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Faith Evans

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In spite of the fact that Faith Evans carved out a recording career in her own right, her name will forever remain linked in the minds of many to her late husband the Notorious B.I.G. Evans was an active session singer and songwriter before signing her own solo deal and marrying Biggie, and while she never matched the level of his stardom, she continued to come into her own as a vocalist in the years after his untimely death.

Faith Evans was born on June 10, 1973, and grew up in Newark, NJ, where she began singing in church at the mere age of two. A high school honor student, she sang in her school's musical productions before winning a full scholarship to Fordham University. After just one year, though, she left college to put her jazz and classical training to use in the field of contemporary RB. It didn't take her long to find work and over the next few years, she sang backup and wrote songs for artists like Hi-Five, Mary J. Blige, Pebbles, Al B. Sure, Usher, Tony Thompson, and Christopher Williams. Thanks to her work on Blige's 1994 sophomore effort, My Life, Evans met producer/impresario Sean "Puffy" Combs, who signed her to his Bad Boy label. In 1995, Evans released her debut album, Faith, which went platinum on the strength of the hit RB singles "You Used to Love Me" and "Soon as I Get Home." The same year, she met fellow Bad Boy artist the Notorious B.I.G. (some accounts say at a photo shoot, others a phone conversation) and married him after a courtship of just nine days; shortly thereafter, she guested on a remix of his smash single "One More Chance."

Over the next couple of years, Evans continued her behind-the-scenes work, performing and writing for records by the likes of Color Me Badd and LSG. She and Biggie also had a son, Christopher Wallace Jr., in late 1996; however, by that point, their marriage had already become strained. Biggie had publicly taken up with rapper Lil' Kim and rumors had been spreading about an Evans liaison with Biggie's rival 2Pac (alluded to on 2Pac's venomous "Hit Me Off"). The couple had unofficially separated when Biggie was shot and killed in March 1997. A grief-stricken Evans was prominently featured on the Puff Daddy tribute single "I'll Be Missing You," which with its cribbed Police hook zoomed to the top of the charts and became one of the year's biggest hits.

Evans' sophomore effort Keep the Faith followed in 1998 and it spun off several RB hits over the next year, including "Love Like This," "All Night Long," and the Babyface-produced RB number one "Never Gonna Let You Go." In the meantime, she worked with Aaron Hall, Tevin Campbell, and DMX, among others, and also made high-profile guest appearances on two 1999 hits, Whitney Houston's "Heartbreak Hotel" and Eric Benet's "Georgy Porgy." She began dating and eventually married record executive Todd Russaw, who took an active role in helping manage her career. In 2001, Evans released her third album, Faithfully, a more up-tempo record that received her strongest reviews to date; it also produced hit singles in "You Gets No Love" and "I Love You," and her duet with Carl Thomas on "Can't Believe" was nominated for a Grammy.

That same year saw Faith's sophomore CD Keep The Faith. Like its predecessor, the CD went platinum, and featured "Love Like This", and the Babyface produced #1 "Never Gonna Let You Go". Faith juggled solo work with high profile cameos ala Whitney Houston's 1999 single "Heartbreak Hotel" and Eve's "Love Is Blind" (2000). Her third platinum CD Faithfully (2001) showcased a more up-tempo sound via hits like "You Gets No Love." In 2003 Faith made her feature film debut, along side Beyonce and Cuba Gooding, Jr. in The Fighting Temptations and in 2004 signed with Capitol.

When asked what people will hear on The First Lady Faith is reflective. "Growth. I know I have fans that believe in me and who have been with me since that first album. Having that support is wonderful. This time, perhaps more ever before, I'm trying to show a real range of emotions. I've been through so much. I lost a husband, a label, I've gained weight, lost weight, been arrested, won awards, there's

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