Best known for beautifully belted ballads like “I’ll Be There” and “Promise Ring” featuring Ciara, Tiffany Evans has re-emerged on the scene with a brand-new attitude. In 2003, Evans rose to fame on “Star Search,” as a pint-sized contestant whose powerful performances snagged her the title of Grand Champion in the junior singer division. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Evans made “Star Search” history as the first contestant to earn perfect scores across the board.
Now, having gained creative freedom and experiencing motherhood for the second time, the musician, mother, and businesswoman is living life on her terms, despite the challenges life has thrown her way. Most recently, the singer-songwriter released a new EP, All Me, featuring grown girl swag and collaborations with artists like rapper Fetty Wap.
This week, rolling out chopped it up with Evans, who gushed about her upcoming projects, new sound, the challenges of being a businesswoman, motherhood and so much more.
What inspired you to switch it up?
I think it has a lot to do with growth and time away from music. I’ve always wanted to experiment with my sound — wanted to do things I thought were true to me. But earlier on in my career, I didn’t have that much creative control — it was the industry. So, when I finally had the opportunity to step back and learn, write — I was already writing — but write music and sing my songs, I was ready to take a different approach.
What do you want to be the biggest take away for fans, from this album?
The biggest takeaway, would be for them to hear the growth. If you were to listen to my older music, you can tell that I was very young — that’s just it. I wasn’t able to sing about much.
Now, I think you’re really able to hear the growth — what I’m feeling at this time. It’s absolutely real and authentic. It’s not just something I’m doing because someone else is doing it. It’s just a real honest inside look at how I’m feeling in this very moment.
You recently welcomed a daughter. It just so happens you also recorded your EP while pregnant and then juggling motherhood. What advice would you give young women in the same boat; juggling motherhood and chasing a dream?
I would definitely say that it’s not easy. You know I had to go through a phase where I had to get my confidence back; I think everyone goes through that phase. I already had one daughter, so I knew I could do this [motherhood] again. I didn’t let anyone tell me “oh, you’re about to have a second child, you should sit down; it’s going to be impossible.”
No, it’s not impossible. It may be extremely hard. But my motivation was to be an example for other women, to let them know that you can still follow your dream or open that business. You may have to take a little time to adjust things and show your baby some love, but never let motherhood slow you down. If anything, it should make you feel empowered. That’s how I felt.
Many people know you as a singer. What they may not know is that you’re also a businesswoman. What inspired you to launch your eyewear company, Eye Hunee?
Eye Hunee was just an idea in 2013. I wanted to do something dope, like T-shirts with catchy slogans on them — I actually had a vision that it would be bigger than that and go into cosmetics and clothing. Then in 2014, I was fortunate to be able to sit down with someone who had the same vision, only geared towards eyewear. They thought it was such a dope name and I said you know, “let’s just give it a shot.”
So then, we teamed up with a designer and came up with two designs for the glasses — and everything went pretty fast from there. This was my first time going off into the fashion world-something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s been doing really well and it’s exciting to say the least.
I would still like to see it expand into cosmetics and a clothing line. It [Eye Hunee] really is the perfect name for anything. But right now, we’re accessories and sunglasses.
What was your biggest challenge in launching your business? What advice would you give other women with the dream of owning their own business?
The biggest challenge I would say for me is being a woman. I think it’s like that for a lot of women. Say you disagree with a certain decision, people have a hard time differentiating whether a woman is trying to make a solid point or just being emotional.
It’s sad, because if a man were to disagree with a [business] decision — by being very blunt, not beating around the bush and [being] to the point, most people would say “that’s just how he does business.” Where as the woman may be looked at as b—-y, emotional or too assertive. I really had to be cautious on how I approached my business and learn how to express myself in a way that both men and women got it — across the board — without coming off [as] emotional.
My advice would be for women to be learn how to play well with others, without coming off [as] emotional. Learn how to play the game.
Up next, Evans is returning to her old stomping grounds in New York to film the music video for “On Sight,” in addition to re-releasing “All Me.” Fans may also get to see her on tour as Evans says she is ready to hit the road again as soon as summer 2016.
In the meantime, keep up with Evans on Twitter @mstiffevans or via Instagram @tiffanyevansofficial.