There is no denying the power of The First Lady. She sings… you listen! Faith Evans has been in the music game for almost two decades and the list of hits just keep coming. Recently Faith linked up with some of her sisters in the music game to step in the world of Reality Television and deliver an album laced with vocals and attitude. RoJay spoke with one of music’s best about her projects and what else fans can look forward to.
RoJay: First of all, let me say what an honor it is to finally get a chance to speak with you. I’ve been a fan for a very long time.
Faith Evans: Thank you.
RoJay: It’s good to see you back doing your thing. I think the first question for you is what made you want to jump into the world of reality television? I mean it can get pretty messy and there’s never a way to determine if it will be good or bad in the end.
Faith Evans: Well I had done a couple of pilots and I had a network that was interested in me, so I had considered it before. My thing was as long as I had some creative input as a co – EP [executive producer]. I mean I’m not doing nothing that I don’t want to do. I wasn’t necessarily worried about that, but I didn’t think that I was ready to shoulder a show on my own because I’m sure a lot of the things people would be interested in seeing are in my boundary list. I have certain boundaries like with my house and with my kids so I just really waited it out. And I never said ‘no’ to that network, but in the meantime Nicci came to me with this idea for this project and she asked me if I would come onboard with her as a co-EP and I said ‘of course’. For me it was the right vehicle because it didn’t have to worry about it being just me and it would also kind of enable me to encourage these other ladies to share their stories which they were already willing to do. I think a lot of my story has already been told. You know what I mean? I wrote a book. There are movies. So I was just in a different place in terms of that part of being on reality TV, but it made a lot of sense because we were doing this album and making a show about that so it really just came together all by divine order.
RoJay: That’s what’s up. We also spoke with Syleena and Monifah for the site and they both mentioned how it all came together organically as well because of your connections and personally knowing one another, were there any other ‘divas’ that you might have thought of including or wanted to include originally for the show?
Faith Evans: We had reached out to a lot of different people for the show, but once we chose the production company it made a lot more sense from a production standpoint to focus on Atlanta, so we ended up focusing on the ladies in Atlanta which were the ladies Nicci already had. Angie Stone was another person. We were talking to LeeLee from SWV. Tweet… but they all ended up doing some other things. I had also had a long wish list of other people that I wanted on the album, but because we kind of had to make it happen while we were in production of the show it wasn’t able to happen that way because of schedules and I totally understand that. I’m looking forward to being able to do other volumes of the album and other installments of the show… hopefully in other cities because there are a whole lot of divas that we have relationships with that with encouragement it doesn’t have to be trash TV.
RoJay: Did you learn anything about yourself while filming or even watching the show?
Faith Evans: No, I wouldn’t say so much. I don’t think so. I don’t think I learned anything so much about myself, but maybe reiterated some things I already knew that I’m always trying to do my best to stay quiet sometimes. (laughs)
RoJay: Too funny. Well I have been playing this album and it’s funny… I have to let you know that ‘Dumb’ snuck up on me. I didn’t think I would like that one as much as I do now. Of course I have been killing ‘Tears of Joy’ and I dig the ‘Too High For Love’ track because they both remind me of early Faith, but it is something about ‘Dumb’ that makes me go off. Where did the concept of that record come from?
Faith Evans: Well I had been writing to that track since last year before this project even came to be and a couple of friends of mine who are writers started toying around with some ideas for it and I liked it and we just built on that. So when I finally got in gear to start doing this project the song was already pretty much done and it made sense and it meant less time that I had to spend in the studio because I already had a record. But the concept actually came from some of my friends. It sounds very personal given my situation, (laughs) but it just made sense and it’s sick. Maybe they were speaking for me.
RoJay: Well you definitely have your sound going and like with any artist I definitely have my favorites. My top two favs… well actually let me mention three of my favorites from you would definitely have to be ‘Never Gonna Let You Go’, ‘Burnin Up’ and ‘You Gets No Love’. You can pretty much watch me lose it to those records. I like that fire you give on those type records. Are we going to see ‘Fire-y’ Faith anytime soon?
