After last year's foray into jazz with the Dinah Washington tribute album "Destination Moon," Deborah Cox shifts into R&B mode with "The Promise." Coming Nov. 11 on Deco Recording Group/Image Entertainment, the project signals her first R&B album in six years.

Prefacing the album's arrival is the soulful ballad "Did You Ever Love Me," produced by Flyte Tyme. In its second week on Billboard's Adult R&B chart, the song moves 33-26.

"Recording this album was like coming home again," says Cox, who's based in Miami and plans to go on tour at the top of the year. "Though I've always been the type of artist who likes to explore different styles and not be pigeonholed into one type of music, this is where my roots are."

The album's title track was co-written by John Legend, with whom Cox worked for the first time. The set's other collaborators include Devo Springsteen (Kanye West, Estelle), the Avila Brothers (Toni Braxton, Gwen Stefani) and Shep Crawford. Additional tracks include the mid-tempo "Beautiful U R" and the sensual "All Over Me."

"There's nothing forced or contrived about this," notes Cox of the album, which represents the first release on her Deco label. "We just wrote from our hearts; conversations in the studio turned into songs. That was the fun part."

A protege of former Arista Records chief Clive Davis and a former backup singer for Celine Dion, Cox charted her first top 5 R&B hit in 1995 with "Sentimental." It was with songwriter/producer Crawford that she scored her signature hit, 1998's "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here." The song broke the record for the longest-running No. 1 single on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (14 weeks) and peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100.

During her career, Cox has tallied six top 20 R&B singles and nine No. 1s on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart. The singer/songwriter also had a starring role in Elton John and Tim Rice's Broadway musical, "Aida."