A native of Toronto, Deborah Cox began singing for TV commercials at age 12, also entering various talent shows with her mother's help.
She performed in nightclubs as a teenager, and around this time, she also began to write her own material with the help of writer, producer, and future romantic interest Lascelles Stephens.
Much like Whitney Houston, with whom she is often compared vocally as well, Cox was discovered by Arista Records president Clive Davis shortly after graduating from high school.
Davis recruited some of the top names in R&B to provide Cox with material for her 1995 debut, including Babyface, Dallas Austin, and Keith Crouch, but Cox herself co-wrote her first hit single, "Sentimental," with Austin and bass player Colin Wolfe, along with three other tracks on the album.
One Wish followed in 1998, launching the R&B chart-topper "We Can't Be Friends."
Her 2002 album The Morning After made a bigger impact in the clubs with the singles "Absolutely Not," "Mr. Lonely," and "Play Your Part" all topping the U.S. dance charts.
A 2003 remix collection held the fans over until 2007 when the ambitious and stylish Destination Moon landed. The album was a tribute to the legendary singer Dinah Washington and featured a full orchestra as Cox's backing band.