From her early days as a backup singer for Celine Dion, Deborah Cox has gone on to record chart- topping hits like Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here as well as star on the screen and stage. The Grammy-Award nominated, multi-platinum R&B/Pop recording artist and actress recently blew the roof off theatres as she starred as Rachel Maron in the musical The Bodyguard, a role originally played by Whitney Houston. Deborah made her Broadway debut in the leading role in Elton John and Time Rice’s musical Aida. She’s also starred as Lucy in the revival of the hit Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde and the legendary Josephine Baker in Josephine.
The soulful singer is set to lend her voice (in more ways than one) to the life-changing work of Operation Smile on Saturday, November 16 at the Belle Haven Club. (operationsmile.org/events/2019-smile-greenwich-event for tickets) The evening is a fun night of mixing, mingling and of course, dancing.
We caught up with Deborah in anticipation of her Greenwich debut.
GM: The Smile Greenwich benefit will raise funds for children around the world impacted by facial malformations. How is being part of this evening meaningful to you?
DC: It means everything to me to be there to support this organization and all of their incredible work. When it comes to helping children find their confidence and their self-esteem, it’s a blessing to know that I can help empower these young kids. Using my God given talent to raise more awareness is humbling to me. This is the kind of work I dream of doing. I’m more interested, inspired and motivated by doing something for someone else.
GM: In addition to your recording career, you’ve starred in films and on Broadway, what’s it like making the transition in these genres?
DC: It wasn’t much of a transition because I started out doing musicals. It’s another way of expressing myself and it’s an outlet. Broadway can be very challenging but I live for a challenge. It requires a high level of self-discipline. When I got the opportunity to star in Aida it all came full circle for me.
GM: You collaborated with the great Whitney Houston. Can you tell us a little about the time you spent with her?
DC: I would spend a lot of time with Whitney when she lived in Miami. She was the one who inspired me growing up and she emphasized the importance of family. I believe if I didn’t follow that advice I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today. Recording with her, and spending time with her, was one of the best moments of my life. After that session I felt like if I never recorded anything again I’d be good.
GM: You recorded all of Whitney Houston’s songs for the Angela Bassett-directed film, Whitney and also played Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard on Broadway. What was it like to perform the iconic singer’s music?
DC: When Angela called me to do the music for that movie I knew the level of excellence that would be required, after all, we’re talking about Whitney! I wanted to put my best foot forward and I wanted it to be great. I knew that we needed to capture the essence of her voice. So we went in and Angela was there directing me in studio every step of the way. I’m forever grateful.
GM: When we see you in Greenwich, what are going to be some of your must-play songs for the night?
DC: I’ll be doing the classic R&B and dance gems like, Nobody Supposed to Be Here, Things Just Ain’t the Same, Absolutely Not, and other favorites like I Wanna Dance with Somebody.
GM: What’s next for you and your career?
DC: I’m finishing up my album that will be out next spring. My new single comes out November 1 and my movie Influence that I shot will be out in the spring of 2020 as well.