three night event also features Kelly Rowland, DJ Eddie Baez, DJ Escape and the girls from Ru Paul’s Drag Race at Mr. Sisters in Orlando.

ERIK RAYMOND: This won’t be your first time in Orlando. You performed at Orlando’s Parliament House during GayDays in 2007 and 2009. What should your fans expect this time around?
DEBORAH COX: Glad to be back in Orlando! As usual, they should expect a high energy show full of all the favorites.

You’re obviously well aware of your legions of gay fans. What do you attribute your ”gay icon” status to?
[I have] nothing but love for all of my gay fans! I’ve never considered myself to be an “icon” per se, but I am blessed that my music has touched people in such a powerful way. I love to perform and the energy in the clubs and at the LGBT Pride festivals cannot be matched!

Who are some your favorite ”gay icons” in the music world?
I grew up listening to Madonna and she is definitely one of my favorites. I respect her artistic approach and I have many memories through her music.

You’ve reached out to the LGBT community by performing on an Atlantis Cruise. How was that and was there any gay drama?
Gay? Drama? [Laughs] I love performing on the Atlantis Cruises! That particular performance was memorable because the cruise ship was gigantic! There is always positive energy with the Atlantis folks. [It was] a great party!

You’ve done both Broadway and studio recording. Did you find it difficult to go from being a recording artist to a Broadway performer?
I have always had a passion for live performance and grew up performing in front of all types of crowds and singing all types of music. For me, the difficulty is more balancing the two and switching focus from my personal creative process to that of becoming a character. I enjoy both processes for different reasons but they each are a big part of who I am as an artist.

Any plans to return to the Great White Way?
[I’m] in workshop now developing the role of Josephine Baker for a debut most likely in the fall.

You’ve been happily married to your high-school sweetheart for years now. However, you’re known for your heartbreak and empowerment songs. It’s as if you’ve gone or are going through it yourself. Where does your inspiration come from?
It’s funny because I get asked this question often. Yes, I am very happily married and blessed to have an amazing, supportive husband. But over the years I have had many close friends and family members go through some difficult times and it often inspires me to create music to express what they are going through.

It’s been 3 years since your last solo album. Do you have plans to put out a new record in the near future?
Yes! Between appearances and performances I am constantly in the studio creating new music. You will be hearing new music very soon!

Back in 2009, you were part of the super group, The Queen Project. What has happened since?
It was great to bring together three amazingly talented women and have an opportunity to perform and create together. Unfortunately, when you have such talent it gets difficult with personal careers and commitments and family, etc., to keep everyone’s schedule open to accommodate the project. We’re hoping there will be a chance to perform together again, but we are each focusing on our own careers right now.

Besides an obviously busy tour schedule, what projects are you working on now?
Besides staying committed to the workshop for ”Josephine,” I continue to partner with several charities. I’m also putting a new album together and finding time to be a wife and a mother as well!



*Originally published in Watermark