The Artist | Deborah Cox
In Toronto and beyond, Deborah Cox is a household name, her music constantly on rotation since the beginning of her almost three-decade career. Cox’s artistry and icon status has been cemented this year when she made history as the first Black woman in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and shortly after, an induction into Canada’s Walk of Fame. With three JUNO Awards, a Grammy Award nomination, a Billboard Music Award nomination, an actor, Broadway performer and now even the voice of Whitney Houston in the upcoming Lifetime biopic, her recognition is long overdue.
By TIKA, Toronto musician
Growing up, Deborah Cox was a staple in my household. I was enamoured with her work and her ability to really be a powerhouse, power ballad–type singer from our city. And to have someone like Deborah take up space in an American capacity when we were teenagers was a big deal. Deborah has been a household name for a long time, and her leaving the city was huge. It showed that she was always serious about her voice and her craft. She’s such a professional person; everything that she’s done has been about acumen and elegance and success. Deborah Cox is not just a Toronto starlet. She’s a worldwide recognized vocalist, and also, her vocals are incomparable — not everyone can do that! Everyone loves her: she’s loved in the mainstream scene, she’s loved in the gay scene. In terms of inclusivity and unification, she is that girl. And this year, she was the first Black woman to enter the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, something which is disrespectfully overdue. Why did it take so long for us to acknowledge her greatness? It speaks volumes to how out of touch the Toronto music scene is in terms of Black excellence. I think she’s our Whitney. Had Whitney Houston had the opportunity to be surrounded by the right people, I think she and Deborah Cox would be side by side. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that she did The Bodyguard on Broadway! These are not light accolades. In terms of her artistry, the mastery, that legendary aspect of who she is, it’s bar none. She’s a legend. She’s a queen.
See our full list of Toronto’s most inspiring women of 2022 here.