Connect with us

Music & Concerts

Deborah Cox anxious to reconnect with local gay fans

Singer, actress to perform at Town next weekend



R&B sensation Deborah Cox will perform at Town next weekend as part of Cherry Weekend. (Copyright 2010, Deco Entertainment. All rights reserved)

Many young, up-and-coming musical sensations get their start thanks to overzealous parents forcing them into the industry. Not so for chart-topping singer and actress Deborah Cox. Her interest in the business came from a genuine love of music.

Cox was born in Scarborough, Toronto, and she was singing in TV commercials at age 12 and performing in talent shows. In her teens, Cox began performing in nightclubs and was writing her own music. For a short period of time in the early 1990s, Cox continued her musical career as a backup vocalist for Celine Dion. In 1994, she realized that to advance her career, she would need to move to Los Angeles with her producer/songwriting partner, Lascelles Stephens.

The legendary Clive Davis signed her to Arista Records in 1995 and she released her self-titled debut album that year. It wasn’t until 1998 that the release of her album “One Wish” brought Cox huge pop success with the release of the album’s first single “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here.” The song spent 14 weeks at #1 on the Hot R&B charts in the U.S., as well as eight consecutive weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album went platinum, becoming Cox’s biggest-selling album to date.

Deborah Cox has enjoyed a career that has produced multiple chart-topping hits and a Broadway debut in the Elton John-Tim Rice musical “AIDA” in 2004. In addition, she has shown her commitment to her gay fans as part of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors Tour” in 2008 and she performed at last year’s Delaware Pride celebration in Rehoboth. Cox will be making a not-to-be missed appearance at Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th St., N.W., for the Cherry Fund sanctioned event “Town Presents Deborah Cox w/ DJ Ed Bailey” on April 10. The event starts at 9 p.m. with an entry fee of $25 and the event is for ages 21 and over.

The DC Agenda talked to Cox about her career and her musical influences.

DC Agenda: You started your career at age 12. What was the pressure like starting at such a young age?

Deborah Cox: I don’t remember there being much pressure. When I started, I was having a lot of fun, working with a lot of great people. I always found the business part to be the most challenging; like when it came time to find people to represent me, it was about finding people to trust, who had the same vision. Fortunately, I found those people at an early age and I was able to move forward.

DC Agenda: You began writing music as a teenager. What was your source of inspiration?

Cox: I have always listened to a lot of different artists. I have been greatly influenced by gospel music and artists like Yolanda Adams, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston. Those were the ones who really stood out in my mind; they really provided inspiration.

DC Agenda: What was your impression of Los Angeles having moved from Canada to pursue your career?

Cox: My initial impression of Los Angeles was that everybody was really nice. It wasn’t a genuine nice though, it was the kind of nice that you could tell there was a motive behind it. Friendly with a motive you could say. Fortunately, I was able to sift through everyone and find the real genuine people. Now that I’m away from L.A., I have so many friends I miss back there, and some great memories of the city.

DC Agenda: What was your impression of the legendary Clive Davis and how were you treated by Arista Records?

Cox: To me it was like the law of attraction. Throughout my career, so many things have happened to me based on what I’ve focused on, what I believe in, so teaming up with Clive Davis on the first go around made perfect sense. My mentor growing up was Whitney Houston and I believed so much in her talent, her gift and her voice; Clive must have heard something similar in me as he did with Whitney. Clive is a consummate song man; he lives for the music, and is totally driven by the people and vocalists that he loves. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn a lot of this business from him.

DC Agenda: “Beautiful U R” peaked at #3 on the Canadian Hot AC Chart in January 2009 and hit #1 on the U.S. dance chart, becoming your 10th song to do so. It included lyrics such as, “It takes time/Don’t have all the answers/No matter how hard it gets/Hold on to what’s inside” and “Don’t never let nobody tear your world apart/Look in the mirror and see who you are/Beautiful U R.” Why do you think the song proved so popular?

Cox: I think “Beautiful U R” was one of those songs that really resonated with the core of women. It came from the perspective that I’ve felt for a long time that during hard times you sometimes need to lean on yourself, and try and find a way through any negativity going on and really love yourself no matter what. You can’t wait for validation from the world, and that is hard sometimes for women because we are expected to do and be so much for so many people that at times we forget about ourselves. I also believe “Beautiful U R” branched off beyond women and spoke to everybody. Anyone can find a song that they can totally relate to.

DC Agenda: What projects are you working on now?

Cox: I’m currently working on my new album and I’m also preparing to be on Broadway in the role of Josephine Baker in “JOSEPHINE.”

DC Agenda: You made your Broadway debut in the Elton John-Tim Rice musical “AIDA.” What was that experience like?

Cox: I’ve been a fan of Elton John’s music for a long time; I love his songs, the lyrics and music. Elton has had a very colorful career, and I think his music is very diverse. I’ve always clung to artists who have an amazing time being very diverse, and Elton definitely is. Playing the role of Aida was definitely the opportunity of a lifetime because the songs are just so moving and I felt a lot of passion singing them.

