Faith Evans: Back To Basics

With a deep understanding of people, events, and situations Faith Evans has eclipsed the thresholds of rhythm and blues. She’s earned only the highest acclaim and admiration within her 15 years in the game, but with volumes of humility you could never get her to admit such. One of the original soul singers from the […]

With a deep understanding of people, events, and situations Faith Evans has eclipsed the thresholds of rhythm and blues. She’s earned only the highest acclaim and admiration within her 15 years in the game, but with volumes of humility you could never get her to admit such. One of the original soul singers from the golden era of 90s music before the populated discovery of YouTube songbirds, Faith stood as the 1st lady of Bad Boy and carried her polished style with her wherever she roamed.

Faith has acquired the ability to act anyway that she so chooses, whether in or outside of the booth. This is namely because she values being an individual with a personal life first, and an artist second. A professional at all times she never looses her cool over the sensational aspects of the industry; instead she continues to nurture fans with her gifts. The singer was recently arrested on DUI, but she is back. After five years of being MIA, she’s back and making her musical rounds.  Her new album Something About Faith promises to spoil listeners with inspiring ballads and monster pumping up-tempo selections.  So it is such an honor, and pleasure to be speaking with you. How have you been? 

Faith Evans: I am wonderful. I am out here back on the grind promoting this new album that’s coming, and just trying to get everything together. The kids just started back school so there’s just a lot going on. Your debut record Faith was released on August 29, 1995. It’s 15 years later, how does it feel to know you’re still in the game making relevant moves with a fan base that has stood by your side?

Faith Evans: It feels good. That is just a blessing; I know I’m blessed. I’m just thankful that God has given me music that is relevant, and a loyal fan base with all of my faithfuls out there and that just feels wonderful. A lot of people ask are you nervous to be coming back out, and I’m like no because my fans have been waiting. I know they’re not happy that it took so long, but I know they understand that I’m a real person and not in the cliché way of using that phrase. I just maintain normally and I make sure that certain things are taken care of first such as my kids, family, and my home. Sometimes you have to do things in a certain order, and I am certainly glad that the fans are still very supportive. You have such a beautiful, extensive catalog. What are your personal favorite Faith Evan songs to perform live?

Faith Evans: I love doing all of my up-tempo joints live like “Burning Up” or “You Use To Love Me.”  I also love to do “All Night Long” because those are the generational ones that still get played in the club. I enjoy those in addition to the ballads. I like performing period, but my favorite songs to perform would be “Love Like This,” “All Night Long,” “Soon As I Get Home,” and “Never Let Go.” Those are the songs that I have to strategically place within my show to go with the highs and the lows. You come from an era where you had to be able to sing. There were so many talented women in the 90s with you, Mary, Toni, Whitney, etc. When you look today, it’s like maybe one or two ladies that just totally dominate the charts why do you think that is? 

Faith Evans: You know what it’s hard to say why that is. I respect everyone that comes out though I stay in my lane. I have a great deal of understanding that times change. My children keep me updated, and current with what’s hot. They let me know what’s going on, and I listen to what’s new. I guess as far as who’s dominating right now it just is what it is, but my album is coming out though so if it doesn’t dominate the charts it will at least be up there with them. Since your debut has the quality of R&B changed for the better or the worse?

Faith Evans: I wouldn’t say that it’s changed; it’s just a matter of people’s taste. There’s going to always be a next new sensation, or there’s always going to be someone that comes out with a new record and you’ll be like oh I didn’t even know they were still making music. I don’t look at it that way because the artist might just be doing x, y, and z right now then come back to start a new project. I don’t think it’s changed as long as there are people out there that are making quality music. These days it’s a lot easier to be heard with all of the technology that just allows people to get their stuff out there to an audience to decide whether they like it or not. I know you’re an avid songwriter as well. What is the secret to being able to bring a real life scenario or situation into the booth and form a song? 

Faith Evans: Well as a writer sometimes I’ll get a piece of music or track and I’ll sit there and love it and think about how it makes me feel. I may not come up with a concept, it may just be a phrase, or it might make me think of this or that. There’s a lot of different ways that I come up with songs, but if I meet someone who also writes than I might invite them to the studio and bring them in to help me create something new with whatever it is I’m looking for.  