Faith Evans: Oh, I’m still that girl when it’s time. I’m still that girl. She’s in here. (laughs) If this was a full album of just Faith records you would definitely hear some of that, but you know that was just a little something as far as my appearances on the project to tie my fans over until my next solo album which I was working on before the show got picked up and we decided to do this project. So I’m coming soon with that. You’ll get Firey Faith.
RoJay: I can’t wait for that! As far as this new era of music, there is always discussion about how the real singers kind of get ignored for the novelty type or gimmick acts of today. I know that was one good thing about your project because you are reminding music lovers that singers still exist, but how do you feel about real singers almost getting slept on during this new era?
Faith Evans: I don’t know. I don’t know if I would agree with that. I definitely know what you mean, but I guess that just depends on how you’re judging that. Yea, maybe not so much when it comes to awards and being on power stations but that doesn’t always lead to longevity. I always see people and I like to use the example of Frankie Beverly and Maze who haven’t had a record out in twenty years, but are able to make a living doing shows for half of the year because they have real fans, they can put on a good show and they have quality music that’s not just for the moment. So you know I hear a lot of my music on the radio whether it’s on this station or that station. It doesn’t matter to me because I know there is an audience out there that loves what I do.
And I think I can speak for some of the other ladies. You want to grow and there’s nothing wrong with getting more fans and being recognized on a mainstream level but that doesn’t always mean you’re gonna be around forever. I’ll take being able to do shows forever than having a big #1 hit right now. You know what I’m saying?
RoJay: Oh definitely. I got you. I work for a radio station as well and usually when I am in my mode and I’m doing throwbacks or whatever I always reach for this one record of yours. Definitely placing in my top 5 records from Faith, but that is ‘All Nite Long’.
Faith Evans: (laughs) I start my show with that one. That’s a nice one to get it going.
RoJay: It still goes hard. I love it. Well I have one more question for you and then I will let you go because I know you’re busy, but once you decide that you want to hang up the microphone and just be Faith. What is the one thing you hope your Faithfuls learn from your journey in life?
Faith Evans: Not to sound corny, but you know to always have Faith and to always lean on your relationship with God for those who have one. That’s the only way I was able to be courageous and be strong enough to know that there was something beyond the struggles. Nothing is really easy and no matter what you do or what your career is there is going to be ups, there is going to be downs, there is going to be whatever. We just gotta pray and get through it. It’s not always easy. And it’s a lot easier these days because of technology for people to be heard and some people feel that is what has destroyed the quality of music and I don’t agree. I think if people are gonna receive they are gonna receive it. If there is an audience for something then there is an audience. You can’t be mad at the newcomers or the people that find a different way to get out there a little faster than you did. It’s all good. If that’s the path that God has for them then that’s what it is. I think you gotta worry about you, stay grounded and stay focused and what’s for you is gonna be yours.
RoJay: Well thank you again for your time. This has been a long time in the making for me, so I am officially happy.
Faith Evans: Well I am glad we got to do it. Where are you from? You sound like you are from down south.
RoJay: (laughs) Is it that telling? I’m from Alabama.
Faith Evans: Oh ok. I was gonna say Atlanta or something. Yea, you definitely have your southern accent. That’s cute though.
RoJay: Ha! Well thank you. I’m definitely a country boy.
Faith Evans: I know. Those are the ones that are typically very courteous and polite. I’m not mad.
RoJay: My mama wouldn’t have it any other way! (laughs) Thank you. Tell the family ‘hello’ and trust that you always have my support and MiddleChild Promotions as well.
Faith Evans: Thank you. Have a good one.
New Album ‘Faith Evans: R&B Divas’ available now and be sure to tune in tonight for the season finale of R&B Divas on TVOne at 10pm EST.