From gospel to house, these songs have helped shape the R&B diva that Faith Evans is today.
As we count down to the ESSENCE Festival, taking place June 30-July 3 in New Orleans, artists from our power-packed lineup wiill sum up their lives—from childhood to stardom—in 10 songs. This week it’s R&B diva Faith Evans, who will bring her classic hip-hop soul flavor to the Superdome.
1. “Let the Sunshine In”
“A song that was in an episode of my favorite cartoon, The Flintstones. It ended up being my debut number at my church when I was around 2 1/2 years old.”
2. “Jesus Loves Me”
“This is the first song I was taught and sang in the children’s choir at the age of 3.”
3. “You Brought the Sunshine”
“The Clark Sisters song that infused all the musical genres that I was familiar with at that time in my childhood. I was literally intrigued by their sound immediately and would study their songs, harmonies and vocal arrangements for many years to come.”
4. “Superstar/Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” by Luther Vandross
“The first song that I heard on the radio and dissected the lyrics to. I’m not sure why, but I remember doing it. I guess it was the ‘I’m unaware, but I’m gonna be a songwriter’ in me.”
5. “Love Sensation”
“A soulful house record by Loleatta Holloway that blasted from many car stereos in Newark [New Jersey], where house/club music has a cult following. I always loved the ones that had singers who sounded like they were from the church, and this was a pretty popular song.”
6. “The Lord’s Prayer”
“The song I sang when I won a pageant at the age of 8. It would be one of my go-to songs when I was put on the spot to sing.”
7. “Move Your Body” by Marshall Jefferson
“Another club/house record that played continuously at Twin City roller-skating rink in Newark, where we would go on some Saturdays during my pre-teen and teenage years.”
8. Any song from Anita Baker’s Rapture album
“I think I sang every single one at some point for all the school talent shows after it was released.”
9. “Jesus Is a Love Song”
“Another Clark Sisters song that I sang with a gospel group that I had joined for a few years during high school. I had been seriously working on my singing chops when we performed this one.”
10. “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”
“This is a gospel hymn that Puff would ask me to sing at different label meetings when I first signed to Bad Boy. I also sang it at the funeral of his grandmother. It has taken on a very prophetic meaning, as I can confirm that God has watched, covered and protected me as I’ve navigated life and this business, and he continues to do so!”
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