All Grown Up: Tiffany Evans Dishes On Sexy New Single 'Red Wine' And Valuable Lessons

#TeamTiffany, your insatiable thirsts have finally been quenched.

A pre-teen inking a major record label deal isn't an everyday occurrence. But every now and then a rare breed blossoms, equipped with a voice well beyond her years, knocking music lover's socks off.

Before the rotating chairs, celebrity one-on-one's and blind auditions, Tiffany Evans was crowned Grand Champion of Star Search, the original star-molding competition at only 10 years old. Evans made history as the only contestant with perfect scores on all performances in 2003, all before puberty. Fast forward four years later, the Bronx, New York native had young adults rocking to an ode of promise rings with a Grammy Award winning Ciara, peaking at number 66 on the Billboard Hot R&B/ Hip Hop chart.

Evans, an undeniable gumbo of star power's ingredients; heavy dosage of raw talent, dash of spunk, stage presence to season and personality to taste, the 22-year-old willfully ditched the spotlight to focus on family: "Family is always first for me being that I'm one of 10 children. I come from a big family and I'm used to growing up with a lot of kids. I spend a lot of time with them and involve them in what I'm doing."

During her five year hiatus, the petite singer jumped the broom and became a mother to now a 2-year-old daughter Adalia. Her lull inspired content for her comeback hits. Her tried and true fans, affectionately dubbed #TeamTiffany, remained loyal, but their insatiable thirsts has been quenched. All grown up, Evans returns with super-sexy single, "Red Wine," a follow up to her first single, "Baby Don't Go," penned by Evans herself. The beauty is showcasing the complexities of her talent, and we are here for it.

Vixen caught up with Evans as she talks balancing home and career, her accessories brand Eye Hunee and the last time she cried. - Angela Wilson

 

VIBE Vixen: Describe your new single "Red Wine."

Tiffany Evans: I had performed in November at SOB's and it was to give my fans a preview of the type of music I'm doing. When I performed it I noticed there was a lot of demand for that record. So they've been begging for it for a while now and we're finally going to give it to them – the studio version. It's so sexy and so vulnerable, but it's real. When you hear it everybody will be able to say it's relatable.

Will there be a video?

Yes, we're shooting the video in the next week or so. We're putting the finishing touches on the treatment then we're going to get to work!

Anyone who's been in a relationship can identify to you're first single "Baby Don't Go,' was it something in your life that inspired the lyrics?

Of course, I say this all the time – every record that I sing is probably a record I've written or written along with people who understand what I'm going through. I want to be real and open about the experiences I've had in my life and a lot of people can relate to them and [my songs] can help their situation at home.

When I wrote that record it was early in the morning, maybe 3:00 a.m. We were recording inside my house and I was really angry with my husband at that moment, and I said I have to take this energy and put it into a song because I know what I'm feeling right now would probably make a good record. I started vibing and singing and it turned out really amazing, more than I expected. It's was eyry passionate.

You took a break to focus on your family, do you have any regrets looking back?

No, no I don't. I learned a lot in this time and I started when I was 9, I'm 22 now and in that whole time frame I've grown up a lot and matured. All of these experiences I had were necessary in order for me to become the woman I am today, so I don't regret anything from the process or anything that I went through.

Aside from music, you're also an entrepreneur with Eye Hunee, so why did you choose eye wear?

It wasn't something I chose off the bat- when I was pregnant I had an idea to do a T-shirt line, with cute T-shirts with cute slogans on it. But we never went into full production so I said until we get really passionate about something, let's just wait until the right time.

My husband really love shades- and I do too, but I need contacts because I can't see for nothing! I spoke to my partners and we partnered with a designer named June and she's worked with Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg. I love the whole process and we came up with some stuff that can cater to everybody.

We started two years ago and everything came together in one year. We also have accessories as well, bucket hats, vizors for the summer soon and we also have a sale going on for women's shades.

How can fans purchase?

Go to Eye Hunee We're also in 13 stores in New York and we're working on getting Atlanta on board because that would be a really dope market for us. Eventually the goal is to expand into the mainstream retail.

Keri Hilson, TLC, boxer Adrien Boner and others has all worn Eye Hunee, how does that make you feel?

It feels really good. Whenever you have a dream and others believe in it and love what you're doing it's a satisfying feeling. It's a new venture- I've never done anything like eye wear before, so me being new and not knowing much about it and for people it is satisfying and unbelievable at times, too.

What was the most valuable learning lesson you learn and how did you learn it?

My most valuable learn experience was learning how to speak up, and that came over time. I learned how to speak up for myself. I started [singing] when I was 9 so a lot of people had their hands in my career and I didn't gain control until I left Columbia at 19. So many people were involved in the process or my career and I never had the chance to say,"This is who I am and work with this." If I did I didn't know how to present that without being afraid of what people would say.

I learned in business and in my life period it's okay to speak up and tell people what you want and ask questions if you don't know something. It's all about asking questions and learning. I've gained the strength and boldness to say [what I want], but I'll be polite, although sometimes you have to be assertive – not demanding, but assertive. And as long as you're respectful there's nothing wrong with speaking up for yourself and about what you will do and what you won't do. That's something I've been implementing since I've been on my own.

As in, "It's not always what you say, it's how you say it?"

Exactly, and sometimes we hold stuff in and we'll wait until later then complain about it when it's already done, it's in the past and you're the one living in regret without saying anything. I didn't want to live like that anymore. If they don't understand where I'm coming from, I can't let that be a burden to me.

When was the last time you cried and why?

The last time I cried was like about a hour ago. I was talking to my husband and we had a personal conversation and I felt like pouring out my heart and how I felt about the things I've been though and things we been through and he's right there listening. I felt like that was very important, it was like a relief.

I really don't cry about everything and I think that's bad. I think it's better to cry than to keep stuff in so I had a pow wow with my husband and he said he understood everything and how I felt and that he hears me. I'm glad I let it out.

What's something fans would be surprised to know about you?

That I curse a lot! Blame it on my father because he curse so much around us. I think older people in general from the south, that's just their way of life, whenever they're explaining something, that's just how they speak. But my dad always expressed his emotions so whenever he talked about food, a person, a situation, it would always follow with a curse word. My mom doesn't curse, she hates it, but I have six brothers, only four girls and I just knew I was one of the boys.

My mouth is really bad but I try to keep a muzzle on it, but I'm trying to fix it because I know it's bad. It's not every five seconds, but every 10-15 seconds.

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
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Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
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Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

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Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

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Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

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View this post on Instagram

 

I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

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