Deborah Cox: Hello?
MiddleChild: Hey Miss Deborah.
Deborah Cox: Hi. How are you?
MiddleChild: I'm good actually. How are things going with you?
Deborah Cox: Good. Good. Can't complain.
MiddleChild: That's good. I am real happy to be speaking with you right now. First of all let me tell you that I am happy you're back and how much I love "Did You Ever Love Me?". I swear I play it at least twice a day since I got it about three weeks or so ago.
Deborah Cox: (laughs)
MiddleChild: I'm serious. You definitely did your thing on that.
Deborah Cox: Thank you.
MiddleChild: Well it's been a minute. You're back and ready to drop your new album "The Promise". Tell me a little about the project.
Deborah Cox: The Promise. Well it's an album that's in the process for awhile, but I was finally able to sort of pick the ten best songs out of all of the songs that we've written over the past three years. I feel like this project out of all of the projects sounds closer to probably the first album. This album is really melody driven. The storylines are driven and inspired from of course my own personal life and also things friends and family members have been through. I wanted to make sure I came back to the base that embraced me from the beginning which is of course the R&B fans. I felt like I had been doing and singing in many different genres for a long time and I really missed singing the R&B, so that's probably in a nutshell how the album came about and why we're here now.
MiddleChild: Speaking of the first album, still to this day can be played heavy. There are some classic songs on that one. So you definitely came in the game and did your thing in that aspect. Now the major difference between your previous albums and this one is that this one is independent as far as the release, right?
Deborah Cox: Yea. Yea. It's on Deco Recordings.
MiddleChild: Okay. So how did you take the lessons you learned on your recordings for the major labels and focus that energy into this independent release?
Deborah Cox: Well I think that the business has changed a lot so the approach has to be different as well and I don't think the majors understand that. So it was important for me to make sure I could make that adjustment and I'm still navigating my way through it. So I feel like the online fans and my online fanbase want to make sure they have access to singles and videos and that type thing and there tends to be a lot of restrictions when you're with a major. You know? Like I said I'm still navigating my way through it. It's a whole different beast...the independent game, but it's really gratifying once you really cut through and you see the fruits of your labor right away. And there is not really much pressure. At least I don't feel like I have this pressure to appease people like I had to in the past. I was really involved with every aspect of this record from the artwork to the music to the art direction to the style. Again it's a lot of work, but it's work that I would have done anyway. I think the independent way to go is smarter. I'm doing music for the fans and if I can gain new fans along the way then that's great, but I ultimately want to please who have been there and have been supportive of me since day one.
MiddleChild: Well like you said the game has changed a lot since you surfaced, so what would you say has been the biggest adjustment or lesson that you have learned to keep up with the way times have changed?
Deborah Cox: The biggest adjustment I think is just learning how to micro-manage every aspect of the album. To make sure that...you know...being on top of the album packaging. Normally there are different departments, but like I said before I was involved with every aspect of it. It was very time consuming, but at the end of the day I am really happy with the results. I'm really happy with the way the project turned out and the way the songs were chosen. I have more control over how many mixes, what remixes I do, who does the remixes...all of those things were really important to me and I wanted to make sure I was involved with every aspect of it. Artists like Prince and artists like Ray Charles are artists who have inspired this type of move before. And rappers...even rappers. A lot of hip-hop artists, this was there way from the get go. They weren't getting any love from the mainstream so they were like okay, I'll just put it out myself. So it ended up being a win win situation. So I realize the value that I have in my brand and I wanted to make sure that I exploit it and that I expose it.
MiddleChild: Well I'm sure you recorded a great bulk of material because you said over the past three years. So how hard was it to only give us ten tracks for the album?
Deborah Cox: Oh, it's very hard. (both laugh) I'm sure you heard the saying where every song is like your baby. It's tough when you've written every song, but there were a lot of ballads. A lot of ballads and so some of the ballads had to go. I couldn't put all of them on the CD. In the end I feel like the songs that I played the most were the songs that ended up on the album, so I'm really happy with the decisions that were made on the songs that were kept.
MiddleChild: Seeing that all ten of those are most likely your favorites, tell me what song or songs are your favorite today?
Deborah Cox: Which songs are my favorites? That's a hard one. I think I would have to say "Beautiful U R", "Not In So Many Words", "All Over Me", "Beginning Of Me" and "Down For You". (laughs)
MiddleChild: So what other production or writing teams did you work with for the album?
Deborah Cox: I worked with Big Jim Wright, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Shep Crawford, Deebo Springstein, The Avea Brothers and John Legend wrote the title track.
MiddleChild: Oh wow. Which one of these teams pulled the most out of you as far as your artistry?
