Tennerz: Faith Evans – Fragile (Prolific Music Group)
Now you tell me… Who’s the one of us who has never like so to say frozen specific picture of his/her existence at times? That thing we could notice for instance whenever having the impression of a revival in music. This has been most likely the case in Pharrell‘s recent productions. And R&B songstress Faith Evans makes no exception on the aptly titled ‘Fragile’. There, she brings a 70’s feeling, miles away from the continuous flow of deja vu (already heard) on the R&B scene.
Floating on a sample of The Mamas & The Papas‘ classic ‘California Dreamin’, she vibrantly delivers a melancholic performance, as if it was a reminder of her past life. And it could well be, as a matter of fact! Meanwhile revealing another facet of her personality…
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A native of Lakeland, FL, Faith Evans was born to a mother (Helene) who was a professional singer. And a father who was a musician, but left before Faith even saw the light of the day. Six months after, her mom returned to Newark, NJ, leavin’ Faith at her cousin’s Johnnie Mae and her husband. Themselves the foster parents of more than 100 kids by the time Faith lived with them.
Raised in a Christian home, Evans began singing at church at age of two. While attending University High School in Newark, she came to sing with various Jazz bands and performed as much as she could at various events. Upon graduating from high school, she eventually attended NYC’s Fordam University where she studied marketing for a year. Putting a stop to her activities to welcome her first child with music producer Kiyamma Griffin.
Relocating to Los Angeles, CA in 1993, she eventually collaborated with Hi-Five, Christopher Williams and Al B. Sure! as a backup vocalist. Eventually coming to the attention of Sean Puffy Combs who contracted her as the first female artist to his Bad Boy Entertainment label the year after. A company for which she collaborated with several label mates such as 112 and Carl Thomas. Not to mention the late The Notorious B.I.G.. This in addition to 3 albums which she recorded between 1995 and 2001.
That same year (1994), she appeared as a backing vocalist for Mary J Blige on her ‘My Life’ album. As for Usher on his eponymous debut-album produced by Sean Puffy Combs. Meanwhile she came to marry The Notorious B.I.G. on Aug. 04, 1994, a few weeks after meeting at a Bad Boy photo shoot.
‘Faith’, her debut-album, hit the streets Stateside on Aug. 29, 1995 in the United States. It spawned the classics ‘You Used To Love Me’ and ‘Soon As I Get Home’. This in addition to a cover version of Rose Royce‘s hit ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ featuring Mary J Blige on the original pressings of the album.
Early 1997, after her separation from The Notorious B.I.G. but before his death, Evans got introduced by her friend, Missy Elliott, to record executive Todd Russaw. With the two soon after dating before having their first kid on June 08, 1998.
After Biggie‘s assassination on March 09, 1997, Evans worked on the production of her tribute song to him with the help of Combs. This resulting in the release of the famous ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ featuring label mates 112, built on a sample of The Police‘s ‘Every Breath You Take’. The latter getting Evans and her producer to win the 1998 Grammy Award for “Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group”.
‘Keep The Faith’, her second album, saw the light in October 1998. With ‘Love Like This’, its leading single, standing as Evans‘ biggest classic. Eventually peakin’ at #2 position on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, meanwhile built on a sample of Chic‘s ‘Chic Cheer’. Then itself sampled back in 1999 by Fatman Scoop on ‘Be Faithful’.
The boiling hot ‘All Night Long’ standing as another highlight of the album. This with its rhythm line partly using a sample of Unlimited Touch‘s ‘I Hear Music In The Streets’.
Evans‘ third album, ‘Faithfully’, landed in November 2001. But despite the presence of the Jennifer Lopez penned ‘I Love You’ and a duet with Carl Thomas on ‘Can’t Believe’, Evans felt it didn’t get the support it should have got from the label. Thus bringin’ her to break her contract with Bad Boy in 2004 and sign with Capitol Records.
2005 saw Evans debutting on her new label with her fourth album by the likes of ‘First Lady’. This along with producers likes Chucky Thompson, The Neptunes and Mario Winans whom she’d already worked with in the past. Among its highlights, the laidback ‘Again’ produced by Carvin & Ivan, using a sample from The Whatnauts‘ ‘Genuine’. But also ‘Mesmerized’ sounding like an updated answer to the music of singers such as Lynn Collins or Aretha Franklin.
It took an extra five years before Faith Evans returned with a new album (‘Something About Faith’). And this on her own Prolific Music Group label this time. It saw her once again working with Chucky Thompson. But also with Carvin & Ivan and Mike City. Meanwhile sharing the duties with luminaries such as Snoop Dogg on ‘Way You Move’ or Redman on ‘Party’. Not to mention ‘Can’t Stay Away’ along with Keyshia Cole.
In May 2011, Evans and Russaw announced they were getting a divorce. And a few months later, Evans expanded her activities. This while acting as the co-executive producer but also a cast member of the TV One reality show ‘R&B Divas: Atlanta’. The show bringin’ her to put together a compilation album titled after its name in 2012.
Evans left the show following its second season and released her album – ‘Incomparable’ in 2014. It saw her sharing the duties with Missy Elliott and Sharaya J on ‘I Deserve It’. Meanwhile we welcomed the laidback and heartfelt ‘Fragile’ in our Top 10 at the time. This before doin’ the same in 2017, although as our Single Of The Week with the infectious ‘When I Luv’ along with Mike City. A gem that eventually got the remixing treatment of Kenny Dope.
By about the same time, ATCO Records released a duet album – ‘The King & I’ – by the likes of Faith Evans and The Notorious B.I.G..