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To say that Lakeland, Florida, by way of Newark, New Jersey, singer-songwriter-record producer-actress-author, Faith Evans, is a multi-faceted entertainer would be a complete understatement.
After relocating to Los Angeles in 1993 in order to pursue a career in music, Evans soon secured gigs providing backing vocals for, then, Uptown Records’ sex symbols Al B. Sure! and Christopher Williams. This vast exposure also brought Faye, as she is affectionately known, to the attention of one Mr. Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Combs,’ then working as an intern at the popular label, who would eventually coerce the Mezzo-Soprano vocalist with her all-too-smooth tone and throaty soulful rasp over to his very own Bad Boy Entertainment upstart imprint, where she would instantly become his first contracted female recording artist. While there, high profile collaborations with Mary J. Blige and Carl Thomas, among others, quickly came about, followed by three platinum-certified studio albums – between ’95 and 2001 – including ’95’s Faith, Keep the Faith in 1998 and Faithfully [’01].
After the Grammy Award winning mother of four’s eventual departure from the ‘House that Diddy Built,’ an additional three bodies of work, with the latest being 2014’s Incomparable, bowed, several successful tours that spanned the globe, appearances in/on both film [‘Turn It Up,’ ‘The Fighting Temptations’] and television [‘R&B Divas: Atlanta,’ ‘Real Husbands of Hollywood,’ and ‘Marvel’s Luke Cage’], as well as penning a best-selling biography, ‘Keep the Faith: A Memoir’…
BIG 💝 FAYE
The King And I, featuring your late, great husband The Notorious B.I.G. [G.O.A.T.] — Although self-explanatory, still tell me, conceptually, what that title represents both to and for you?
*Well, aside from the obvious, it’s kind of a reflection of the love that we had during the time that we were blessed to be with each other. Although the world was in awe of our story, at the time I was young and in love and all that mattered to me was sharing my life with him. Since the beginning, it’s been about me and him, The King and I. And though we didn’t get a chance to create as much music together as we wanted to then, I listen to his timeless lyrics and feel his presence even now on this album.
For someone, such as myself, who has yet to hear anything from the project — What all can you reveal and/or divulge at this particular time?
*What would you like to know?
Are there any specific highlights; favorite song(s), cameo appearance(s), producer credit(s), etcetera, that you’d like to take the time to point out?
*It was great creating this album. And to tell you the truth, I can’t choose a favorite song. It’s just full of dopeness! *Faye giggles* I always knew, but the evidence of B.I.G.’s genius is on this album. I discovered so many hidden gems that he had laid, while re-connecting with the producers that helped to cultivate our sound. Also had a chance to collab with Lil’ Kim, which was a really special moment. She blazed the record! I have a nice West Coast joint with Snoop, and an East Coast banger with Jadakiss. Yeah, I’m really excited about the opportunity B.I.G.’s genius has given me to create an amazing project.
Sonically, how does The King And I either differ and/or compare to previous Faith Evans‘ efforts?
*This is a duet album, so that, in and of itself, makes it very different for the listener. Making sure both perspectives are clearly, yet artistically, displayed was a fun challenge as well. The process of creating the project however, wasn’t too different for me. I’ve had ideas for quite a while, and as with most of my albums it’s just about timing. I actually had to take time out from my kids, work and home, to travel to New York City and meet with producers who B.I.G. had recorded unreleased material with. But, it was definitely worth the time it took.
When will we, the masses, finally get to hear some finished product, i.e. a lead single, full-length album, etcetera?
*(Soon,) we’re really excited!
Longevity, what do you attribute yours to?
*God. An undying, unwavering, steadfast belief that He has it all in control. That no matter (what,) He has my back.
In addition to, of course, the music, you have also dabbled some in acting, as well as the literary world — Will you continue in your pursuit of either of these two endeavors? I know your teenage son, CJ, has really been embracing film work lately, too…
*Yes, Im so proud of CJ. And I know his father is as well. I’m definitely continuing to take on other projects. Just making sure I’m still delivering what people have come to know and appreciate me for. I’m developing several projects for film and television. And when time permits – between my 4 kids *Faye giggles again* – I’m sure a 2nd book will be headed your way.
What about outside of entertainment completely, do you have any other future aspirations?
*Being a great mom!! And daughter, and sister, and auntie!!!
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of R&B? And, as an extension to this question, where exactly do you “fit-in” when it comes to the overall sound-scape of today’s trending music?
*I never try to “fit-in.” The industry changes so frequently, that by the time you jump on a bandwagon everyone’s taking a riverboat! *Laughter ensues* So, I try to stick to creating music that feels good. Music that feels right. And stay grateful that my fans and supporters still love what it is that I DO.
To date, what has been your biggest career moment, at least thus far anyway?
*I’ve been blessed with so many great and memorable moments in my career, but I’d have to say nothing touches me more than when a fan or supporter says, “Your music changed my life…” or “Your song helped me through this…” Those are the moments that can’t be replaced.
Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
Somewhere happy, with my kids!! *Smiles brightly*
As for the immediate, what’s next for you, Faith Evans?
I’m looking forward to starting my next book and a film based on my memoirs.
Changing gears here, as of late the press has had you linked romantically to producer Stevie J — Is there anything you would like to say on this matter? Maybe to clear the air, so to speak…
*Not so much, as I don’t think there’s much to clarify. We love each other and are great friends.
Lastly, let’s discuss last year’s highly successful Bad Boy Reunion Tour — How was that entire experience for you? What was the crowd’s reaction to you all being back on stage together again? And, does this in any way indicate that there may be another Faith Evans/Puffy/Bad Boy collection in the works at some point and time in the near future?
*I was totally overwhelmed by the love from the entire Bad Boy Tour family!! And the audiences (were) AMAZING!!!! Every city, every night, every act, they knew EVERY RECORD!! We (were) beyond blessed for this time, and just staying focused on the love we’ve (still) got going on right now!!!
Any “parting” message(s) for our readers?
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