Faith Renée Evans (born June 10, 1973) is an American singer-songwriter,
record producer, actress and author. Born in Lakeland, Florida, and
raised in Newark, New Jersey, Evans moved to Los Angeles in 1993 for
a career in the music business. After working as a backing vocalist
for Al B. Sure, and Christopher Williams, she became the first female
artist to be signed to Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs' Bad Boy
Entertainment label in 1994, on which she released three platinum-certified
studio albums between the years of 1995 and 2001. In 2003, she left
the label to sign with Capitol Records.
Next to her recording career, Evans is widely known as the widow
of New York rapper Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace,
whom she married on August 4, 1994, three weeks after meeting at a
Bad Boy photoshoot. The turbulent marriage led to Evans' involvement
in the East Coast-West Coast hip hop feud, dominating the rap scene
at the time, and ended with Wallace's murder in a yet-unsolved drive-by
shooting in Los Angeles, California in March 1997. A 1997 tribute
single featuring Puff Daddy and 112, entitled "I'll Be Missing
You", became Evans' biggest-selling hit to date and won her a
Grammy Award in 1998.
Also an avocational actress and writer, Evans made her big screen
debut in the 2000 musical drama Turn It Up by Robert Adetuyi. Her
self-written autobiography Keep the Faith: A Memoir was released
by Grand Central Publishing in 2008 and won a 2009 African American
Literary Award for the Best Biography/Memoir category.
Evans was born in Lakeland, Florida to an African-American mother,
Helene Evans, a professional singer. Her father, Richard Swain,
was a Caucasian musician who left before Evans was born. A half
year later, 19-year-old Helene returned to Newark, New Jersey and
left Faith with her cousin Johnnie Mae and husband Orvelt Kennedy,
the foster parents of more than hundred children they raised in the
time that Faith lived with them. It was not until a couple
of years later, Helene's career floundered and she tried to take
Evans back home. Faith, however, was scared to leave what she'd "been
used to", and instead, Helene moved in next door.
Raised in a Christian home, Evans began singing at church at age
two. At age four, she caught the attention of the congregation of
the Emmanuel Baptist Church (in Newark) when she sang The 5th Dimension's
song "Let the Sunshine In". While attending University
High School in Newark, she sang with several jazz bands and, encouraged
by Helene, entered outside pageants, festivals and contests, where
her voice would be noticed and praised. After graduating from high
school in 1991, Evans attended Fordham University in New York City
to study marketing but dropped out a year later to have daughter
Chyna with music producer Kiyamma Griffin. A couple of months
later[when?], she moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as a backup
vocalist for singer Al B. Sure, when she caught the ear of musician
Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs. Impressed with her persona, Combs
signed her as the label's first female artist to his Bad Boy Entertainment
 Recording career
 1994—2004: Bad Boy Records
Newly signed to Bad Boy Records, Evans was consulted by executive
producer Combs to contribute backing vocals and writing skills to
Mary J. Blige's My Life (1994) and Usher's self-titled debut album
(1994) prior to starting work on her debut record Faith. Released
on August 29, 1995 in North America, the album saw her primarily
collaborating with Bad Boy's main producers The Hitmen, including
Chucky Thompson and Combs, but also spawned recordings with Poke & Tone
and Herb Middleton. Faith became a hit based on the singles "You
Used to Love Me" and "Soon as I Get Home". The album
was certified Platinum with 1,500,000 copies sold, according to RIAA.
Following Biggie's murder in March 1997, Combs helped Evans work
through her grief by producing her tribute song titled "I'll
Be Missing You", based on the melody of The Police's 1983 single "Every
Breath You Take". The song, which featured Combs, Evans, and
all-male group 112, became a worldwide number-one hit and debuted
at the top spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1997, staying
there for eleven weeks. It eventually won Puffy and Evans the 1998
Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. The next
year, she received another two Grammy nominations for "Heartbreak
Hotel", a collaboration with singers Whitney Houston and Kelly
Price, that reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Two years in the making, Evans' second solo effort, Keep the Faith,
was released in October 1998. Almost entirely written and produced
by her, Evans considered the album tough to complete as she had initially
felt discouraged about the progress at first. Upon its release,
however, the album garnered generally positive reviews by music critics,
with Allmusic noting it "without a doubt a highlight of 1990s
soul-pop music". Also enjoying commercial success, it eventually
went platinum and produced the top ten singles "Love Like This" and "All
Night Long", prompting Evans to start an 18-city theater tour
with Dru Hill and Total the following year.
