At merely 16 years old, Tiffany Evans is showing both talent and musical experience way beyond her years. As a winner of the Star Search Junior Singer competition, Evans has been a featured up-and-comer in the R&B music stream for years with her awe-inducing voice, which boasts power and attention like that of Beyoncé or Kelly Rowland. Until recently, Evans has managed to put out a few cover singles and soundtrack credits to her name, thus keeping her identity from getting lost in the mercurial pop music market. Therefore, when it came time for Evans' full-fledged debut album, her first real shove into the spotlight since Star Search, she needed the best team behind her who would expose her pipes and make her funky and fresh for a younger audience. With Ciara as the executive producer, and with help from the Clutch, Beau Dozier, Rodney Jerkins, and Ne-Yo, Evans has amassed an impressive track list that plays in her favor. In hopes on striking gold with the current pop market, Evans isn't presented as the next Mariah Carey. Rather, she is showcased as a more talented Ciara, toning down on the dance tracks but keeping the beat up the whole way through. With guest appearances by Bow Wow and Ciara herself, Evans keeps the vibe on the album vibrant and sassy, while never truly crossing over to inappropriate. Even on the heavier tracks, Evans never gets lost in the music. Her voice sails over the beats and cuts, thus truly synthesizing the best of both worlds. More than a handful of the tracks show the playfulness of Lil' Mama, the mainstream appeal of Miley Cyrus, and Beyoncé's soulful voice, which propels Evans to a pop sound that is truly refreshing. The music is highly accessible; most of the tracks are prepared for radio airplay, and highlights like "Thinkin' About" and "Favorite Broken Heart" are never short on presenting Evans as not only a vocalist but as an artist with mounds of potential who, if she can keep herself moldable and flexible, could see a long career ahead of her. The lead single (which features Ciara), "Promise Ring," is the most fun track on the album, talking about young love and commitment, but not at a level out of Evans' grasp (rather than discuss engagement, the 16-year-old commits to a promise ring, cleverly showing that Evans isn't trying to be older than she is). The one misstep on the album is the final track, "Angels on Earth," a gospel-influenced Billy Mann track that doesn't keep the tone of the rest of the album, yet allows Evans' voice to shine. This self-titled debut is merely a sampling of the years that could come for Evans, who on her debut album shows musical maturity but keeps it light on juvenile jams, thus setting a new standard for teen pop.
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Review by Matthew Chisling