Tiffany Evans has been laying low for what seems like a lifetime. But the barely legal starlet is back with a new EP and a baby in the oven. Best known for her Ciara-assisted single “Promise Ring”—and holding the title on Star Search as the only performer to receive perfect five scores on all of her appearances—the mommy-to-be is ready to tackle the music industry again. VIBE chatted with the 19-year-old prodigy, as she preps her new single, “If You Love Me." Tiff dishes on everything from her past musical career and her split with Matthew Knowles, to being accused of calling Rihanna a devil worshipper and her emancipation from her parents.
VIBE: Before we get into your new single, let’s rewind. Why did you part ways with Columbia Records and Matthew Knowles?
Tiffany Evans: I was with Columbia for about 10 years, and it was just time for that journey to end. I felt ready to move forward and try something different. I wanted to start learning the business for myself and be hands-on with my projects and my affairs. I think at that moment, it was just time for me to move on and they were very supportive of that. It was a very smooth and nice process. I’m thankful for that because sometimes situations like that really don’t work out that well.
And with Matthew?
With Matthew, it was sort of the same thing. It was a learning experience when I was dealing with him. At that point, I just think everyone was going in a different direction than I was. I wanted to do something different and be more hands on with Tiffany and her projects.
So with Columbia, was it a release or were you dropped from the label?
No drop situation. I actually asked for a release and they made it happen for me. It was a mutual thing, where they understood where I was coming from.
One of the former members of Destiny’s Child claimed that Matthew wasn’t surprised that he and Beyoncé parted ways due to finances. Was that the case with you guys?
No, it was completely different. Honestly, they handle their other artists separately and privately, so I really don’t know what went down in that situation. I just know what was happening with mine. I was just ready to move forward. It was a coincidence that we were parting ways at the same time [that he and Beyoncé parted ways], but I don’t know anything about their story. I tend to mind my own business. [Laughs]
A couple years ago, there was an accusation that you called Rihanna a “devil worshipper." Do you feel like that rubbed the industry the wrong way?
If anyone felt that someone had called them a devil worshipper, and they’re not, of course it would rub that person the wrong way! What I wanna clear up is, I did not call Rihanna a devil worshipper. Number one: I don’t even know her like that. We've only met a couple of times, and I would never say anything like that about any of my peers. It’s just not in my character. What I was talking about is just music—messages in the music. I was going through a really tough time in my life. I really believe that “Russian Roulette” was written beautifully, but I think it affected me in a different way because it was such a dark phase in my life. I just felt the need to speak on it. That’s the only thing I said about Rihanna. I didn’t think people would find that crazy or disrespectful. I just thought I was expressing myself in the best way that I knew how. I wasn’t trying to offend her. I didn’t say anything about anyone specifically devil worshipping. I guess that’s how things get out of hand. But I’ve learned my lesson. There are different ways to express yourself. I really want people to understand that I didn’t say that.
With everything that she was going through, I think her music was also very expressive of her life’s events at the time.
Right. That’s just how she was expressing herself, and you can only respect that. Like I said, at that point I was going though a lot and just trying to cope. It was just my way of expressing how I was feeling at that moment. But sometimes, when you use social media to say what you feel like you need to say, it can get taken out of context.
So what do you plan on doing differently this time around in the music industry?
Well, I can just tell you, I’m doing this thing on my own. I started my own company [Little Lady Entertainment] and I’m releasing music through that. One of the things I’m also doing differently is learning the business and handling my own affairs. When you’re signed to a label, you have so many people doing things for you. I didn’t get the chance to learn behind the scenes things that I feel like I should know as an artist, so now I have that chance. I have full creative control as far as what I want to put out there musically and what I want people to see me as.