Deborah Cox to release Destination Moon

, Editor on May 1, 2007 | genre: rnb

Platinum-selling recording artist Deborah Cox reinterprets the classic songs of Dinah Washington on her Decca debut, Destination Moon. Set for release on June 19th, Destination Moon thrusts the R&B/dance diva into whole new territory, showcasing her range and scope as an artist capable of tackling jazz, blues and “big-band” with ease and confidence.

 
Artist: Deborah Cox
Title: Destination Moon
Release date: 06/19/07
Label: Decca
Single:
Deborah Cox
Buy at: Amazon

Deborah Cox
"This is a complete labor of love, a concept album that I've had in mind for years," Cox explains. "This is a project that's an introduction to all of the styles that I grew up with. It's a way to expose another side of me that I've kept quiet. It's a chance to look inside my history of influences and hear where I'm coming from as an artist.”

Having conquered the pop chart as another of ace record executive Clive Davis' discoveries, the 32-year-old Toronto-born singer/actress also holds the record for having the longest running #1 R&B single for 14 consecutive weeks, with her smash, "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here.” She also dazzled Broadway audiences when she took the lead turn in Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Aida.” Her experience singing with a large live ensemble each night inspired her to tackle new heights in the studio as well. As a result, the dynamic singer now pays effusive tribute to her childhood idol, the beloved and troubled Washington. Deborah Cox's first exposure to Washington came very early, when she was a little girl. "I first became aware of Dinah when I was growing up, when I was about 8 or 9 years old" she says. "A lot of jazz was played about the house. I heard my mother playing a 45 of "This Bitter Earth" -- this first song I had ever heard from Dinah. It was the richness and the tonality of her voice that I gravitated to.”

Later in life, Deborah realized that apart from the turbulent personal issues, she had a great deal in common with Dinah in terms of how she wants to be perceived as an artist. “I'm doing this to broaden people's awareness of what I can do and also for the sheer love of her music." As a result, Deborah's homage to Dinah Washington does not lean overwhelmingly toward one particular style. It was designed from the beginning to be a compendium of several of Dinah's idioms - the big-band swing of "All Of Me" and "Destination Moon," swaggering R&B ("I Don't Hurt Anymore)," the blues that earned her the misleading nickname "Queen of the Blues" ("Misery," "New Blowtop Blues"), the lush ballads that put her on the jukeboxes of Middle America ("What A Diff'rence A Day Made," "This Bitter Earth").

For the arrangements and the production, Deborah turned to the highly-versatile New York-based music man Rob Mounsey, whose credits with such diverse performers include Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett to name a few. The record was made live in the studio, with 40 musicians in the same room with her, playing and singing in real time under Mounsey’s direction.

To celebrate the release of Destination Moon, Deborah Cox will be appearing for one night only on Monday, June 25th, at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, located in New York City’s prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Biography
If you think you've figured out where Deborah Cox fits into today's music scene, you've got some more figuring to do.

Having conquered the pop and R&B charts as another of ace record executive Clive Davis' discoveries and starred on Broadway in Elton John's and Tim Rice's "Aida," the 32-year-old Toronto-born singer/actress now takes a leap into something entirely different. She has paid effusive tribute to a childhood idol of hers, the beloved, troubled Dinah Washington, on her new Decca debut album, Destination Moon, that will surprise her fans and catapult her into the ranks of the leading jazz singers of our time.

Dinah Washington is one of those iconic names that trip off the tongue when one brings up the subject of the great female vocalists of the 20th century who were associated with jazz. But she stood apart from Ella, Billie, Anita, Sassy and most of the rest in one important way; she did not like to be labeled and placed in a box for convenient file-keeping. Her absolutely clear-cut, tart, high-pitched voice could fit comfortably into just about any style of her era - be it R&B, blues, straight-ahead combo or big band jazz, or easy-listening pop. This versatility made her controversial as well as beloved, especially after she crashed the Top 10 pop charts with a series of lushly-orchestrated hits after 1959.

Washington's personal life was tumultuous - she had seven marriages behind her; a salty, combative personality that tangled with figures in the music business; and drinking and weight problems that eventually contributed to her accidental early death in 1963 at the age of 39. Nevertheless, she toured and recorded compulsively, eventually making some 446 recordings for the Mercury label (now part of the Universal Music Group) between 1946 and 1961, and several more for Roulette in her two remaining years. Moreover, her personal turmoil undoubtedly affected her music. Her attitude about love was tough, direct, unsentimental, often strikingly at odds with the romantic mood-music backgrounds supporting her.

Deborah Cox's first exposure to Washington came very early, when she was a little girl. "I first became aware of Dinah when I was growing up, when I was about 8 or 9 years old" she says. "A lot of jazz was played about the house. I heard my mother playing a 45 of "This Bitter Earth" -- this first song I had ever heard from Dinah. It was the richness and the tonality of her voice that I gravitated to.”

