Soapbox: Deborah Cox

Whether telling us that nobody’s supposed to be here or professing absolutely not, Deborah Cox has been bringing gays to the dance floor for nearly 15 years—and she’s just getting started. Need more proof that the LGBT community holds a special place in her heart? Deborah headed across the pond earlier this summer and headlined the massive World Pride in London, entertaining nearly a million while also symbolically accepting the torch for her hometown of Toronto, which will host the fest in 2014. But before she gears up for that massive gay celebration, Deborah sashayed onto the Soapbox to talk about her upcoming trip to Broadway, new music and which songs the gays go crazy for.  

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Growing up in Toronto, I have always been a very inclusive person. I embrace all cultures, all lifestyles, because I have always felt deeply that it was about love. I never wanted to alienate anybody. So when I started recording music and started touring, this gay community—the LGBT community—really started to embrace not just the dance music, but the R&B stuff, the jazz. They embraced me as an artist. And I thought, “Wow! I want to give back to them as well.” To all of you. And it’s just about support. It’s about love and it’s about being there and being a representative of what true love is about. I’m not a gay person, however I have friends that are gay and, well, I’m gay inside!

[Aida] was my Broadway debut. I saw the show and fell in love with it. I loved Elton John and Tim Rice’s music. And when they asked me to do the show, I was like, “Of course!” It was a very meaty role, a wonderful character to play. Anything with passion and tragic love, I’m all in. And [at the time] I did the show with Cheyenne Jackson. Yes, honey!

I actually recently saw Cheyenne at the Vienna Life Ball—I am everywhere, child. Always on a plane working it out for the children!—which was nothing like I had ever seen before. The Scissor Sisters were there, Bill Clinton, Naomi Campbell, Milla Jovovich. Myself and Jon Secada did a song called “Still I Rise,” which is a Maya Angelou poem put to music. It was amazing! It was like the Olympics/Gay Pride/Mardi Gras—to the power of 10! Amazing.

I’m very, very excited to be going back to Broadway. We’re starting with a 25-city tour first and then we land in New York at the end of March 2013. So we’re hitting all the cities first—Buffalo, Toronto, Philly, Boston, everywhere.

I’ve heard a lot from the gay fans who feel my music helped get them through some things. And I think that’s part of the reason my music really resonates with the gay community. Because it’s been a lot about people coming out and rediscovering themselves and feeling like they can be who they truly are just maybe from a lyric or the melody or something they felt from the music. So that is something that really touches me deeply. That inspires me. “Absolutely Not” and “Leave The World Behind” are probably the ones people note the most. I think “Leave The World Behind” is one of those songs that kinda crept up on people. First of all, they didn’t really expect a song like that, a vibe like that from me with Swedish House Mafia. And what the song is saying is also part of the reason.

And there is more new music! Actually the newest, newest, newest joint is called “Remember Me.” It was remixed by George Vector, who’s out of Sweden. And again, we always got to step it up. Take it up another notch—because you queens are so demanding! But you check it out and let me know what you think. All my love to the LGBT community!

Moderated by Jeff Katz; art by Dave Arkle. For all things Deborah, including tour dates for the upcoming Jekyll & Hyde run, visit deborahcox.com