Faith Evans is a fusion of resiliency, talent, and craftiness, and a force all her own—a woman who lives up to her name. Eight wildly popular albums, including a Christmas album and compilation project with her VH1 R&B Divas co-stars, best-selling memoir, Grammy Awards—the list extends into an incredibly impressive catalog filled with hits upon hits, an accomplishment only a handful of artists can boast about. Equipped with a buttery crème voice, the ex-R&B Divas reality star is about her business.
It’s been over 20 years since we were first introduced to the style chameleon, who’s been rocking platinum blonde up-do’s, burgundy curls a la curly fries, to straight and jet black, when she sang her heart on the 1995 track, “You Used to Love Me,” from her self titled debut album.
Affectionately known as the First Lady of Bad Boy, the author, who penned Keep the Faith: A Memoir in 2008, is continuing her stint as one of R&B’s classic voices on P. Diddy’s nationwide Bad Boy Reunion tour. Not only is the show a welcomed stroll down memory lane, laced with nostalgia from days of old for ’80s babies, the R&B mainstay premiered new track from The King & I featuring Jadakiss.
Her career is shining evidence of Evans simply keeping the faith.
The Source caught up with the “Gets No Love” singer at Chicago’s Beauty Chronicles Women Empowerment Brunch, hosted by ORS Olive Oil, Brand Maverick Entertainment and Prolific Music Group on Thursday, September 1 as the all-female panel (Evans, Total and Laurieann Gibson) talked #NoStereotypes in hair and beauty for men and women of color before the kick off the Bad Boy Reunion tour. She also dished on her new album featuring her late husband Biggie Smalls, the reunion tour and overcoming insecurities.
The Source: What were some of insecurities you’ve struggled with and how did you overcome them in the music industry?
Faith Evans: I had insecurities in not knowing that it’s OK to actually speak up for myself sometimes. I like to say I got the best of both worlds because my grandparents raised me and my mom also raised me, but my grandmother is super nice, doesn’t want to offend anybody even if someone is doing her wrong, she won’t tell them, whereas my mother is very no-nonsense, like what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong, and she will definitely speak what’s on her mind. I grew up more with my grandmother [traits] and realized later on that my mother is in me, too and I better let her peek out every once in awhile [laughs]. So people don’t take advantage of you and take your kindness for weakness.
In addition to that, once I got my deal, I didn’t come into the industry thinking that I was going to be an artist. I didn’t think I was in the best of shape. I was just a girl who could sing from church. So having children, I gained a lot of weight from all my pregnancies and during that time I was in the public eye, and whether someone perceived them [my insecurities] or not.
At that time, a lot of the styling process for curvy and fluffy women was just to put on more clothes, as opposed to now you have fashion that is sexy for curvy women. But I don’t think that’s something I really express to people because I still had to work, still had to make music, and make money and pay the bills.
What advice would you give to a woman who’s struggling with low self-esteem?
It starts at the top of your body actually—in your mind. It’s mental. If it is about your self-image, look to some curvy people who are truly representing and are proud of it. I’ve been recently watching Ashley Graham— I just love her swag! Whatever your size is, there may be deeper issues to make someone wallow in that place, but it definitely starts in your mind. If you walk out there like, “I’m fly! I’m beautiful,” that energy transfers.
Looking back over your 20 year career, any regrets? Anything you’d do differently?
I would apply the fact that everyone is coming from a good place. I always expect that until I see different- and that’s not a good thing because God knows that about me, but at the same time you might get thrown off if someone isn’t. But luckily I’ve been able to come through those situations. I’m still here!
What can fans expect from the Bad Boy Reunion tour?
A lot of energy! A lot of Puff… a whole lot of Puff… whole, whole lot of Puff! *laughs*
What can we expect from you musically?
Just finishing up my new album The King & I with me and BIG. I got a new street single with Jadakiss I’m going to perform a little bit of it on the tour.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for love?
That’s crazy cause when I think back on it I don’t know if it really was for “love” or out of anger and rage [laughs].
This is probably not the craziest thing, but this is something I know that will be in people’s minds or at least the people who’s seen Notorious, but it does combine rage, too. That scene where I got on the plane on the first flight out, I called Cheryl to keep Chyna and she’s like, “What do you mean, it’s five in the morning!” “I was like I got to go somewhere!” So that scene in the movie that would definitely be on the list of one of the craziest things.
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