Thursday, August 23, 2012

What Happened? Faith Evans

Faith Evans
Evans was born in Lakeland, Florida to, Helene Evans, a professional singer and Richard Swain, was a musician who left before Evans was born (Evans has said "I've heard people mumble something about him being Italian, but I don't know for sure").A half year later, 19-year-old Helene returned to Newark, New Jersey and left Faith with her cousin Johnnie Mae and husband Orvelt Kennedy. It was not until a couple of years later that Helene's career floundered and she tried to take Evans back home. Faith, however, was afraid to leave what she'd "been used to", and instead, Helene relocated next door.

Raised in a Christian home, Evans began singing at church at age two. At age four, she caught the attention of the congregation of the Emmanuel Baptist Church (in Newark) when she sang The 5th Dimension's song "Let the Sunshine In".While attending University High School in Newark, she sang with several jazz bands and, encouraged by Helene, entered outside pageants, festivals and contests, where her voice would be noticed and praised. After graduating from high school during 1991, Evans attended Fordham University in New York City to study marketing but left a year later to have daughter Chyna with music producer Kiyamma Griffin. A couple of months later, she relocated to Los Angeles, where she worked as a backup vocalist for singer Al B. Sure, when she was noticed by musician Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs. Impressed with her persona, Combs contracted her as the company's first female artist to his Bad Boy Entertainment during 1994.

Newly contracted to Bad Boy Records, Evans was consulted by executive producer Combs to contribute backing vocals and writing skills to Mary J. Blige's My Life (1994) and Usher's self-titled debut album (1994) prior to starting work on her debut record album Faith released on August 29, 1995. Faith became a success based on the singles "You Used to Love Me" and "Soon as I Get Home". The album was certified Platinum with 1,500,000 copies sold, according to RIAA.

On August 4, 1994, Evans married rapper and label mate The Notorious B.I.G., after having met him at a Bad Boy photoshoot. The couple had one child together, Christopher Wallace, Jr. (born October 29, 1996), but the marriage was turbulent as Wallace reportedly had several affairs during their union, including relationships with fellow rappers Lil' Kim and Charli Baltimore. Additionally, it led to Evans' involvement in the East Coast-West Coast hip hop feud, dominating the rap music news at the time, which ended with Wallace's murder in a yet-to-be-solved drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, California in March 1997, and made Evans "Rap's most famous widow".

During early 1997, after her separation from Wallace, but before his death, Evans was introduced to record company executive Todd Russaw. Faith began dating Russaw during her and Wallace's separation and eventually, after Wallace died, Evans became pregnant by Russaw. The couple had their first son Joshua on June 8, 1998.

After Biggie's murder during March 1997, Combs helped Evans produce her tribute song named "I'll Be Missing You", based on the melody of The Police's 1983 single "Every Breath You Take". The song, which featured Combs, Evans, and all-male group 112, became a worldwide number-one success and debuted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart during 1997, scoring that for eleven weeks. It eventually won Puffy and Evans the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

The next year, she received another two Grammy nominations for "Heartbreak Hotel", a collaboration with singers Whitney Houston and Kelly Price, that scored number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Prior to Evans meeting and having a relationship with The Notorious B.I.G., she was involved in a relationship with Kiyamma Griffin. She and Griffin had a daughter named Chyna (born April 1, 1993).
Two years in the making, Evans' second solo effort, Keep the Faith, was released during October 1998. Almost entirely written and produced by her, Evans considered the album difficult to complete as she had initially felt discouraged about the progress at first. enjoying commercial success, it eventually went platinum and produced the top ten singles "Love Like This" and "All Night Long" (released March 30, 1999) prompting Evans to start an 18-city theater tour with Dru Hill and Total the following year.

Having previously appeared in stage plays as a teenager, Evans began acting with a supporting role in director Robert Adetuyi's 2000 music drama Turn It Up, featuring Pras Michel from the The Fugees, Jason Statham and Ja Rule. Released to generally negative reviews from critics, who noted it "patently absurd in both the details and larger aspects", the indie film had a short play and became a financial disappointment, gaining US$1.24 million during its U.S. run only.