Evans' third album on the Bad Boy imprint, entitled Faithfully (2001),
saw her working with a wider range of producers, including The Neptunes,
Mario Winans, Buckwild, Vada Nobles, Cory Rooney, and others.
Her first project with husband Todd Russaw as executive producer
and creative partner, the album reached number 14 on the Billboard
200 album chart and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
chart, eventually being certified platinum, but spawned moderately
successful singles, with the Jennifer Lopez-penned "I Love You" becoming
the only top twenty entry. Released amid Bad Boy Records' transition
from distributor Arista Records to Universal, Evans felt Faithfully
received minimum support by the label, and in 2004, she finally decided
to leave Bad Boy as she was convinced Combs couldn't take her career
any further due to his other commitments.
 2004—2007: Capitol Records
After leaving Bad Boy Entertainment Evans signed with Capitol Records,
becoming the first contemporary R&B artist to do so, and started
work on her fourth studio album The First Lady, named after her nickname
on her former label. As opposed to having an in-house team of
producers who supplied most of the previous material, she and Russaw
were able to gain more creative control over the album and consulted
producers such as Bryan-Michael Cox, Jermaine Dupri, Mike Caren,
Pharrell Williams, and Chucky Thompson to contribute to it. Upon
its release in April 2005, The First Lady opened at number two on
the Billboard 200 and on the top spot of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop
Albums chart, becoming Evans' highest-charting album to date. It
was eventually certified gold by the RIAA.
At the end of the year, Evans released A Faithful Christmas, a holiday
album of traditional Christmas songs and original tracks. The effort
would become her last release on Capitol Records as the company got
bought out in 2007, satisfying Evans' wish to leave the label anyway.
 2008—present: Hiatus and E1 Entertainment
Following a longer hiatus, Evans signed a deal with E1 Entertainment
in 2010. Her fifth studio album Something About Faith was released
on October 5, 2010 in the United States and has spawned the single "Gone
Already" so far.
 Other ventures
Having previously appeared in stage plays as a teenager, Evans branched
out into acting with a supporting role in director Robert Adetuyi's
2000 music drama Turn It Up, starring Jason Statham and Ja Rule.
Released to generally negative reviews from critics, who noted
it "patently absurd in both the details and larger aspects",
the indie film had a short run at the box office and became a financial
disappointment, gaining US$1.24 million during its U.S. run only.
In 2003, Evans appeared in the MTV-produced romantic comedy The
Fighting Temptations in which she appeared in a brief but major role
portraying a single mother and night club singer. Filmed in Columbus,
Georgia and headed by Cuba Gooding, Jr. (her character is his mother)
and Beyoncé Knowles, the film garnered mixed reviews by critcs,
but reached top top three of the U.S. box office, resulting in a
domestic gross of US$30.2 million. In addition, Evans recorded
a contemporary cover version of Donna Summer's 1978 hit "Heaven
Knows" for the film which her characters performs during one
of the first in sequence in the film. The accompanying soundtrack
reached the top twenty of the U.S. Billboard 200.
In 2004, Evans earned a short guest stint on the UPN sitcom Half & Half.
Evans announced that she had been working on a synopsis for her own
sitcom that would be loosely based on her life but with a more comedic
aspect. It is unknown whether she has officially pitched the sitcom
to any television networks at this time[when?].
