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.