Tiffany Evans Speaks On New EP, Bill Cosby Controversy & Parenting Lessons [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
Everyone knows the music industry is cutthroat -- you can be here today and gone tomorrow. But what happens when you make a choice to leave the spotlight and attempt to re-enter the game years later? Singer Tiffany Evans is doing just that.
After she released her self-titled debut album in 2008, and collaborated with the likes of Ciara ('Promise Ring') and Bow Wow ('I'm Grown'), Evans had a promising career in front of her. She continued to deliver music to her fans, but then she took a step back before the world was able to grasp the full Tiffany Evans experience. However, it was for good reason.
The Bronx, N.Y. native became a wife and mother between 2011 and 2012 -- talk about maturing. Now at 22, she's returned with a new single, 'Baby Don't Go,' and a new attitude. The Boombox recently sat down with Evans to get details on her forthcoming EP, business ventures, advice for new moms and her love for Kendrick Lamar. From Bill Cosby's current controversy to Kim Kardashian's assets, she delves into a wealth of topics. Get involved below.
The Boombox: Why did you take time off from the music industry?
Tiffany Evans: Simply because I wanted to grow. I think that growth is essential when you want to write music and you want to be relatable. At that time, I really wanted to start learning the business for myself and experiencing life and being able to put it in music. I wanted to have people say, "That song actually helped me get through something, and I thank you for writing that." I just didn't want anyone else coming in and writing for me and it wasn't real.
Aside from 'Baby Don't Go,' tell me about another new song you're excited for fans to hear.
The song that I am excited for people to hear after 'Baby Don't Go' -- not saying that this is a single -- it's a record called 'Go to War.' It's about going to war for someone, anyone that I love. It's real heartfelt and a passionate record about sticking with that person that you love through the ups and downs, period. You know a lot of people may have things to say, but you are willing to stay because you love that person, so you go to war with that person.
Are you working on a new album? Tell us about any collaborations or producers you're working with.
I will say I am working on an EP right now. The EP will be released first quarter of 2015. It will give you guys a taste of what the album will sound like. As far as the producers go, I am working with this one producer, Ryan Anderson. To me he is underground, he's like the best kept secret. He's out of Baltimore and he's really amazing. He actually produced 'Baby Don't Go' with Chris Featherstone and our chemistry is really, really great. No one knows about him [Ryan], but you know when you have those people who just need that shot to show up an show out, he's one of those guys. He creates awesome records for me, and I love working with him. I am going to keep it like that because I feel like I found my sound.
Listen to Tiffany Evans' 'Baby Don't Go'
Which artists are you listening to today?
I would say one person that I really love right now -- and I am probably going to love forever -- is Kendrick Lamar. I love him. I think that he is so innovative and different. He's OK with that, and I love people who are OK with who they are. You can tell he's socially aware and conscious of everything that's going on in the world and he's not afraid to speak about those things, but still in a stylish way. He's relatable to everyone and everyone likes to groove to it. He tells stories and I love people who tell stories.
Any time an artist who is still developing leaves and tries to comeback, they are taking a big risk. What is your biggest fear now that you've returned?
I have no fears. I just know that one thing about music is that it speaks for itself. If your music is bad, it will be judged very poorly and if your music is great, then people will be able to connect. There's nothing else that you need to worry about. I just focus on trying to prepare myself. I worked hard to make sure that what I need to say is getting out there and that I am the best artist I can possibly be. I am not really worried if I am accepted or not because I know that my music is out there for a lot of people.
You and your family of 12 were once homeless and living out of your family van. Now you're once again on the road to stardom. What is your advice to people who are struggling to be where you are today?
A lot of times people come to me and they say, "I've heard about your story or I've heard about the things that you have been through. Before I heard about you I was going through things in my life and I didn't have anyone to talk and when I heard your testimony it helped me gain strength to just push through."
My advice for people who are just trying to grow or are struggling in their personal lives, I just always say that your life is not your own. People have to understand that there are many people going through the same thing, or it may be even worse and they feel like they can't make it out. But when they see that you have made it through that same situation and you are able to talk about it, that gives people strength more than we think. That's very important to keep in mind.
What are some parenting tips you have for young moms, especially working moms such as yourself?
Don't be so hard on yourself. I was so hard on myself because I am a first-time mom and I'm a working mother. When she was born, there were some mistakes that I made. Simple mistakes as far as the type of milk she should drink. I'm like, "Oh my God, I am not supposed to give her whole milk, she's only six months. What did I do?" I breast feed for 11 months, but at times when I tried to get back to work I would just see if she would drink some whole milk, and then her doctor was like, "She's not supposed to be having whole milk!" So, she broke out all over her face and we were both crying. I felt so bad.
