Chances are you know girls a bit like Tiffany Evans. Girls who love playing video games, going to the movies, reading their favorite books--Tiffany is fond of history in particular--and inventing new dance moves. Reasonably typical stuff for a reasonably typical girl still in her pre-teens.
A recent Grand Champion in the Junior Vocalist category on "Star Search," Tiffany brings a winning and winsome combination of professionalism and innocence to the party.
The power of that emotion comes from Tiffany's heart and her soul, because her talent is not the only thing that belies her age. This pre-teen powerhouse has already lived a life fraught with hardship, yet thanks to faith, family and friendship, she's risen above adversity and triumphed.
Born in the Bronx, NYC, Tiffany is one of ten children, five of whom still live at home. Both Tiffany's parents love music, sang to their kids and encouraged them to appreciate the arts. By the time Tiffany was a toddler, she was already in love with singing. "Everyone that I saw on TV, I would just copy them and say, 'Oh, I want to be like that, too!'" she admits. "I knew that I wanted to be a singer for as long as I could remember and that I wanted to have a beautiful voice."
Influenced by such superstars as Celine Dion, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston and Beyonce, Tiffany would go to her room and practice for hours on end. By the time Tiffany turned nine, her family began to realize that their little kid singing along with MTV and BET was gifted with a truly special talent.
It was around this time that the Evans family was thrown into upheaval. Without warning the house they'd been renting was sold by its owner and the family was forced to vacate and find shelter elsewhere. The experience was very unsettling as the Evans children watched their parents pack up a van and struggle to figure out the future.
In 2002, Tiffany's father decided to relocate the family to Atlantic City, New Jersey, in the hopes of securing work and a new home. For a little girl born and raised in the city, the faded elegance of Atlantic City held out promise. "When we went there--oh my goodness--the lights looked like stars!," Tiffany remembers. "It was really cool."
As the family toured the city, Tiffany noticed a hotel that featured a room called the Tiffany Lounge. "Oh, Daddy! Look!," she exclaimed, "It's named after me!" As fate would have it, the Tiffany Lounge was open to minors and so Tiffany and her father decided to see a show. While the lounge act, the Johnny Ingram Band, was performing, the bandleader looked out into the audience, saw Tiffany, stepped off the stage, handed the little girl the mike and asked her if she could sing. Tiffany proceeded to regale Ingram and the audience with a heart-stopping rendition of "I Will Always Love You."
Before long, Tiffany began working with Sal Dupree, a noted vocal coach--he's worked with Chrissy Conway of the chart-topping contemporary Christian vocal trio ZOEgirl and Broadway's "Miss Saigon" lead Michelle Nigalan--who told his young pupil that "she had a gift from God." That kind of support bolstered Tiffany, making her even more focused as an artist.
The Evans family's hardships continued until fate once again interceded when Tiffany's vocal teacher informed her about upcoming auditions for "Star Search." All of 10 years old, Tiffany headed to NYC and, in the dead of winter, stood outside the audition studio for four hours in the freezing cold with hundreds of other hopefuls. Once inside, Tiffany nailed her audition and was selected to be on the show.
Delivering a roof-raising version of the classic "Stormy Weather," Tiffany wowed the judges and, in February 2003, on her fourth "Star Search" appearance, won the Grand Champion title in the junior singer division. Tiffany Evans became the only performer in "Star Search" history to receive perfect five scores on all four of her appearances.
Tiffany and her family were thrilled and the good news didn't stop there. The family moved into a new home and, through her vocal coach, Tiffany found a management concern that began helping her navigate the treacherous waters of the industry. In early 2003, Tiffany sang for executives at Columbia Records and, six months later, was offered a deal.
"My parents had been praying and saying that we have to make the best of this and if it doesn't go well we have to start again," she remembers. "And when I was signed, I was like, 'Oh gosh! This is it!"
Tiffany's musical career wasn't the only thing that was on the upswing. Always interested in acting, Tiffany landed a small role on the CBS primetime series, "The District," and recently secured a part in the upcoming feature film, "The Diary of a Mad Black Woman." In order that her fans might get to know her better, Tiffany has been developing a movie about her life with writer/director Stewart Raffill ("Lost In Africa," "Mac and Me," "Mannequin: On The Move") entitled "The Ghosts of Tinsel Town," a rags-to-riches tale currently targeted to begin lensing in early winter 2004.
When asked what she hopes fans her own age will glean from her story, Tiffany is philosophical. "I want them to know that if you fall, it's not hard to get back up again," she says. "You've been through a lot but it all pays off. If you can dream it, you can achieve it."