And Cox would be the first one to admit that, as she remained unbiased and fully engaged in the task at hand. The “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here” vocalist sat down with Billboard.com to talk about the Angela Bassett-helmed biopic as well as her approach to recreating Houston’s tone and emotion and the best advice she got from the legendary entertainer.
The following are highlights from the interview:
On joining the Whitney biopic:
Deborah Cox: Angela, who is a friend, approached me about singing a few songs. She and I — along with [songwriter/producer] Dick Rudolph, who is also closely supervising the music — went into the studio to record “Greatest Love of All,” “I Will Always Love You,” “I’m Every Woman” and “I’m Your Baby Tonight” strictly for the film. There is no soundtrack. Obviously, the best-case scenario would be to use Whitney’s voice. But we’re all very passionate about telling Whitney’s story with integrity and very sensitive to all the talk. It’s been a complete honor to do this.
On how she recreated the magic of Whitney’s tone and emotion:
The key was to sing in a tone as close to Whitney’s as possible, purely from the heart. None of Deborah Cox seeped into the performances. I have a little more of a cry in my tone when I sing certain things; her tone is round and warm. It was about creating the essence of her. I still haven’t read the script. Angela would tell me what was happening in a particular scene, so I sang with the spirit of that in mind. She was directing me in the studio, which was cool. I was very unbiased. I didn’t have any preconceptions.
On working with Whitney and the best advice she ever gave her:
“Go on, girl!” She was always that kind of motivator when working with her in the studio. Doing that single was a dream come true. She loved singing with other singers; there’s a great exchange and camaraderie that can happen. We laughed and had fun telling stories about the business. And I heeded a lot of her advice like have children and don’t miss out on personal things. I was honored to have those quiet moments with her. I always say I came from the School of Whitney Houston. Her style helped me understand the kind of artist I wanted to be.
For more of Deborah Cox’s interview with Billboard, click here.