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In 1998, Canadian songstress Deborah Cox released her single, “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here.” The song peaked at number two on the Hot 100 chart and stayed there for eight weeks (R Kelly and Celine Dion’s "I’m Your Angel" and Brandy’s "Have You Ever" were the spoilers). It did stay at the top of the R&B chart for a record breaking 14 weeks—a record that held until 2006.
The song’s success was followed by years of touring, with Cox playing all over the world. She even headlined Nashville Pride in 2010. She remains one of Canada’s most successful R&B artists, if not the most successful.
Now Cox has now joined the cast of the musical adaptation of The Bodyguard. Based on the Whitney Houston classic, the musical premiered in London’s West End back in 2012. It was a huge hit there and was open for just under 2 years.
Ultimately, lack of adequate performance space forced the show into a tour spanning the UK and Ireland. Now in its American debut tour, the show is making a stop in Nashville at TPAC’s Jackson Hall from March 21–March 26.
In preparation for the show’s Nashville run, Cox took some time to answer a few questions from O&AN.
We started off talking about how it feels to take on the iconic character of Rachel Marron, played so famously by Houston.
“It’s thrilling,” Cox admitted. “It’s a complex role, but that allows me to stretch more than I’ve ever stretched before in any other role I’ve ever been in. I know there are huge expectations given the enormity of this role. It’s been a good experience though.”
While taking the role might have been intimidating, Cox admitted that, even as a successful performer, there was an element of fandom that went into her decision to take the role.
“I love the music, the story, the film… I thought it could be cool and dramatic, something very different to see on the stage. I mean, who doesn’t love The Bodyguard?” she asked. “I fell in love with the film. In regards to Whitney Houston, I’ve been a longtime fan. So, I feel blessed to have been chosen. I was asked to do this role about eight years ago, but it wasn’t the right timing and the right situation, so I’m just fortunate that it all worked out this time for me to do it.”
The Bodyguard premiered on the big screen in 1992, right as Deborah Cox was starting to perform. As a young artist, she explained why the movie inspired her so much originally.
“It was right before I was on the scene,” she recalled. “I was doing session work and writing and performing background vocals. And, right around that time, I was doing stuff with Celine Dion. I remember meeting with Clive Davis at the time who had just signed me. I ended up moving out to LA to start demoing … so it was a very interesting time in my life. But when I heard "Run To You" and "I Have Nothing," I was just floored. [The film] was just full of beautifully penned songs, wonderfully executed by the greatest voice of our generation, of all time. From the moment I heard those songs, I was all in.”
Because she loves the original work so much, the mental preparation of this play is something Cox has to focus on. “It’s surreal. I have so many memories of all these songs that I have to take myself out of it from being a fan and force myself into being Rachel Marron and to tell the story from my perspective as Rachel Marron. So, there’s quite a bit going on with me mentally on the stage, but, I think, every night I try to get closer and closer to finding my own, authentic way of telling this story through my voice now”
There have been rumors about this show making its way to Broadway. Hoping to get a little inside information, I asked Cox if she thought that was likely.
“I don’t know what the intention is,” she admitted. “I would hope that it would come to Broadway, but we just don’t know. There’s so many variables. I’m just remaining in the moment and hoping that we can bring this across the country to a new generation. I’ve actually come across people who’ve never seen the film. That’s shocking to me, but it’s the truth!”
I am a little embarrassed to admit—as I did when speaking with Cox—that, as a millennial, I had also missed this movie until preparing for this interview. Cox thinks the story remains compelling and still has something to say to our generation.
“It just brings you back to a time in music where it was very melody and lyric driven. The story is a love story. I mean, who doesn’t love a love story?! And the way this show is done, the way it’s written, the songs help tell the story of the character,” she explained. “The love triangle with the sister and Frank Farmer, you really get a sense of the complexity of Rachel Marron and what she has to do to not show her vulnerability, but continue to show her strength and keeping her guard up. There’s so much that she’s got to deal with… You get to get inside her head with song.”
The original film did not contain all the same songs that are in the play. We discussed that change and what it meant for the modern telling of it, especially after Houston’s passing. Millennials are not always up on Whitney Houston’s work.
Cox hopes that the show will introduce a new generation not only to a film classic but also to a musical ones. “They’ve changed it a lot in the sense that they included the songs from the film, but they’ve also included stuff from earlier [in Houston’s career] like “How Will I Know,” “The Greatest Love of All,” “Saving All My Love For You,” “All At Once”—you’ll hear all of those songs. Millennials don’t know those songs. It was a wonderful time in music. That’s my goal, too: to be a part of the storytelling to the new generation. How else are we going to be able to preserve it? We have to let the new generation carry the torch, to keep passing it on. I think that’s important.”
Deborah Cox will take the stage of Jackson Hall at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in all but two performances (Saturday matinee and Sunday night) to perform Whitney Houston’s classics. Wherever it’s been, it’s been a total smash. You do not want to miss this! Get your tickets at TPAC.com or by calling the TPAC Box office at 615-782-4040. Photo credit: Joan Marcus
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.