DC Agenda: You will be appearing in D.C. at Town Danceboutique. What should your fans expect?

Cox: It’s definitely going to be high energy. I haven’t been to D.C. in a while so it’s going to be really exciting to see all my fans and reconnect with all of them. I really do love my fans so it is so exciting to get to connect one on one. I get such an adrenaline rush from performing in front of an audience, so I can’t wait to be back in D.C.

Deborah Cox lives in Miami. She is married to her manager, Lascelles Stephens. They have three children, Isaiah, Sumayah and Kaila Michelle.

Cherry Weekend event schedule

Cherry Weekend, the annual charitable lineup of gay parties and other events, arrives next week and runs from April 8-11. For full details and to purchase tickets, visit Events benefit HIV/AIDS youth service organizations. Full coverage in next week’s DC Agenda.

A partial schedule of events:

April 8: Opening party with DJ Jason Royce at Mova, 1435 P St., N.W., 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Admission is free, 21+

April 9: Dark Cherry emceed by Tim Woody at EFN Lounge, 1318 9th St., N.W., 5:30-9:30 p.m. 21+

April 9: Friday Night Party w/ DJ Alyson Calagna and opening DJ Jason Horswill at Apex, 1415 22nd St., N.W., 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Cover is $11; 18+
April 10: Moody Mia (Moody’s Birthday Party) with Joe Gauthreaux at Town, 2009 8th St., N.W., 2-7 p.m. 21+

April 10: Town Presents Deborah Cox with DJ Ed Bailey at Town, 2009 8th St., N.W., 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Cover is $25, 21+

April 11: Sunday Morning Party with DJ Susan Morabito at Cobalt, 1639 R St., N.W., 4:30-9:30 a.m. Cover is $15, 21+
April 11: Sunday Closing Party with DJ Abel and opening DJ tim e at Town, 2009 8th St., N.W., 8:30-1:30 a.m. Cover is $20, 21+


Music & Concerts

Musical icons and newer stars to rock D.C. this spring

Brandi Carlile, Bad Bunny, Nicki Minaj, and more headed our way



Brandi Carlile plays the Anthem this month.

Bands and solo artists of all different genres are visiting D.C. this spring. Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will team up to perform at the Wolf Trap in June, and girl in red will play at the Anthem in April. Some artists and bands aren’t paying a visit until the summer, like Janet Jackson and Usher, but there are still plenty of acts to see as the weather warms up. 


Brandi Carlile plays at the Anthem on March 21; Arlo Parks will perform at 9:30 Club on March 23; Girlschool will take the stage at Blackcat on March 28.


Nicki Minaj stops in D.C. at Capital One Arena as part of her North American tour on April 1; Bad Bunny plays at Capital One Arena on April 9 as part of his Most Wanted tour; girl in red performs at the Anthem on April 20 and 21; Brandy Clark plays at the Birchmere on April 25; Laufey comes to town to play at the Anthem on April 25 and 26. 


Belle and Sebastian play at the Anthem on May 2; Chastity Belt performs at Blackcat on May 4; Madeleine Peyroux stops at the Birchmere on May 5; The Decemberists play at the Anthem on May 10; the rock band Mannequin Pussy performs at the Atlantis on May 17 and 18; Hozier plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on May 17 as part of the Unreal Unearth tour. 


Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will sing soulful melodies at Wolf Trap on June 8; Joe Jackson performs at the Lincoln Theatre on June 10; the Pixies and Modest Mouse are teaming up to play at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 14; Maggie Rogers plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 16 as part of The Don’t Forget Me tour; Brittany Howard headlines the Out & About Festival at Wolf Trap on June 22; Sarah McLachlan plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 27; Alanis Morissette performs at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 29 and 30

Continue Reading

Music & Concerts

Grammys: Queer women and their sisters took down the house

Taylor Swift won Album of the Year



When the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked when there will be enough women on the Supreme Court, her answer was simple: Nine. She stated: “I say when there are nine, people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” RBG did not attend the Grammy’s last night, but her spirit sure did. Women, at long last, dominated, ruled and killed the night.

Cher, in song a decade ago, declared that “this is a woman’s world,” but there was little evidence that was true, Grammy, and entertainment awards, speaking. In 2018, the Grammys were heavily criticized for lack of female representation across all categories and organizers’ response was for women to “step up.”

Be careful what you wish for boys.

The biggest star of the 2024 Grammys was the collective power of women. They made history, they claimed legacy and they danced and lip sang to each other’s work. Standing victorious was Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, SZA (the most nominated person of the year), Lainey Wilson, Karol G, boygenius, Kylie Minogue and Victoria Monét. Oh, yes, and powerhouse Taylor Swift, the superstar from whom Fox News cowers in fear, made history to become the first performer of any gender to win four Best Album of the Year trophies.

In the throng of these powerful women stand a number of both LGBTQ advocates and queer identifying artists. Cyrus has identified as pansexual, SZA has said lesbian rumors “ain’t wrong,” Phoebe Bridgers (winner of four trophies during the night, most of any artist) is lesbian, Monét is bi and Eilish likes women but doesn’t want to talk about it. Plus, ask any queer person about Swift or Minogue and you are likely to get a love-gush.

