EP REVIEW: Tiffany Evans – ‘All Me’

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If the name Tiffany Evans sounds familiar to you, it should. You may have seen the then-10-year-old singer’s flawless Star Search appearances. They culminated in her winning the junior division championship after becoming the first contestant to receive perfect scores for all performances. Or perhaps you’ve caught her in Tyler Perry’s 2005 debut film Diary of a Mad Black Woman, if not in the theater then during one its zillion TV airings, as his out-of-drag character’s pint-size but big-voiced church choir soloist daughter. Then again, the buzz she garnered in the early years of her recording career might have reached your radar, especially with the name recogntion of her duet partner Ciara on the single “Promise Ring.”

And if “Tiffany Evans” still doesn’t ring a bell, well, again, it should. As one of the most promising young vocalist to emerge over the past decade, she ought to be in every conversation about the most talented singers in contemporary soul music. But unfortunately talent and fame do not always have a direct relationship. Despite a promising sign of things to come via the Ciara team-up, a cover of Stacy Lattisaw’s lovesick-lass classic “Let Me Be Your Angel,” and later releasing great singles such as “I’ll Be There” and “Baby Don’t Go,” the notoriety she deserves has eluded her. Here’s hoping that all changes with her solid new EP All Me.

From the jump, Evans shows she’s got the goods to capture your ear with the irresistible groove of the first track, “On Sight.” Boasting an assist from rapper Fetty Wap, it shows the sensual side of a lady who is far removed from the kid many first saw on Star Search. Now 23 and married with a child, she is clearly eager to let the world get to know the woman she has become.

The EP’s other bookend, the closing track “100 Percent,” drives that point home as a statement of her devotion to 3-year-old daughter Adalia. Evans and co-writer Rahim “Go To” Roberts, her collaborator on all seven tracks, also showcase her growth on that moving, piano-driven ballad. It’s also an example of Evans’s tempered delivery, offering just the right mix of emotion and power rather than exaggerated, over-the-top wailing.

Also standing out from the batch are the seductive “Talk a Good Game,” appropriately placed as the second track, making for a smooth thematic segue from the flirtatious opener “On Sight.” A grown and sexy vibe is also a winning touch on the provocative “T.M.I.” and the thumping “Me and You.” And although All Me has its pedestrian moments (“Put You On,” “Hands in da Air”), it is an overall satisfying listen.

If the EP All Me is any indication, then the next full-length album by Evans will be well-worth the long wait.

4 out of 5 stars

Standout Tracks: “On Sight,” “Me and You” and “100 Percent”

Buy All Me on iTunes now!

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Tiffany Evans Reminds Us ‘Money Ain’t Everything’ on New Song

Tiffany Evans is using her beautiful voice to spread a positive message. The singer/actress has released a new track on her Soundcloud called “Money Ain’t Everything.”

Evans revealed she wrote and recorded the song four years ago. “I was in a really vulnerable space in my life,” she said in a statement. “I remember being fed up with the world being so materialistic to the point where we hurt others just to get what we want. I just wanted to spread a message that Money Ain’t Everything. It doesn’t guarantee life or happiness or true love. Inner peace, compassion for others and your purpose is really all that matters in the end. With the way everything is happening in the world right now, I hope this song speaks to every soul out there that is seeking Peace.”

“Money Ain’t Everything” is the first song Evans has released this year. Although the track isn’t an official single it will definitely hold over fans until she drops her new project later this year.

Listen to “Money Ain’t Everything” below.

Justine Skye, Let’s Talk ‘Ultraviolet’: A Career Conversation

I’ve been following Justine Skye for a while. Not as far back as her Tumblr days, but around the time her Tyga-assisted cut “Collide” began to pick up some steam.

Over the past three years since, Skye has produced a couple of solid records, had some impressive sponsorships and endorsements, and even landed a record deal with Roc Nation. Minor successes aside, there’s been a common note when I’ve mentioned her name in conversation: “She’s not memorable.” And that criticism is more than valid. As someone who has kept up with her work, I even have trouble remembering most of the tracks from her three EPs (although, admittedly, I’d rather not remember her 8 Ounces EP.) Skye’s musical issues ultimately boil down to two things: artistry and execution.

