Legendary dance and r&b diva Evelyn "Champagne" King, the singer of classics "Shame," "Give It Up," and "Love Come Down," is back with a new CD called Open Book. Saying she's back isn't really a fair statement, as she has never left. Touring the world for nearly thirty years, Evelyn is a fierce performer naturally gifted with a voice that sounds as good live as it does on record. With her first CD of new material in 10 years, the dancefloors are ready to read from Evelyn's open book.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: I've been listening to the album and I love it. Your voice
sounds wonderful, it sounds so like natural and fresh. What's your
secret for that?
Evelyn Champagne King: Thank you. Basically I know that my gift from God has always been in my voice and I really just go out there. I don't rehearse, I just sing and I love it. My secret is to just do what you do naturally and what was given to you naturally.
RS: One thing I like is that your voice doesn't seem processed
at all, it seems really natural.
Evelyn Champagne King: That's what they did as I don't like too many effects. A lot of people like effects to change things and it helps if they can hear exactly what they're going to hear on stage, and that's what I like to do.
RS: Speaking about singing on stage, you travel a lot and tour a
lot, don't you?
Evelyn Champagne King: Yes, I tour constantly.
RS: It's sort of funny because I was just doing some research
and it "Shame" is one of the top ten songs played at weddings around
Evelyn Champagne King: Oh wow, at weddings? That's a good thing. I just hope they listen to words when they're getting married.
RS: Exactly. Did you write the songs for the album?
Evelyn Champagne King: I wrote four with my husband Freddy Fox and Tony Haines, my lyric writer. We get together and combine ideas. I'm the melody writer, my husband writes the music and Tony Haines writes the lyrics.
RS: Which four tracks were those?
Evelyn Champagne King: Nobody Knows, The Dance, Creeping, and Paradise.
RS: One thing which I find interesting is how you're able to use
the lingo of youth today, like "creeping, " "boo," and "skillz."
Evelyn Champagne King: I'm glad I did. Ton and I got together and were talking about the kids and their lifestyle. It's hip-hop, rap, and electronic but at the same time they're out there on the internet and you hear how they speak. We're just basically trying to stay in with what's going on and it worked.
RS: Very cool. The Dance seems like a song that's ready for the
dance floors. Are you ready to get back in to the clubs?
Evelyn Champagne King: Oh yes, definitely. I'm a pretty spunky person on stage - I love music and I love to dance. If I'm in a club and I'm by myself, I would just dance in the mirror by myself all night. So knowing that, the spirit of the song is what I'm saying. It is basically a story as all of our songs basically have to tell stories to let them know, either this is lived by me or someone else has lived it.
RS: For Creeping, you brought in a ragga rapper. What was it
like working with him in the studio?
Evelyn Champagne King: I didn't get to meet him in the studio, but I just loved what he did. For Creeping, I told the producer that we need a rapper to funk it up a little bit. So he had this Jamaican rapper named Silver Turtle and I was like, can this guy cut it? When he got in there and just to hear him, he just brings life to the song and updates it.
RS: What was in your head when you were singing "You Deserve an
Evelyn Champagne King: I see a movie with that song with someone like Denzel. The song is basically to say you deserve an Academy award, it's them and me, and I know I deserve one but I didn't do a movie or anything but…
RS: Not yet.
Evelyn Champagne King: Right. Soon to be, hopefully. But I just feel that that song is really saying that I'm here and shine the light on me. I can see that as a soundtrack for a movie, that would be a great thing.