Women power was not just owned by the lady award winners. There were the ladies and then there were the Legends. The first Legend to appear was a surprise. Country singer Luke Combs has a cross-generational hit this year with a cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” When originally released, the song was embraced as a lesbian anthem. When performing “Fast Car,” surprise, there was Chapman herself, singing the duet with Combs. The rendition was stunning, sentimental and historic.

Chapman, like many of the night’s female dignitaries, has not been public with her sexuality. Author Alice Walker has spoken of the two of them being lovers, however.

The legend among legends of the night, however, was the one and only Joni Mitchell. Not gay herself, she embodies the concept of an LGBTQ icon, and was accompanied by the very out Brandi Carlile on stage. On her website, Mitchell’s statement to the LGBTQ community reads, “The trick is if you listen to that music and you see me, you’re not getting anything out of it. If you listen to that music and you see yourself, it will probably make you cry and you’ll learn something about yourself and now you’re getting something out of it.”

Mitchell performed her longtime classic “Both Sides Now.” The emotion, insight and delivery from the now 80-year old artist, survivor of an aneurism, was nothing short of profound. (To fully appreciate the nuance time can bring, check out the YouTube video of a Swift lookalike Mitchell singing the same song to Mama Cass and Mary Travers in 1969.) In this latest rendition, Mitchell clearly had an impact on Meryl Streep who was sitting in the audience. Talk about the arc of female talent and power.

That arc extended from a today’s lady, Cyrus, to legend Celine Dion as well. Cyrus declared Dion as one of her icons and inspirations early in the evening. Dion appeared, graceful and looking healthy, to present the final, and historic, award of the night at the end of the show.

Legends did not even need to be living to have had an effect on the night. Tributes to Tina Turner and Sinead O’Conner by Oprah, Fantasia Barrino-Taylor and Annie Lennox respectively, proved that not even death could stop these women. As Lennox has musically and famously put it, “Sisters are doing it for themselves.”

Even the content of performances by today’s legends-in-the-making spoke to feminine power. Eilish was honored for, and performed “What Was I Made For?,” a haunting and searching song that speaks to the soul of womanhood and redefinition in today’s fight for gender rights and expression, while Dua Lipa laid down the gauntlet for mind blowing performance with her rendition of “Houdini” at the top of the show, Cyrus asserted the power of her anthem “Flowers” and pretty much stole the show.

Cyrus had not performed the song on television before, and only three times publicly. She declared in her intro that she was thrilled over the business numbers the song garnered, but she refused to let them define her. As she sang the hit, she scolded the audience, “you guys act like you don’t know the words to this song.” Soon the woman power of the room was singing along with her, from Swift to Oprah.

They can buy themselves flowers from now on. They don’t need anyone else. Cyrus made that point with the mic drop to cap all mic drops, “And I just won my first Grammy!” she declared as she danced off stage.

Even the squirmiest moment of the night still did not diminish the light of women power, and in fact, underscored it. During his acceptance of the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z had a bone to pick with the Grammy voters. He called out the irony that his wife Beyoncé had won more Grammys than any other human, but had never won the Best Album of the Year. Yeah, what’s with that?

But then, it brought additional context ultimately to the fact that the winner of the most Grammys individually … is a woman. And to the fact that the winner of the most Best Album of the Year awards … is a woman.

Hopefully this was the night that the Grammys “got it.” Women are the epicenter of The Creative Force.

Will the other entertainment awards get it soon as well? We can hope.

Most importantly, in a political world where women’s healthcare is under siege. Will the American voters get it?

A little known band named Little Mix put it this way in their 2019 song “A Woman’s World.”

“If you can’t see that it’s gotta change
Only want the body but not the brains
If you really think that’s the way it works
You ain’t lived in a woman’s world

Just look at how far that we’ve got
And don’t think that we’ll ever stop…”

From Grammy’s mouth to the world’s ear.

Continue Reading

Music & Concerts

Janet Jackson returning to D.C, Baltimore

‘Together Again Tour’ comes to Capital One Arena, CFG Bank Arena



Janet Jackson is coming back to D.C. this summer.

Pop icon Janet Jackson announced this week an extension of her 2023 “Together Again Tour.” A new leg of the tour will bring Jackson back to the area for two shows, one at D.C.’s Capital One Arena on Friday, July 12 and another at Baltimore’s CFG Bank Arena on Saturday, July 13.  

Tickets are on sale now via TicketMaster. LiveNation announced the 2023 leg of the tour consisted of 36 shows, each of which was sold out. The 2024 leg has 35 stops planned so far; R&B star Nelly will open for Jackson on the new leg. 

Jackson made the tour announcement Tuesday on social media: “Hey u guys! By popular demand, we’re bringing the Together Again Tour back to North America this summer with special guest Nelly! It’ll be so much fun!”

Continue Reading

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade