“I knew Evvie had something special from the moment I saw that big smile and heard her beautiful voice. She is an incredible vocalist. She lights up every room that she walks into with her contagious positivity and happiness.” — Meghan Trainor
Influenced by the fabled and fertile Memphis music scene, 24-year-old Evvie McKinney’s unique merging of good ol’ gospel vibes, current pop sensibility and deep-rooted soul has her perfectly positioned for international acclaim. And she has no doubt that God has planned exactly that for her: “I’ve been called a ‘superstar’ since I was in diapers,” she laughs with a humble confidence.
Growing up, Evvie was surrounded by a large and devout family. Her mother’s determination and unwavering faith filled their home with an expectation of divine intervention. In fact, her large family was actually able to build their home by entering a Habitat for Humanity contest. Amazingly, her mother’s letter was chosen from 20,000 entries. Miracles are still happening for singer/songwriter Evvie McKinney.
From the age of seven, Evvie was singing at services and on holidays at her home church, and at “every other church around Memphis.” In 2015, when she was only 14, Evvie moved to New York to go on the road with her brother’s band, Gedeon Luke and The People, touring nationally and internationally.
Back home she attended Memphis’ Soulsville Charter School, an academically rigorous, music-rich high school, then auditioned for and was accepted into the highly competitive after school program at the Stax Music Academy. “I grew up listening to old school Stax…Isaac Hayes, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Sam and Dave…but there we studied seriously about the incredible legacy of Stax.”
After joining the “Take Me to The River” Tour in 2017 (inspired by the award-winning documentary film), she spent two and a half months on tour singing in 40 cities throughout the country. In 2018, she competed and won on the inaugural season of The Four: Battle for Stardom on Fox, then went on to perform at the Teen Choice Awards and the iHeart Radio Music Festival.
On The Four: Battle for Stardom, with judges Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled and Meghan Trainor, Evvie stunned the country with her otherworldly stage performance of “Proud Mary.” According to Evvie, “I went into beast mode,” she says laughingly. “I had sung that song since I was five years old, but I just let God use me that night. I really wanted to win, but I knew it would take more than just singing. I had so many emotions going, it was amazing. But I knew that God was going to make it happen.” P. Diddy also ended up producing her first single, “How Do You Feel?”
Pop star Meghan Trainor has co-written Evvie’s Motown Gospel debut single, “Bring The Whole Hood,” a joyful, giant shot of positivity and inclusivity with a soul/pop/gospel groove and the true story about Evvie’s loving family. “My goal is to empower and inspire young people. I’m so blessed and so grateful for all the time God has taken to protect me, develop me, teach me and guide me. I want to speak to young people directly, to let them feel included and loved with this song. And, it’s a song about who I am and it’s about my city. I wanted to celebrate Memphis, my mother and father, my sisters and brothers, my ‘hood, my friends, my cousins… and to let people know that I won’t forget where I come from. It’s very special to me, as my testimony and my autobiography.”
When asked about her stylish image, (created courtesy of the renowned creative director and choreographer Laurieann Gibson, who’s worked with Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and dozens more), Evvie describes her look as “funky, young, cool, laid back and fun. I love to shine. I try to stay modest but very modern and be a role model for young women.” Gibson says, ”I’m passionate about Evvie’s raw talent, she’s an incredible vocalist and performer. I’m excited about what she’s going to do.”
Evvie, now living and recording in Nashville, truly wants to “Bring The Whole Hood” along with her on her exuberant journey…or as she sings, “when I make it, we make it.”