R&B SINGER DEBORAH COX performed at the Greer Cabaret Theater, Downtown, Oct. 14. (Photo by J.L. Martello)
by Tene Croom, For New Pittsburgh Courier
She entered the room singing “La Vie en Rose,” a popular love song first performed in the 1940s by Edith Piaf, one of France’s greatest international stars.
Before going onto the stage, she sang while strolling by tables much like a chanteuse of bygone days, providing the audience a glimpse of the nightlife from a club or cafe along the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
“This show is sort of revealing,” she told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “It takes me outside of what people have seen before. I’m excited about that and a little scared because revealing is a scary place to be.”
Deborah Cox, the Canadian-born singer, the Grammy Award-nominated vocalist, her songs so synonymous with the mid-1990s to today; she opened the Trust Cabaret Series’ eighth season on Oct. 14, Downtown Pittsburgh. The Trust Cabaret Series is an intimate concert setting held oftentimes inside the Greer Cabaret Theater, 655 Penn Ave.
The show put her vast vocal range on full display and she admitted that it gave her a bit of trepidation.
Richard Jay Alexander, director of the Oct. 14 show, said he was blown away by her work, revealing they had never met before until they were getting ready for this tour.
“I was totally enchanted. I loved her story,” he told the Courier in an exclusive interview. “I loved the fact that she was a mom. I loved the fact that she was so beautiful. I loved the fact that her vocal gifts were totally intact. It’s really become a collaboration and I’m really proud of it.”
The powerhouse singer’s selections throughout the evening included her hit song, “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here,” along with “Easy As Life,” from her appearance on Broadway as Nubia in the acclaimed musical, “Aida.” She also sang “Strange Fruit,” and a song for her and other children, “Best Day Ever,” from the popular Nickelodeon animated series SpongeBob SquarePants.
The 45-year-old Cox began her entertainment career when she was a teenager as a backup singer for superstar singer Celine Dion, also a Canadian.
“That was an amazing experience. She was one of the most disciplined artists that I had ever worked with in the sense that she would always take care of her voice,” Cox said. “She was disciplined about how much she spoke before a show. Now as a performer myself, I implement some of those same things.”
Cox’s first album, entitled “Deborah Cox” and released in 1995, featured two well-known singles, “Sentimental” and “Who Do You Love.” Three years later, her second album, “One Wish,” was released, which featured the aforementioned “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here” and another big hit, “We Can’t Be Friends,” featuring R.L. from the group, Next.
Cox has since released three more albums.
Cox won the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award in 1999 for Best R&B Song of the Year (“Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here”).
In 1996, Cox was nominated for an American Music Award for favorite new artist in the soul/R&B category. In 2008, she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical (“Destination Moon”).
Cox and her high school sweetheart and manager, Lascelles Stephens, live in Florida with their three children.
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