Deborah Cox: Well I've worked with Shep a long long time, so he kind of knows me inside and out. But I think as far as who pulled me in many directions I would have to say Big Jim and Jam and Lew. Like that camp really stretched me because you know there is so much they contribute to a song. It's not just the melody and the musical part, but there is the lyrics. They are amazing with lyrics. It's a very intimate process writing with other people, so you got to make sure that the people you're writing with that you're comfortable with. I felt like we stretched in many different directions in the course of the three years we had been writing together over the course of this project.
MiddleChild: That's what's up. Well before this album you released an album called "Destination Moon", which was more of a Jazz influenced album, right?
Deborah Cox: Yea. "Destination Moon" was a selfish project. That was something I had to get out of my system because I had wanted to do an album like that for many many years and it was never the right time or the label would have some sort of...you know I had to fulfill commitments...so there were a lot of things I had to get out of the way first before I could get to that project. So I'm glad that I did eventually.
MiddleChild: Well that was a different road to take because most artists would do a holiday album or a gospel album and you did Jazz. Since it was a self fulfilment type thing, how did that help you with this project?
Deborah Cox: Well it really opened me up to being fearless. I became even more fearless by doing that project because it was nonrestricting, it wasn't contrived, it wasn't anything that was predictable. It was a project that was full of classic songs and I wanted to make sure...Well I always make sure because I'm in this game for longevity. I want to be around like Tina Turner has been around. Like Aretha's been around...Gladys...and I think the reason for their longevity is because they did classic. So I always pride myself in that very fact that I can sing your classic jazz songs, but I can sing your classic R&B as well. I want to remain diverse, you know?
MiddleChild: Okay. Well I know you're going to be hitting the road and giving us a tour.
Deborah Cox: Absolutely!
MiddleChild: So say you do an all female tour, give me at least two or three other females you would love to hit the road with.
Deborah Cox: To hit the road with...well there is one side of me that would love to do something with like the legendary women like Gladys and Patti and Aretha..you know? I would love to do something with Whitney. But as far as the modern day women I would love to go out with like Brandy...maybe Toni Braxton. Jill Scott...India.Arie. I love her music as well. So it could be like a mini-soul tour or something. (laughs)
MiddleChild: Well we will see what we can do to make that happen...
Deborah Cox: Oh yea.
MiddleChild: Gotta make that happen.
Deborah Cox: Let's see if it's in the cosmos. (laughs)
MiddleChild: Yea. I know you're doing some shows now. You're actually hitting up New York this weekend and I know you're going to shut it down. Do you ever plan on blessing us with a live DVD?
Deborah Cox: Yes! Yes! See that's another thing that I've always wanted to do, but the politics wouldn't allow it. But absolutely. I'm hoping for that.
MiddleChild: I would love that. Well I usually like to ask my veterans what there favorite songs of their career has been. I'm sure you'll say you have more than three, but what are the three that you feel that you're so happy that you were able to record that song?
Deborah Cox: My three favorite albums or songs?
MiddleChild: Songs. Your top three songs.
Deborah Cox: My top three songs. Wow. You asking me these hard questions man!
MiddleChild: (both laugh) Well I have to make you think...
Deborah Cox: Well definitely "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here"....I've always loved "Sentimental"....and "The Morning After".
MiddleChild: I definitely love "The Morning After"..."Sound Of My Tears" is definitely a classic favorite...
Deborah Cox: Oh yea... SEE! (laughs)
MiddleChild: See! And I'll also have to mention "It's Over Now". I love that song.
Deborah Cox: Really?!
MiddleChild: Yep! Definitely one of my favorites by you.
Deborah Cox: Is it?! Wow!
MiddleChild: Yep. So be sure to add that to your setlist on tour.
Deborah Cox: (laughs) Okay.
MiddleChild: So the album is coming out November 11th.
Deborah Cox: Yes it is.
MiddleChild: "The Promise". So we'll definitely be looking out for that. Have you shot the video for your lead single yet?
Deborah Cox: Not yet, but we will be doing that in a couple of weeks.
MiddleChild: Okay. And just for clarification, the lead single is "Beautiful U R" or "Did You Ever Love Me"?
Deborah Cox: Well "Beautiful U R" is the release in Canada and "Did You Ever Love Me" is released in the US.
MiddleChild: Great choice. Well we're definitely looking forward to it. And I just want you to know that I'm happy I got the chance to finally get to speak with you because I've been a fan of yours since the beginning. Since you dropped "Sentimental" and "Who Do You Love".
Deborah Cox: Aww. Thank you.
MiddleChild: So I'm very pleased that you're still here and we'll be looking forward to "The Promise" dropping on November 11th.
Deborah Cox: Aww man. Well thank you for spreading the word and thank you for your support all of these many years. I really appreciate it and maybe I'll ...where are you based? Maybe I'll see you in person one day.
MiddleChild: I'm in Alabama, but if you come to Tennessee or Atlanta or anywhere else close, trust me, I'll make the drive.
Deborah Cox: Of course. Absolutely!
MiddleChild: Well you have a great day and good luck with "The Promise".
Deborah Cox: Alright. Take Care.
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