Faith Evans: 'I Didn't Make My Album With the Goal of It Fitting In'

The chanteuse on why her new record, Incomparable, has a place in today’s pop music.

Faith Evans is one of the foremothers of the '90s R&B sound. From “You Used to Love Me,” to “Love Like This” to “You Gets No Love,” Evans populated the soul music scene with a hit parade of funky singles that kept a generation grooving for nearly two decades.

Now the Grammy Award-winning artist is back with her sixth studio album, Incomparable, which features collaborations with Missy Elliot, KeKe Wyatt and Karen Clark-Sheard and is available in stores and on iTunes today. When she spoke to recently, Evans chatted about her new release, her personal connection to Elliot and why she left reality TV.

BET.comIncomparable marks your sixth release since your debut album, Faith, nearly 20 years ago. What can audiences expect from it?
Faith: This album is my favorite because it reminds me a lot of my debut and my Faithfully album, which are two fan favorites. Incomparable has the interludes that my fans know me for, different tempos, and I tapped into a couple of different inspirations. I sampled Mamas and the Papas, D Train, and an Aretha Franklin record. So it has a nice balance of hip hop and R&B. I try to be consistent with just making feel-good music — music that I feel. It starts there.

The hip hop/R&B climate has changed tremendously over the past 10 years, how do you think your new album fits into today’s pop music scene?
I definitely didn’t make my album with the goal of it fitting in with anything other than what I feel is worthy of being a part of my catalog and where I’m at as an artist and as a businesswoman. The recorded product is about my artistry more than anything. The deal I did is more about the businesswoman. I haven’t changed my creative passion. The commercial landscape of the music business is totally different. There are not many outlets in terms of selling and making music. It’s more about singles as opposed to albums. But that hasn’t changed my passion about going into the studio to create a great body of work.

Incomparable re-teams you with Missy Elliot, who appears on the album’s first single, “I Deserve It.” Can you tell us a bit about your personal history with her?
Missy used to stay with me part time when she was an up-and-coming writer. This was when she was getting a lot of her early writing gigs for 702 and when the Aaliyah work started coming in. She was coming to New York from Virginia and staying in hotels. And later when we became friends, I told her, “You can stay here. My daughter is back and forth in New Jersey and I’m on the road.” Missy was just my homie who was super talented. I remember her giving me cassette tapes of songs she’d written and her going in the other room while I listened to them. Because she was so shy and didn’t want to be there when I heard it. And I was like, “Are you crazy? This is amazing!” I’ve always been a fan and I’ve always known she was going to be great. Missy is still the same funny person she was back then. She could easily become a comedian if she ever needed another job, which she probably never will. [Laughs]

Finally, like many other music stars, you ventured into reality TV. But you only appeared on two seasons of R&B Divas, where you also served as executive producer. Why did you leave the series?
I’m still an EP on the show but I have no creative input. Initially, I really didn’t want to be in the cast, I was just tying to be an executive producer. I wasn't prepared to give them [the show] all of that [access]. You can’t come in my house. [Laughs.] That wasn’t my goal. I wanted to help my friend Nicci Gilbert because I thought it was an amazing platform to give some light to other ladies in R&B whose stories aren’t always told. So I only decided to be a cast member to help the show get picked up. But my latter decision to not be a part of it was a mutual thing. Because once Nicci and my creative input was not respected as people who created the show, it didn’t really make sense for me [to continue]. That’s not what I signed up for. It’s that simple.

Watch Kevin Hart in a new episode of Real Husbands of Hollywood every Tuesday, 10P/9C. is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.
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