Many former child stars come and go from the entertainment industry, but Evans is here to stay. The 23-year-old’s new EP All Me invites listeners on her journey as a young adult.
“All Me represents my transition into womanhood,” Evans explains. “A lot of people know me from childhood days, but I’m an adult now.”
The South Bronx, N.Y., native broke onto the scene when she was just 9. In 2003, Evans made her national debut on the hit talent show Star Search, hosted by comedian Arsenio Hall. Evans’ powerhouse voice led her to victory as grand champion in the junior singer division. She also became the first competitor to earn a perfect score on all five performances.
And if her powerful performances led viewers to believe she was singing for her life, that was no exaggeration: The grade-schooler and her family had been homeless just before she entered the competition. She had moved to the Atlantic City area with her parents and four of her nine siblings in a blended family after their Bronx apartment was sold unexpectedly. Adjusting to a new place as a student on scholarship at the exclusive Highland Academy in Galloway Township, N.J., was a breeze compared to the tough times that Evans endured as her family struggled financially.
They ended up living out of their van, but Evans’ talent provided a bright spot, allowing her to help put food on the table by singing at an Atlantic City lounge where her father would pass around a hat for donations from patrons blown away by her voice. Her mortician father and home health aide mother’s recent job losses still continued to weigh heavily on the family until Evans’s vocal abilities led to her Star Search victory, which came with a $100,000 grand prize.
Fresh off Star Search, Evans landed a deal with Columbia Records via Sony Music Entertainment, home to acts such as Beyoncé, Celine Dion and John Legend, to name a few. While recording new music, Evans discovered her second passion — acting. Between 2003 and 2005, Evans landed a few television and movie roles on CBS’s The District, NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Tyler Perry’s debut feature film Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
By 2007, Evans was a teenager and made a splash with her debut single, “Promise Ring,” featuring Ciara. Co-produced by Mr. Collipark and The Clutch, “Promise Ring” turned Evans into a teen sensation. The song reached number one on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart. Evans followed up with her Bow Wow-assisted single “I’m Grown,” produced by Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins (Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Destiny’s Child).
Evans unleashed her self-titled debut album in April 2008. It additionally included contributions from singer-songwriter Ne-Yo, RedOne (Lady Gaga, New Kids on the Block, Usher), Soulshock and Karlin (Madonna, Patti LaBelle, Fantasia) and Eric Hudson (Kanye West, Chris Brown, Trey Songz), among others.
After securing a new management deal with Mathew Knowles, Beyonce’s father, Evans began recording her second album (tentatively titled Perfect Imperfections.) She released “I’ll Be There” as the lead single. The heartfelt track peaked at no. 15 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart. Ultimately, Evans’ second LP was not released, and she parted ways with her management and Columbia Records.
Instead of bouncing back into her music, Evans took time away from the spotlight to start her own label, Little Lady Entertainment (now known as Live Love Entertainment.)
“As a child artist, everything was practically done for me,” Evans explains. “After being signed with Columbia for 10 years, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to go ahead and learn the business for myself. I didn’t want to just show up, rehearse and go home. I wanted to learn as much as possible about the industry and be more than just a singer.”
Not long after giving birth to her first daughter Adalia, Evans released a mixtape called 143 in 2013. The well-received project — which garnered more than 65,0000 downloads in one week — included contributions from ChrisNTeeb, Elijah Blake, Sak Pase, WatchTheDuck and Maad Scientist.
“I recorded that whole mixtape while I was pregnant,” said Evans. “So naturally the material was more mature than what my fans were used to.”
Evans has spent the last couple years finding and perfecting her sound. She released a few buzz singles including “Baby Don’t Go” (2014) and “Red Wine” (2015). “Baby Don’t Go,” a raw and hard-hitting tune, was featured in an episode of VH1’s hit reality show Love & Hip-Hop: New York.
In summer 2015, Evans dropped her Fetty Wap-assisted song “On Sight” as the lead track from her All Me EP. Although the flirty tune was independently released, it gained some momentum at radio stations in United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It was also selected for iHeartRadio’s Digital Integration Program, where it was played multiple times per day across iHeart’s urban stations’ digital streams. “On Sight” also gained buzz across social media. The song has over 1 million digital streams.
All Me was released on Oct. 30, 2015, and peaked at No. 10 on iTunes’ R&B Albums chart.
“All Me is the beginning of a new era of Tiffany Evans,” she says. “I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years. That’s a long time. I’ve evolved so much as a woman, wife, mother and artist. Being pregnant with my second child [daughter Chaden, born in August 2015] really empowered me on this project. I am more confident than ever and can’t wait to give the world what I have to offer.”