Evans' third album on the Bad Boy imprint, named Faithfully (2001), involved her working with a wider range of producers, including The Neptunes, Mario Winans, Buckwild, Vada Nobles, Cory Rooney, and others. Her first project with husband Todd Russaw as executive producer and creative partner, the album scored number 14 on the Billboard 200 album chart and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, eventually being certified platinum, but yielded moderately successful singles, with the Jennifer Lopez-written "I Love You" becoming the only top twenty entry. Released amid Bad Boy Records' transition from distributor Arista Records to Universal, Evans felt Faithfully received minimum assistance by the company, and during 2004, she finally decided to end her business with Bad Boy as she was convinced Combs couldn't improve her career any more due to his other commitments.

During 2003, Evans acted in the MTV-produced romantic comedy The Fighting Temptations in which she appeared in a brief but major role portraying a single mother and night club singer. Filmed in Columbus, Georgia and headed by Cuba Gooding, Jr. (her character is his mother) and Beyoncé Knowles, the film garnered mixed reviews by critcs, but scored top three of the U.S. box office, resulting in a domestic gross of US$30.2 million. In addition, Evans recorded a contemporary cover version of Donna Summer's 1978 success "Heaven Knows" for the film which her characters performs during one of the first in sequence in the film. The accompanying soundtrack scored the top twenty of the U.S. Billboard 200.
During January 2004, Evans and Russaw were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and cocaine and an improper tag violation during a traffic stop in Hapeville, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

During 2004, Evans earned a brief guest stint on the UPN situation comedy Half & Half.

After ending with Bad Boy Entertainment Evans contracted with Capitol Records company, becoming the first contemporary R&B artist to do so, and started work on her fourth studio album The First Lady, named after her nickname on her former label. As opposed to having an in-house team of producers who supplied most of the previous material, she and Russaw were able to gain more creative control of the album and consulted producers such as Bryan-Michael Cox, Jermaine Dupri, Mike Caren, Pharrell Williams, and Chucky Thompson to contribute to it. Upon its release in April 2005, The First Lady scored at number two on the Billboard 200 and #1 of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, becoming Evans' best-charting album to date. It was eventually certified gold by the RIAA. At the end of the year, Evans released A Faithful Christmas, a holiday album of traditional Christmas songs and original tracks. The effort would become her last release on Capitol Records as the company was bought during 2007.

Evans and Russaw were married, and on March 22, 2007, they had their second son Ryder Evan Russaw.
Evans released her autobiographic book called Keep the Faith: A Memoir on August 29, 2008. It detailed the singer's life, but also discussed Evans' controversial relationship with her late husband, the Notorious B.I.G.:

"I want people to understand that although he was a large part of my life, my story doesn't actually begin or end with Big's death. My journey has been complicated on many levels. And since I am always linked to Big, there are a lot of misconceptions about who I really am. It's not easy putting your life out there for the masses. But I've decided I'll tell my own story. For Big. For my children. And for myself."
In its initial release, "Keep the Faith: A Memoir" landed in the Top 20 on New York's Best Seller's List two consecutive weeks in a row. During 2009, the book received The 2009 African American Literary Award for Best Biography/Memoir.

Following a longer hiatus, Evans signed a deal with E1 Entertainment - the largest independent record label in the United States - in 2010. Her sixth studio album Something About Faith was released on October 5, 2010 in the United States and December 6, 2010 in the UK. In the US, the album debuted and peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard 200, number four on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and number one on the Independent Albums chart, failing however to chart oustide the US - making it Evans' only album since her debut Faith to chart in the US only. Something About Faith has spawned the single and music video "Gone Already"; which spent over thirty-three weeks on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, where it peaked at number twenty-two. On February 14, 2011, a high definition music video for "Right Here" was released on Evans' official YouTube account, suggesting that it is the second single from the album, though this is yet to be confirmed.

In August 2010, she was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor drunken driving, after being stopped at a checkpoint in Marina del Rey, California. The couple agreed to spend 13 weeks in a drug-treatment program in exchange for halting any further prosecution of their drug-possession case.
 In May 2011, Evans and Russaw announced they were getting a divorce, and stated they would like to keep it quiet for the children's sakes.

2012 Faith Evans starred in the tv reality show R&B Divas airing on TvOne.

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