But then someone came along and was like, "Don't be so hard on yourself, you are a first-time mom." You know how many mistakes you are going to make as a parent? You just have to be able to grow from them and learn from them. There's this new being in your life and you just have to let them know that you love her and you would do anything for her just to make sure that she survives.
As a mom, how did you feel about Kim Kardashian posing fully nude for Paper Magazine? Many people blasted her on social media for taking that step.
I could say that Kim Kardashian is a grown woman and I am sure she is fully aware of her actions. She is able to dissect and analyze the thoughts she has in her mind before she decides to do something. At that point, she will have to deal with that later and I am not saying whether it would be good or bad. But me personally, I wouldn't do it. I think it's important that it's OK to have sex appeal as a mother. We are women, we are attractive. But I wouldn't want you to see all my goodies; I would want you to know that I have some goodies [laughs].
I wouldn't want my daughter to think that I would be comfortable seeing her like that. If she grew up and did something like that I would be like, um, I mean you are a grown woman, but I would prefer for you to keep yourself a little more covered. But for Kim, everybody deals with things at the end of the day and she has to get to the end of the day. So it's not for me to judge her. I think she is a beautiful woman, she has a beautiful daughter and family. Whatever she deals with personally, she will have to deal with herself. But social media kind of gives everyone a chance to say something.
Watch Tiffany Evans' 'Promise Ring' Video Feat. Ciara
What are some of the things you've been doing outside of music from a business perspective?
I have my production company, Little Lady Enterprises. We are a full-service production company, and we work with mainly independent artists. A lot of artists don't know where to go if they wanted to get a video done or if they wanted to get a website done, or an electronic press kit done professionally. At lot of them think that you have to be part of a label to get that stuff done. We are here to help them start their projects and finish their projects. Little Lady has shot like five videos. [Also], mine for 'Baby Don't Go,' which is coming out next month. The production is quality. I actually also direct and produce through the company too.
Then I have Eye Hunee, an eyewear line that I started this year, but I thought of the name in 2012. At first we were thinking about doing a little cute T-shirt line, but we decided to do eyewear. I love all types of glasses, the round frames and the cat eyes. Let me explain the name. So you see something you like, and then you know honey is sweet. We launch in December at Eyehunee.com. We are working on getting in stores by March. But everyone from TLC to Columbus Short and the OMG Girlz have been seen wearing them.
2014 is about to come to an end. What's your favorite album of the year and why?
To be honest, I haven't really listened to any albums lately because I am so weird. When I am recording -- and I still am in the process of recording -- I like to zone out. Not that I don't listen to anybody's music. I mean I love Jhene [Aiko], I love Beyonce and a lot of other people. But when I am recording, I don't want to feel like, "Hey, this is so dope." I want to think, what would Tiffany do. But last year, when Beyonce came out with the digital album I thought that was very different. I recently watched the Velvet Rope tour, I love Janet [Jackson]. She's very on-point, she doesn't miss a step at all.
What is one life lesson you've learned in 2014 and how did you come to learn that lesson?
For me, prayer is very important. Just spending time alone with God, before anything happens. I have strong faith. For me to spend that quality time with him to say, "Hey, God thank you for waking me up this morning. What do you want me to do today?" Because I don't want to get caught up in my own feelings. I don't know how my life is going to go. But I've learned to slow down.
There would be times when I was running from place to place and it ran me dry. I used to be worn out by the end of the day. But now when I see myself getting that way, I say to myself, "Slow down," because when I was rushing, I was barely getting anything done. I found myself missing things a lot because I was rushing. During the recording process, not listening to things I may have missed on songs, I was so worried about timing and missing my season to come out.
'The Cosby Show' was the "ish" when you were little. How do you feel about hearing all the rape accusations against Bill Cosby?
It's very unfortunate. I don't know them to be true or to be untrue. I mean I loved 'The Cosby Show,' but I think that he has a lot on his plate right now. I am very disappointed that that happened. But whatever is done in the dark will come out to light, and I am not saying it happened or it's not true. I don't know all the facts -- God always sees all. God always knows how to handle stuff like that. I just hope that they are untrue, but if not, we need to pray for the families and Mr. Cosby.
Listen to Tiffany Evans' '143' Remix