We all know that every successful recording artist isn’t original, or even necessarily talented. However, those type of artists know their market, work within the limits of their artistry, and execute accordingly. The reason why it’s been hard for this Brooklyn beauty to pop is because we, as consumers, don’t know what sport she’s playing nor the arena she’s playing in.

On the artistic side of things, Skye has always struggled to nail her “sound.” Her singing voice is quite generic — which isn’t a dig, nor a hindrance necessarily — but her lyrics are also somewhat lackluster, as well as her ad-libs. Nothing truly stands out, and because Skye’s artistry hasn’t developed, her music sways with the trends of the and sounds of the time. I expressed these concerns in a series of tweets back in 2016 — which ultimately got me blocked on my old Twitter account by Ms. Skye, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Justine Skye Tweet 3Let’s talk execution. Skye released “U Don’t Know” featuring Nigerian singer WizKid in September 2016, with the accompanying video released the following month. Then, a little over a month after the video release, she releases her 8 Ounces EP without “U Don’t Know.” Yet, in 2018, she included the mid-tempo track on her album, and this time without the WizKid feature.

Poor execution.

Sometimes the first single doesn’t work, so that’s okay. She tried again in July with “Back for More” featuring Jeremih. Despite the seven month stretch between singles, the song was an appropriate, summer jam. Unfortunately, even with the feature, the song didn’t get past a few adds at urban radio. The video was released in early August, and then it was silence again from Team Skye.

Poor execution.

Skye then releases third single “Don’t Think About It” on December 1. A week later, she announced the release of her debut album with another single — the PARTYNEXTDOOR-penned “Goodlove” and the video for “Don’t Think About It.” By the time the album dropped, she released another single (“Heaven”), which totaled a five tracks from a 10-track album.

Even with all of these musical misfires, I decided to give the album a listen. After listening to the 33-minute project, I was left generally underwhelmed. Although short albums aren’t common, they can definitely work with a strong thematic direction (see: Lalah Hathaway’s honestly. and Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic.)

Ultraviolet suffers from a combination of issues, but ultimately the music just fails to hit. I must say, though, that “Goodlove” and “You Got Me” have been on repeat, and guess who penned both of these tracks? PARTYNEXTDOOR. On a 10-track album, if the two standouts are written by the same person, I think that’s worth noting. Hit-Boy’s production on “Lil’ Boy” was also a bright spot for me on this otherwise mid-tempo album.

I don’t have anything against Justine Skye or her music, even. She’s given us jams like “Never Leave,” “I’m Yours” and “Messin’ w/You.” However, if she wants a serious shot at chart success, she’s going to need to find her artistic voice and learn how to properly execute when it comes to the visuals, singles, and the art of timing.

Ultraviolet has left me with more questions than answers, but the biggest question of all is still, “Who is Justine Skye?”

Follow Nathan on Twitter @TheGreatIsNate.

From 2008: R&B Albums That Turn 10 This Year

Another ten years has caught up with us in the realm of R&B music.

Let’s jog your memory for a minute. For starters, 2008 saw Mariah Carey touch the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the 18th time with “Touch My Body.” Usher showed his strength by “Moving Mountains,” while Beyoncé led ladies to the club, singing, “If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.”

We heard the debut projects from Day26, Jennifer Hudson, Tiffany Evans and Jazmine Sullivan. Also, 2008 ended listeners music drought from veterans Deborah Cox, Ashanti, Keith Sweat and Brandy.

Rated R&B has compiled a list of 31 R&B/soul albums that celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2018.

Randomness: On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama won presidency, becoming the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States.

Raheem DeVaughn — Love Behind the Melody
Release Date: January 15
Record Label: Jive Records
Singles: “Woman,” “Customer” and “Text Messages”

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