NEW YORK — If there were ever a singer who didn't need today's popular vocal enhancer, the Auto-Tune, it would be the great [artist id="21433"]Faith Evans.[/artist] The former Bad Girl, who blossomed into fame during the mid- to late 1990s alongside her husband, the Notorious B.I.G., and labelmates such as Mase, 112, Craig Mack, Total and Carl Thomas, told us she's ready to end a four-year hiatus with a new LP in 2009.
"I just got off the phone with Easy Mo Bee [the Grammy-winning producer behind Bad Boy classics such as 'Flava in Ya Ear' and 'Warning'], and I think I'm gonna go to the studio tonight," she said last week in NYC, where she was attending the "Notorious" premiere and doing press for her late husband's biopic.
"I'm not ready to record a whole album tonight, but I'm back in that mode," she continued. "I've been taking a lot of meetings, and I've been enjoying my freedom, not being tied down to anything other than my family. I'm ready to record again. I've been hesitant to get into any type of record-deal situation. The offers have been coming in. Through the process of elimination, I'll pick the one that's right for me. But I'm gonna begin recording soon and have an album out this year. Sooner than later."
Evans said she's used her time off to be a wife and raise her four children. Her family comes first, and even with a return to making music, she doesn't want to be tied down by a deal. Whichever label can tailor-make a situation suitable to the time she needs for her family will more than likely win her over — at the right price, of course.
"I'm not trying to be in any long-term contractual situation anymore," Evans offered. "I need to be able to say, 'I need a break.' "
While a return to Bad Boy Entertainment as an artist doesn't seem likely at this point (Evans left in 2004 to go to Capital and release 2005's The First Lady), Faith will be in the studio with Diddy.
"I would certainly work with Puff," the Newark, New Jersey, native, who now lives in Los Angeles, explained. "Even on my last album, when I was sitting here recording, I made it a point to sit with him and play my joints. I respect his opinion. I let him know: 'I'm still the same girl who you asked to sign as soon as I got out of the booth.' We definitely will work together again. I'll be going in Daddy's house, like, 'Who's up in here working? Gimme some beats. I need some beats.' "
A new record isn't the only project Faith is looking forward to. The Grammy winner hopes to knock 'em off their feet in Hollywood.
"I developed a synopsis for a sitcom, which is based loosely on my life," described the singer, who released her autobiography earlier this year. "With my book, I was so nervous, I was trying to get the publisher to hold off on the release once Ms. Wallace started to get the stuff rolling [with 'Notorious']. I was like, 'I don't want it to be an oversaturation of Big. I know that's not where it was coming from [when I started the book.].
"The show alludes to the fact that I was married and lost my husband," she added. "It's not about my husband being an artist. It's about that I took a break from the music business when I lost my husband, then I went back after I got offered [a gig performing] at a five-star hotel and casino. Then my kids are starting to sneak into my shows."
Evans wants to be the star of the program as well as the creator.
"I did plays when I was a teenager. [Acting] is definitely not foreign to me," she promised.
Of "Notorious," she said, "It was amazing. I was looking at it from afar — almost as if it wasn't a part of my life as well. I was just really proud."
The film did bring tears for Biggie's widow, even during the humorous scenes.
"I saw Lil' Cease and them there. We all still talk and hang out. I'm glad we weren't sitting together. We would have been a whole row of sniffles. I was crying from the beginning. Even parts that were funny made me cry."
Evans and Big's son CJ found the movie quite funny. He learned more about his dad.
"CJ was right there with me," Faith said. "He was cracking up. We talk about so many things. He was sitting there asking me stuff during the movie: 'Did that really happen?' CJ, a lot of mannerisms he has [are] like his dad — rubbing his nose, rubbing his toes together. As soon as the movie started, his questions would come: 'Oh he did that?' He's able to be even prouder of his father."
MTV News has some B.I.G. things on the horizon surrounding "Notorious" — stay tuned for more this week!