Acclaimed artist Deborah Cox inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Jaime E. Love


Cox’s induction marks the first time a Black woman has received the national honour

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The JUNO Awards is honoured to induct the award-winning recording artist and world-renowned Broadway, television, film and fashion icon Deborah Cox into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame this year. With a career spanning three decades, Cox makes history as the first Black woman to receive the national honour.

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To celebrate the historic moment, Cox is set to dazzle audiences as she takes the stage for a live performance during The 51st Annual JUNO Awards on Sunday, May 15 at Toronto’s Budweiser Stage. The induction and performance is presented by longtime JUNO sponsor, TD Bank Group.

The Canadian Music Hall of Fame was established by CARAS in 1978 to acknowledge artists that have made an outstanding contribution to the international recognition of Canadian music. Cox joins the ranks of Canadian music icons Alanis Morissette, Buffy Saint-Marie, Barenaked Ladies, Jann Arden, Joni Mitchell, k.d. lang, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Oscar Peterson, RUSH, The Guess Who, The Tragically Hip, Sarah McLachlan, Shania Twain and many more. In 2016 the Canadian Music Hall of Fame found a permanent home with the opening of Calgary’s Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (NMC). A new exhibition celebrating the career of Cox will open at Studio Bell on May 14.

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Cox was once a backing vocalist for Céline Dion.
Cox was once a backing vocalist for Céline Dion. Photo by Supplied

Born in Toronto, Cox grew up in a musical household and took to music at an early age citing Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Whitney Houston as key influences. By the age of 12, Cox appeared in television commercials and began performing professionally, entering various talent shows as a teenager before landing a spot as a backup vocalist for Céline Dion.

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In 1994, Cox was signed onto Arista Records by Clive Davis and later released her self-titled debut album the following year. Its successor, One Wish, spawned two Number 1 singles “We Can’t Be Friends” and “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” which became an instant hit and held the record for the longest running R&B single of all time. The album went on to become certified platinum in the United States. After 14 weeks at the top of the charts, Cox earned a Billboard Music Award nomination for R&B Single of the Year, a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Award nomination, a Soul Train Award, a Lady of Soul Award and three JUNO Awards. Cox has gone on to release six-critically acclaimed albums and has scaled the R&B and pop charts with six Top 20 Billboard Magazine R&B singles and thirteen number one hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play Chart.

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In addition to her music career, Cox has been expanding her identity as an artist, actress and creator in the past few years. Cox was appointed executive director for Alpha Magazines, a publication that strives to empower women worldwide. Many will also know Cox from her various roles in theatre and television in Aida and The Bodyguard. Cox has been lauded for playing Regina on BET’s First Wives Club and for starring in the critically acclaimed HBO Max series Station Eleven.

Aside from her work as an entertainer, Cox has been recognized for her dedication to various social justice initiatives, including advocacy for LGBTQ2S+ rights, support for those living with HIV/AIDS, and the fight for human rights and equality for all. In 2020, Cox was honoured with the Black Music Honors’ Entertainer Icon Award in recognition for her 25 groundbreaking years in the music industry. Cox was also honoured alongside Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., and other change-making women at the 2021 Black Women in Media Awards for her impact on the entertainment industry.

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Following the success of her hit 2019 single “Easy Way,” Cox has new music on the way and is working toward the release of her seventh career studio album due out in 2022.

Catch Deborah Cox’s induction and performance at The 2022 JUNO Awards as it makes history on Sunday, May 15 as it broadcasts and streams for the first time from an outdoor venue at Budweiser Stage in Toronto, live across Canada at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, CBC Listen, and globally at CBCMusic.ca/junos. Hosted by Simu Liu, previously announced performers include Arcade Fire, Arkells, Avril Lavigne, Charlotte Cardin, and Mustafa.

This story was provided by The JUNO Awards for commercial purposes.

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