Grammy Award-winning singer Faith Evans gained the support of R&B fans with songs like "You Used to Love Me" and "Love Like This." Evans will be taking R&B lovers for a ride on July 6th in New Orleans with her performance at the ESSENCE Festival. ESSENCE.com recently caught up with Evans, who shared what Festival-goers can expect from her show and her work with the TV One reality docu-series, "R&B Divas."
ESSENCE.com: You’re performing at the ESSENCE Festival on July 6. What do you love most about performing live?
Faith Evans: I’ve now come into feeling like I really know my voice and its capabilities. My fans like to hear songs from my records, but I know where the right places are to switch it up. I give them more than what they’ve heard on the record.
ESSENCE.com: Are there any performers you’re especially excited to see?
Evans: I’m looking forward to seeing Charlie Wilson as well as Mint Condition because they’ve always been one of my favorite bands.
ESSENCE.com: Where do you find inspiration for your music?
Evans: I’ve always been very grounded in my faith in God, who has helped me sustain things that have come before me. God has a way of enabling you to overcome.
ESSENCE.com: You’ve been in the music business for a while. What lesson do you wish you’d mastered earlier in your career?
Evans: I would like to go back and be as business-savvy as I am now. Now, I own my masters and myself (laughs). I try and be fair. I don’t take people’s credit or publishing. When it is my responsibility to pay someone, I pay them and I want the same in return. There are certain things you need to be aware of when you’re signing your name on anything. I have to think long and hard and go over it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it all makes sense.
ESSENCE.com: What was your experience like appearing on the first season of TV One's “R&B Divas” reality docu-series featuring Nicci Gilbert, Monifah, Syleena Johnson and KeKe Wyatt and working on its companion album of the same name?
Evans: Nicci initially asked me to come on board as an executive producer and help her pitch the show. When we started taking meetings, it made sense for me to be a part of the cast. It was cool. I never really was in a position where I was asked to compromise any of my boundaries.
The album is a companion piece to the TV show. I had always wanted to do an album with a bunch of female singers. When Nicci and I were trying to figure out what the show was going to be about, we were all at Kelly Price’s Grammys party the last night that Whitney Houston was on stage. It just came to me that it made sense for all of us to do that record and for that to be the premise of the first season of the show. A portion of the album’s proceeds are directed to the Whitney E. Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts in New Jersey. It’s a way to give back to the community as well as honor Whitney.