Later in life, Deborah realized that apart from the turbulent personal issues, she had a great deal in common with Dinah in terms of how she wants to be perceived as an artist. "I've been reading the book, "Queen" (by Nadine Cohodas), and found a lot of myself in her life," she says. "She did like 360 dates a year. I don't do that many (she laughs), but I love being on the road, performing and touring. She was a fearless woman when it came to making decisions about what she was passionate about, and I relate to that, too. When I'm really passionate about something, it's do or die. I really focus on it. She was also a woman who hated to be pigeonholed because she felt that she had more to offer as an artist. I feel the same way. I don't want to be pigeonholed as an R&B singer. I'm doing this to broaden people's awareness of what I can do and also for the sheer love of her music."

As a result, Deborah's homage to Dinah Washington doesn't lean overwhelmingly toward one particular style. It was designed from the beginning to be a compendium of several of Dinah's idioms - the big-band swing of "All Of Me" and "Destination Moon," swaggering R&B ("I Don't Hurt Anymore)," the blues that earned her the misleading nickname "Queen of the Blues" ("Misery," "New Blowtop Blues"), the lush ballads that put her on the jukeboxes of Middle America ("What A Diff'rence A Day Made," "This Bitter Earth"). Deborah unleashes a powerful, swinging, jazzy vocal style that will pleasantly surprise many.

For the arrangements and the production, Deborah turned to the highly-versatile New York-based music man Rob Mounsey, whose credits with such diverse performers as Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Eddie Daniels, and countless others made him a natural choice. "After the first meeting, I knew, because he had such great instincts where the project should be and we both had the same ideas," she says. "We didn't want to do one style of record. Dinah was so many styles.

"I had my own personal favorites - "This Bitter Earth," "What A Diff'rence A Day Made", "Baby (You Got What It Takes)," which they played at my wedding. I've always loved the spiciness and feistiness of the song, how Brook Benton and Dinah spar with each other on the record. "This Bitter Earth" is such a sad song, so poignant and passionate. I listened to (the original records) quite a bit, then after a while, I had to take a break from them just so that I would have her vibe to reflect on instead of listening and copying. It was important to me to have my own style, but with her influence on it as well."

Another first for Deborah was the way in which this record was made - live in the studio, with 40 musicians in the same room with her, playing and singing in real time under Rob's direction. "I had never recorded a record like that before," she says. "That was just a treat because all of us would be feeding off each other and inspiring each other, and it was a lot of fun. I was thinking I'd go back to her (Dinah's) time and how amazing it was to be able to be in the studio with everybody and cut these songs, the magic that happens. A lot of that gets missed otherwise."

Deborah knew that she wanted to be a performer from the age of 6 or 7, to do what she saw people doing on television. Growing up in the 1970s and `80s, she absorbed many of the popular styles of her day - Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper, the Police, the Eurythmics, Bob Marley and the reggae scene - besides the jazz 45s that her mother played around the house. She attended the Claude Watson Schools for the Performing Arts in Toronto, where she was exposed to even more music, always singing in a vocal quartet or a jazz choir. She remembers seeing her first live jazz concert in the late `80s - with Miles Davis, no less. "I almost didn't go!," she recalls. "That concert was kind of a turning point because it opened me up to the real depths of what jazz music was about."

By the age of 12, Deborah was already performing professionally. Having won a local TV talent contest, she started singing jingles for commercials, then hooked up with local live bands. With her high school friend Lascelles Stephens (now her husband), she began writing songs and making demos, and eventually landed a position as a backup singer to Celine Dion. Then Clive Davis spotted her for his Arista label, and her education shifted into a higher gear.

Her first album, Deborah Cox was released in 1995, and achieved platinum status, yielding R&B/pop hits like "Who Do U Love?," "Sentimental" and "Where Do We Go From Here," but it wasn't until 1997 that she scored her first big dance hit with "Things Just Ain't the Same" from the "Money Talks" soundtrack. Her second Arista release, One Wish (1998) also achieved platinum sales, garnering the two smash hits, “We Can’t Be Friends” and "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here," which holds the record for being the longest running #1 R& B single for 14 consecutive weeks. 2002 saw the release of The Morning After for Davis's J-Records label. As an actress, Deborah played the role of a singer in the film "Love Come Down," and later appeared in "Blood Of A Champion" as well as an episode of the popular television program “Nash Bridges.

Having made her Broadway debut in "Aida" in 2004, Deborah found herself in another world altogether, finding out that she loved the whole process of doing everything in real time, on the spot. "After performing in `Aida' with a live orchestra night after night. I got smitten with the idea of doing an album like this," she says.

And so now, five years after her last studio album, a new chapter in Deborah Cox's career beckons - and it does not figure to be a one-shot tribute, for she has other projects like this in mind, perhaps another volume of Dinah, or a gospel album, or appearances at international jazz festivals.

"This is a complete labor of love, a concept album that I've had in mind for years," she says. "This is a project that's an introduction to all of the styles that I grew up with. It's a way to expose another side of me that I've kept quiet. It's a chance to look inside my history of influences and hear where I'm coming from as an artist. I think people will be pleasantly surprised."



"Destination Moon" by Deborah Cox - release date: 06/19/07..


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