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“I needed to reconnect with my life. Instead of being on the road traveling, I’ve been to weddings and birthdays,” admits Deborah Cox as the most asked question in her life goes from How did you get here? to Where have you been?

“I’ve kinda taken a bit of time away from the limelight. Time away to have some family time. Time to have a family. I have two children now. Some relatives have passed on and I felt like I was on this wheel, just going, going, going but I never had the chance to enjoy the success. So I took a little time off, I didn’t go anywhere per se. I haven’t been completely M.I.A.,” reminds Deborah referring to her eight month stint on Broadway as the lead in the Disney musical, Aida, her jazz album Destination Moon and a smattering of independent films she’s appeared in since dominating the R&B charts as one J Records’ deep throated divas.

Although Deborah returns to the scene with a greater sense of stability and what she sees as more confidence, she admits that the paradigm shift wouldn’t be noticed sonically, but rather professionally.

“I don’t think you will hear a difference from what I did before. It’s just that it’s a different time now. Vocally I have matured a lot,” say Deborah. “I had a much better sense of what I needed to do going into record than I had in the past. This time I was much more involved.”

Prior to completing her latest project, The Promise, Deborah belonged to the highly favored stable built by Clive Davis which also included Fantasia, Angie Stone, Alicia Keys, Monica  and of course Whitney Houston. However according to Deborah, when it came time to record, all that glittered wasn’t gold and going independent and forming her own record label has proven to be more fruitful and fulfilling.

“In the beginning, when I was at Arista, there was a lot of pressure. I was so young and so naive,” admits Deborah. “I was still coming into my own. I still didn’t even know who Deborah was or where this whole thing was gonna lead so it seemed like a bit of a set up.”

The set up Deborah is referring to is the constant comparisons to then label mate Whitney Houston. Deborah insists that the comparisons were thought to be about their vocal abilities but was more about her matching Whitney’s record sales.

“Over time we’ve developed a great mutual respect for each other’s talent. And once we worked together it was like she was a big sister,” says Deborah. “She is so supportive of all of us artists that are coming up under her and how we been influenced by her. She understands her position in all of our lives.”

Along with her husband, Deborah has released her fourth studio CD, “The Promise”, a ten track set– which features production from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis as well as John Legend– of musings that stand as a testament of who Deborah sees herself as today.

“The challenges now are that it’s not 24/7 but it’s 28/7. Every waking moment has been about this album. One of the rewards is, you don’t have to put out as much as you did in the past to get as much back.”

Working smarter, not harder. We respect that.

The Promise is in stores now!

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