It has been announced that Evans will play Florence Ballard in a
upcoming biopic about the late singer's life in the successful group
The Supremes, the movie will be direct by Martha Coolidge.http://www.bvnewswire.com/2010/11/04/faith-evans-to-play-florence-ballard-the-supremes/
Evans released her biographic book called Keep the Faith: A Memoir
on August 29, 2008. It detailed the highs and lows of the singer's
life, but also shed light on Evans' controversial relationship with
her late husband, the Notorious B.I.G.:
"I want people to understand that although he was a large
part of my life, my story doesn't actually begin or end with Big's
death. My journey has been complicated on many levels. And since
I am always linked to Big, there are a lot of misconceptions about
who I really am. It's not easy putting your life out there for the
masses. But I've decided I'll tell my own story. For Big. For my
children. And for myself."
In its initial release, "Keep The Faith: A Memoir" landed
in the Top 20 on New York's Best Seller's List two consecutive weeks
in a row. In 2009, the book received The 2009 African American Literary
Award for Best Biography/Memoir.
 Personal life
Prior to Evans meeting and having a relationship with The Notorious
B.I.G., she was involved in a relationship with Kiyamma Griffin.
She and Griffin had a daughter named Chyna (born April 1, 1993).
On August 4, 1994, Evans married upcoming rapper and label mate
The Notorious B.I.G., after having met him at a Bad Boy photoshoot.
The couple had one child together, Christopher Wallace, Jr. (born
October 29, 1996), but the marriage was turbulent as Wallace reportedly
had several affairs during their union, including relationships with
fellow rappers Lil' Kim and Charli Baltimore. Additionally, it
led to Evans' involvement in the East Coast-West Coast hip hop feud,
dominating the rap scene at the time, which ended with Wallace's
murder in a yet-unsolved drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, California
in March 1997, and made Evans "Rap's most famous widow".
In early 1997, after her separation from Wallace, but before his
death, Evans was introduced to record company executive Todd Russaw.
Faith began dating Russaw during her and Wallaces sepearation and
eventually, after Wallace died, Evans became pregnant by Russaw.
The couple had their first son Joshua on June 8, 1998. In the
summer of 1998, Evans and Russaw got married, and on March 22, 2007,
they had their second son Ryder Evan Russaw.
In January 2004, Evans and Russaw were arrested and charged with
possession of marijuana and cocaine and an improper tag violation
during a traffic stop in Hapeville, a suburb in Atlanta, Georgia.
The couple agreed to spend 13 weeks in a drug-treatment program in
exchange for halting any further prosecution in their drug-possession
Main article: Faith Evans discography
 Studio albums
* 1995: Faith
* 1998: Keep the Faith
* 2001: Faithfully
* 2005: The First Lady
* 2005: A Faithful Christmas
* 2010: Something About Faith
* 2000: Turn It Up
* 2003: The Fighting Temptations
* 2011: Blondie: The Florence Ballard Story
 Awards and nominations
* African American Literary Award
o 2009: African American Literary Award: Keep the Faith (A Memoir) (won)
* BET Awards
o 2002: Best Female R&B Artist (nominated)
* Grammy Awards
o 2011: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance: "Gone Already" (nominated)
o 2003: Best Contemporary R&B Album: Faithfully (nominated)
o 2002: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group: "Can't Believe" w/
Carl Thomas (nominated)
o 2000: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group: "Heartbreak Hotel" w/
Whitney Houston & Kelly Price (nominated)
o 1999: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance: "Love Like This" (nominated)
o 1998: Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: "I'll Be Missing You" w/
* Lady of Soul Awards
o 2000: Outstanding Music Video: "Love Is Blind" (by Eve ft. Faith
o 1996: Best Female R&B/Soul Album: Faith (won)
o 1996: Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist: "You Used to Love Me" (nominated)
* MTV Video Music Awards
o 2000: Best Rap Video: "Love Is Blind" (by Eve ft. Faith Evans)
o 1999: Best R&B Video: "Heartbreak Hotel" (nominated)
o 1997: Best R&B Video: "I'll Be Missing You" (won)
o 1997: Viewer's Choice: "I'll Be Missing You" (nominated)
* Soul Train Awards
o 2006: Best Female R&B/Soul Album: The First Lady (nominated)
o 1998: Outstanding Music Video: "I'll Be Missing You" (won)