Diva does Dallas

Posted on 03 Feb 2010 at 4:36pm
By RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

R&B singer Deborah Cox tweets her way to a Valenterrific Mardi Gras gig


WE LOVE COX | Deborah Cox expects her show at Station 4 to be a blast with her gay Dallas fans. She performs during the Carnivale 5 Mardi Gras weekend.

EVERYBODY DANCE NOW
Deborah Cox performs at
Carnivale at Station 4,
3911 Cedar Springs Road.
Feb. 13 at midnight. $15–$20.
PartyattheBlock.com.

There is an irony to this particular phone conversation with R&B vocalist Deborah Cox. The connection is spotty meaning she sometimes can’t hear my questions. Considering how she admits to embracing technology, it looks like pseudo-primitive engineering has gotten the better of her.

No matter. Bad line or not, Cox is intent on getting her message through.

You could say the same about Cox’s career. She’s hovered in that nether area between "big star" and "one-hit wonder." She’s pure R&B, but her musical identity entrenches itself in dance thanks to the legions of gays on dance floors footing it to the classic remix of "Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here," her biggest hit.

"I am very gracious for having a gay audience because I feel like without them, I couldn’t do what I do," she says.

Cox finds that meeting with such approval very special. Lord knows, gay audiences can be finicky about their musical divas.

Cox knows it too. And she doesn’t plan on messing that up anytime soon, like Whitney almost did with her not-really-a-comeback CD last year. Of course, any artist would say they appreciate their audiences but Cox feels a responsibility about it.

"When gay audiences sanction you as the person they feel represents good music, it really means something," she says. "They are very specific who they put on that pedestal and don’t choose just anybody. Plus, my gay audiences have been very supportive through every project whether I sing jazz, R&B or whatever, they’ve been extremely loyal."

Her fans can follow almost every one of Cox’s thoughts on Twitter where she opens herself up to the public world. She assures it is herself texting messages to her followers and while her tweets range from her hankering for peach tea or attending the BET Awards, she’s fine with opening up a bit of her not-so-public self to her fans.

But it’s not just about connecting to people through social networking. Cox sees technology’s quick evolution in just the past couple of years as a tool she’s willing to use to her advantage. Which can be crucial for her because while Cox is hardly invisible as an indie artist, she isn’t in Mariah territory either.

"I think it’s important to have a connection with people using tech. I don’t feel like someone’s invading my privacy," she says. "For me, I have been the kind of person who really embraces technology. I feel like record companies are slow to action so we have to try to find a way to use and capitalize on technology. With the Internet, music can get to fans so much quick and fans can choose what they want. It’s no longer corporate driven."

The last time Dallas saw Cox was her show at House of Blues in September 2008. She returns to Big D performing at Station 4′s Carnivale 5 Mardi Gras celebration with a midnight show on Feb. 13.

"I wanted to be that artist with longevity and I appreciate all these opportunities given to me by my gay fans. So it’s going to be an exciting weekend. I’ll be seeing all my Dallas friends. The last time I was there it was a blast," Cox says.

And most likely, she’ll be tweeting about it soon.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2010.

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