Usually I’m not afraid to create and try something new. I’ll let my daughter or son help me write a song. If I’m not coming up with something that I think is hot, or will compliment the track than I might say hey see if you can come up with a hook for this. That’s my thing, I’m never afraid to reach out to someone because I’m not one of those people that thinks that everything I do is always great. I’ll start from scratch in a minute. For me it’s all about the feeling and if I can arrange something. I think I’m masterful at arranging. I can take multiple ideas and arrange them to make a Faith Evans song.  I think that’s definitely a gift that I have. Are there ever any subject matters that are too personal to turn into a song and expose for the entire world to know? 

Faith Evans: Yeah I don’t think that I’ve ever felt like that. I think every situation at least for most adults will be something that many have also went through or experienced. Most things are not off limits, as long as it’s not too explicit or offensive. It’s all about real life and in life we go through many emotions and experiences. As long as it’s presented in the right way I think that it’s ok. So you left Bad Boy a few years ago, do you still speak to Puff? How is that relationship? 

Faith Evans: Yeah Puff and I are cool. That’s never gonna change. I mean I don’t talk to him on a regular basis, but we definitely keep in touch via email or definitely during the holidays. He sends the kids gifts every Christmas. So we have a great relationship it’s just that I moved on to being my own brand, and that’s a good thing. I’m glad we didn’t have any bad blood when I left Bad Boy. It was a clean break and I got my publishing back. I went to another major label and moved around a little more and now I don’t owe anybody anything. Ok so you are “The Faith Evans” but in addition to that you’ll always were the title of being the former Mr. Christopher Wallace. How does the continuation of your music run parallel to maintaining his musical legacy?

Faith Evans: Oh wow [pause] that’s a good question. Umm well I can only be me. I’m the same Faith that I was when I met Big back when Puff signed me and wanted me to be apart of his roster. I think what helps me maintain me being me is always staying the same. I understand people’s fascination with Big, I understand the legacy that he left, I understand that I have a huge part in that legacy not only by having been his wife but also by having his son. So that in it self is an extension of him, and I think that I do my best to take that in consideration when raising CJ in the right way.  

I feel like I’m doing pretty well at that. He knows exactly  who his father was and he’s well aware of the fact that people look at him in a certain light but it’s my job to maintain that level of normalcy for him and all my children and that’s something that I’ve always done. I always made it a note that I was never going to change, I always tell my friends to make sure they let me know if they think I’m acting different, but just make sure it’s me and not them acting different [laughter]. In your opinion, if Biggie were alive today would he still be on top despite all of the slumps and pitfalls that most artist have experienced with the decline of the industry?

Faith Evans: Well number one, I think that just based on the fact that we still here his music today demonstrates that he would have been able to stay current. I think that speaks volumes on what he would be able to do if he was still here. I think today his music would have only gotten better. He would have definitely picked up some of these new artist and signed them to his own imprint. Now it’s been more second-generation emcees coming out and CJ was able to do his thing in the film “Notorious” does he have the itch yet to pursue a music career? And as someone who’s seen a lot of good and bad are you going to encourage his pursuit? 

Faith Evans: Well all my kids actually have great musical talents. They can sing, rap, and write. My daughter produces and writes and that’s something that they all kind of just picked up naturally. They all know that school comes first; we’re not trying to make no child star or anything like that over here. CJ did a great job in the movie, and he’s been getting a lot of calls since then to do other movies, which is great because he never had any formal training. In fact he just did a movie with Will Ferrell. You know it’s funny because he can rap but it’s seeming like he’s gonna be the accidental movie star. We do support their talents, but that’s something they do at home for the most part. I mean CJ ended up doing another movie and that’s something that we never expected, I thought my other son would be the one to end up the movie star [laughter]. I try to keep everything light and they know that if they’re going well in school and their grades are right than I might let them do it. You released you biography “Keeping The Faith” did the book meet all of your expectations, and serve it’s purpose for you? 

Faith Evans: It did, it actually went a lot further considering that I didn’t even do a lot of promotion for the book because I was really nervous about the release date coming out so close to the movie because that was never a plan to do such. But we all know Ms. Wallace and she had been pursuing a movie for a while and a guy had been pursuing me trying to get to do a book deal and I was like “no I’m not ready to do a book yet because I’m not done with my career.” 

