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.
PAGE 2: TIFFANY EVANS TALKS MARRIAGE AND PREGNANCY
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The single “If You Love Me” was sung with such passion and emotion. It had to come from a personal place. What was the inspiration behind it?
To be honest, I was mad at my husband and he was mad at me. I’m such a down chick [Laughs]. I just believe in working things out. I don’t believe in being mad and angry for so long. If you guys love each other, stop acting like it’s the end of the world! Just come to an agreement where you guys can just move on. I believe in fighting for the right thing. When you’re going through things, it’s the perfect time to write because you’re going to have so much to pour out of your heart—and that’s what I did. I wrote “If You Love Me” in, like, 15 minutes. It just came all out of me and turned into this beautiful song. I played off of our situation and I played it for him the next day. He was like, “Wow, this is beautiful!” He almost shed a tear—he doesn’t cry off of anything! [Laughs]
Is that song going to be on the EP?
Yes, it’s definitely going to be on the EP. I’m titling it Take 1. There’s going to be lots of songs on there like “If You Love Me.” Lots of soul, lots of R&B. Also, a lot of experimenting with a live instrumentation. It’s coming soon. I’m really excited about it. It’s so me, so revealing. I really can’t wait for people to hear it.
We’re definitely excited for soul to be brought back into R&B.
Yes! That’s what I’m trying to do. Hopefully, people get the message when it comes out. I’m trying to stick to my R&B roots. The things you’ll hear on the EP are just me. When you hear the music, you’re going to feel it.
You’re 19, married and now pregnant. What do you have to say to people who think you’re too young for all of this?
You know, everyone has different life walks. I can’t step into anyone else’s journey and they can’t step into mine. All we can do is learn from each other. With that being said, I had a different life. Some experiences I’ve been through have made me the person that I am. I’ve made decisions based off of my maturity. When people look at me, it’s so hard for them to believe that I’m not the average 19-year-old. I graduated high school at a very young age, I started in this business when I was 9 years old, I got signed when I was 10, and I was doing a lot on my own. That’s kind of how I’ve lived my life for the past 10 years. And all of this is real. When I got married, it was a decision that I feel was a great one. I just don’t want to explore and date a lot. To each his own. However, I feel like when you find someone who is genuine, especially in this industry, who really has your best interest, and you really love each other, why not? A lot of people are not going to understand that, but they have to understand that a lot of things that I’ve done in my life, I had to do on my own. I’ve been on my own for a very long time, so I had to learn different things earlier than a lot of people my age.
You guys have been married for 2 years, and you’re 19. Did you get married at 17?
I was actually married at 18. Our anniversary is coming up this year in September so I just say two years. My Birthday is in August—I was legal [Laughs].
PAGE 3: TIFFANY EVANS HAS A BABY NAME?
You were emancipated from your mom. What’s the story behind that?
I was emancipated from my mom and dad when I was 15 years old. It’s a long, tough story, but I will say that making that decision was a great decision for me. Every family has its ups and downs, some a little more severe than others, but I hope that everything comes together in the end. That’s all I’m gonna say right now.
Understandable. Have you and your husband come up with a baby name yet?
We have! I’m not going to tell it just yet. It’s a beautiful name, though!
Since you’re having a baby girl, and you know all that comes along with the industry at a young age, would you let her become a child star?
Honestly, it’s hard to think about that. I know I have to prepare myself, but if she came to me, and she was really sincere with wanting to pursue the entertainment industry, I would just be there for her. I would tell her all of the information that she needs to know—the do’s and don’ts and who to look out for. I want her to be able to talk to me. Your children have to be able to talk to you, because if they don’t they’ll talk to someone else. You don’t know if that someone else will give them the right information. I just want her to be free with me from her heart, and I can help her out. That’s what I want. I’m sure we’re going to have a great relationship. I just want to be there for my daughter.
You’ve done some acting in the past. Is that something that you’re going to get back into or are we just focused on the music right now?
Most definitely! I love acting. I’m going to pursue it again. We have to take a break now, but after the baby I’m going to go back out to L.A and do some auditions. I was doing that earlier this year. My agent set up some meetings with directors and producers, and different auditions, but the next day I found out I was pregnant [Laughs]! We had to slow down, but the goal is to continue after the baby comes.
You have a very loyal fan base. Do you want to say anything to them?
I just wanna say that I love #TeamTiff so much, and I thank them for going to hard for me! They’ve been there since the beginning, and I appreciate them in ways that they don’t understand. I just can’t wait to give them everything that they want from me.
You can purchase Tiffany Evans’ new single If You Love Me” off iTunes by clicking [HERE]