Finally I started and when I finished up with the manuscript the publishers were just so excited that they wanted to hurry and put it out. Than within a month’s time they had a release date for the movie so it just worked out that way. It initially made me nervous because I felt like I didn’t want one thing to piggyback off the other, but luckily it worked out. It wasn’t perceived as if one was riding of the heels of the other and the book did really well. I could have done a little more promo but I was like nah because I didn’t want to step on the toes of the movie. People really don’t know what was happening because a lot of people thought that I actually had more to do with the creation of the movie than I did. I was mostly just the momager to CJ but everything did very well. So you’ve been gone for 5 years what made you feel now was the right time to bring back another classic Faith album. 

Faith Evans: Well it just was the right time. I want to say around two years ago I was a guest on Fonzworth Bentley’s show “From G’s To Gents” and another guy who was a guest on there with me worked for EI Music. I was looking at him the whole night like where do I know this guy from and so I asked him and he was like “you probably don’t remember this, but you use to come and pick up Biggie’s check from me.” So we got to talking and he asked me about my music and I let him know that I was just taking a break right now and wasn’t really recording, but that I would be soon and he told that when I get ready to give him a call. So the following year, which was last summer I came back home to Jersey to visit family and felt the itch to get back in the studio so I drove to DC, got with Chucky Thompson and started recording. When I came back to New York we set up a meeting with E1 and from there the deal was done. Everything just really came into place within the last year so and here I am. How are you handling running your own label Prolific Music Group and finding balance as an artist? 

Faith Evans: It’s a lot, a whole lot and it’s hard on the pocket. But I know the payoff is going to make it all worth it. It’s a lot of hard work at all times. It takes a lot to be successful in this, and you’ve got to use relationships here. Luckily it pays to be nice so I’ve earned a certain level of respect so it wasn’t hard for me to get other artist and producers or whoever to work on my project. It ended up all working to my favor. So your new album Something About Faith drops October 5, what can fans expect? 

Faith Evans: This is my most feature heavy album ever. I’ve got Snoop Dogg, Red Man, Raekwon, Lil Moe, Estelle, Kelly Price, Keyshia Cole, Jessica Reedy from BET’s “Sunday’s Best.” The album has quite an eclectic array of artist representing different genres. All of the artist are people that I share a mutual respect for their music. You have the new single “Gone Already” I know you just shot the video for it, tell me a little bit about the treatment? 

Faith Evans: The video actually is just about the emotions of the songs. It’s a very classy sexy look. It’s about me performing, there’s scene’s of me performing in the old beautiful landmark theatre. We took a different approach to the video, but the way it turned out was just dramatic. There’s a slight narrative with me going through it with my significant other. It’s simple but it still came out beautiful. Reading it on the treatment was one thing, but seeing how it actually all turned out was just like “wow!” You have platinum records, a successful book, acting career, great wife and mother, do you finally feel that Faith has accomplished it all? 

Faith Evans: Not at all. Like I said I feel with this thing the pay off is on the other side. Hopefully whatever I do will just be well received. I’m also working on plenty of other things. I’m about to shoot a pilot for a reality TV show. I also developed a sitcom a few years ago that is now shopping. I’m also about to launch a line of hair care products with a friend of mine.  I’m just trying to take advantage of every revenue stream that’s available to me cause that’s what makes sense. I know you’re grounded maintain a positive lifestyle, tell the people the true role of having and keeping a strong faith in the life of Faith Evans. 

Faith Evans: Well the best way that I can answer that is that I learned years ago that I have a responsibility to live up to my name. It can’t just be well that’s my name, and whatever. Faith is really something that has saved and changed me and just so happens to be my name. I think God places conditions in front of us for a reason whether that’s going through something good or bad. In my own case I know he’s put me there because he wanted me to be an example of how to handle it. Even if I didn’t always handle things perfectly it made me conscious about how I approach people and new situations and at the end of the day that means a whole lot. 

To me it’s more important to please God than by doing what I think is the right reaction according to him, as oppose to what people think I should be doing.  So like I said I’m not perfect but I am a conscious thinker. I try to approach everyone with a pleasant attitude and hope they give one back and I know that certainly goes a long way and adds to my blessings.