Evvie McKinney is here to spread love and positivity with her smooth, sultry voice that can move mountains. You may recognize her from her time on Season One of FOX’s The Four: Battle to Stardom, not only winning the competition but stealing the hearts of Diddy, Fergie, DJ Khaled, Meghan Trainor, and millions of viewers from all around the world.
Hailing from Memphis, the 23-year-old arrives with a Southern accent and Southern hospitality. Her contagious smile is blasted all over her Instagram page to her 288K followers, vocalizing her faith in God with a reminder that all things are in His time. In today’s age of millennials and Gen Z, Evvie leads by example naturally and effortlessly.
Last year in December, Evvie signed with Motown Gospel/Capitol CMG, which aligns perfectly with her soulful sound and spirit. She recently debuted her highly-anticipated banger, “Bring The Whole Hood,” written with Trainor. If there was one song that could describe her life, that would be it. Off the heels of the song’s successful summer performance, today Evvie released her newest single “Just Like God,” which she wrote to encourage others to stay hopeful in stressful times.
Flaunt caught up with Evvie via Instagram Live, who was located in her hometown of Memphis. Last year, she moved to Nashville to be closer to her family, something she describes as “God’s will.”
What have you been up to since The Four?
Everything. I got signed to Motown Gospel in September of 2019. When the show [The Four] got cancelled and we knew it wasn’t coming back on, I prayed for a different approach to how I’d present my music to the world. God made a way. I moved to Nashville, been working on my album since September of last year.
Are we getting close to getting an album?
Absolutely! I’m most definitely going to release an EP later this year. Crossing my fingers, I don’t have the date yet but I’m so excited.
I love your new single “Bring The Whole Hood.” How was it recording with Meghan Trainor?
Thank you! I wrote “Bring The Whole Hood” in April of 2018, after I won the show. I won The Four on February 8th of 2018, I recorded with Meghan on April 9th. We wrote that song together, that experience was so amazing. God’s so faithful because I had to wait 2 years. [claps] My song was already done, but God wanted me to release that song now, in this time. This couldn’t have been the most perfect time for me to release that song.
You were sitting on it for that long?
Let me tell you, it’s been a long time coming. I’ve got so many songs that are done, ready to go. I’m waiting to release them at the perfect time, especially with everything that’s going on in the world. I’ve got such positive music. Yep COVID-19, I most definitely got something for that.” [laughs]
What was the dynamic with Meghan in the studio?
Dope, nothing but fire. Flames all day. I did 2 or 3 days with her in the studio, back to back. When we were writing “Bring The Whole Hood,” I remember her asking me “Evvie, what do you want to talk about? Forget what everybody else wants you to sing about, what do you want to talk about?” I said “Meghan, I want something positive, inspirational, but I want people to know who I am. I want people to know that I’m from Memphis, Tennessee, that I’m the youngest of 7, that I come from a big family.” I wanted people to know me, it really did turn out to be an autobiographical song that tells people literally everything about me.
“7 kids & you’re the baby.” What was that like with that many siblings?
It was amazing. It was a blessing because I never really grew up with friends, like best friends, because I had 6 siblings who looked out for me. My oldest brother is 36, and I’m 23. I’m a baby. It’s 7 of us in that timespan, so imagine on Christmas, Thanksgiving. My mama had a whole football team. [laughs]
What were you praying for then? What were you envisioning for yourself?
I’m always praying for guidance. Back then, I was praying for everything. My goal has also been to give my momma a house, so I put it in the song!
Since I was a little girl, growing up in Memphis, Tennessee in the church, I’ve always known I want to be a professional singer, but not just any singer. I want to be a singer that goes down in history as one of the best, the greats. I want people to say “Not only does her music sound good, not only can she perform, not only can she dance, but she’s relatable. I can listen to her, I can feel it. I want to listen to it. Her music isn’t going to make me want to fight or make the evil in me arise, it’s going to make positivity flow through my life.”
How’s it feel to have Fergie reposting your song & saying she loves it?
Man Fergie, I call her my industry momma. She’s so sweet. When I was on the show, they took out so much stuff that actually happened live. I remember when me and Zhavia were competing, Diddy, Meghan, and DJ Khaled were trying to see who’s going to win, who they’re going to let through to the next round. Fergie grabbed both of our hands and started praying. For her to repost “Bring The Whole Hood,” you’re talking about “Fergalicious definition, make them boys go…” [laughs] For her to even love my music, God is so good. I’m still in communication with Meghan and Diddy. Life is amazing, it really is.
What does it mean to have a platform to promote positivity and upliftment?
It means the world to me. I didn’t know anything specifically about Instagram verification. All I knew was that blue checkmark means you’re somebody real important. The week of the finale episode, we did a lot of press. All of the Final Four went up to the Twitter building in Los Angeles headquarters. I said “can we get that blue checkmark?” Because listen, I’ve been praying for this blue checkmark.
It’s so much in life right now, there’s a pandemic and people are dying. We’re living in the days where you don’t understand why people are so evil or so mean. I want to be that vessel that God uses to bring light. I want to be the light that helps people, because we’re all given an individual light. You can’t shine from my light, I can’t shine from your light. We gon’ shine from each other. It’s so beautiful. It’s important to spread love, tomorrow isn’t promised.
From Memphis, all you hear is the hard-ass rappers: Juicy J, Dolph, Blac Youngsta, Moneybagg, Yo Gotti, then we’ve got you who can sing her ass off.
I’m biased to it of course, because I grew up in Memphis. Memphis is so rich in food, in history, in music. Memphis is the home of rock ‘n’ roll and the home of blues. They don’t want to be putting Memphis on the map, but listen, I’m from Memphis, Tennessee, I’m putting Memphis on the map. If you want the best barbeque in the world, you need to come to Memphis. You have STAX Records, Sun Records, Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Tina Turner was born in Nutbush, Tennessee, a few miles outside of Memphis. Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis. Who wouldn’t love Memphis?
Being only 23, what do you like to do for fun?
I like to have game night with my family. One of my favorite games is Heads Up on the iPhone, or Monopoly. It’s so crazy, my brother taught me how to play Blackjack and I love it. We actually bought the whole set from Walmart. I love spending good, quality time with my family.
3 things you need in the studio?
Hot water and honey, a heater in the booth, and candles. Real good, smell-good candles.
Talk about your website, where you’ll be giving fans exclusive updates.
EvvieMckinneyOfficial.com. Make sure y’all go and sign up, get my newsletters. Listen, y’all do not want to miss this music. “Bring The Whole Hood” was an introduction to who I am. What I’ve got coming, my next song is so amazing.
Anyone you want to collab with?
Absolutely. I’d absolutely love for Yo Gotti to get on a song with me. He’s from North Memphis, I’m from North Memphis. That’d be amazing. On the flip side, I’m signed to Motown Gospel. Tasha Cobbs is signed to Motown Gospel, Tye Tribbett, those gospel artists. They’re my big sister and brother of the label, I’d really love to do something with them. I’d love to do anything with Kirk Franklin . Of course my ultimate, I want to meet Beyoncé. I know she loves Jesus so if she wants to hop on the song or I can hop on a song, I’d love that.
How would you describe your fashion style?
Funky, because I’m so old-school. I love the bell-bottoms, the crop tops, the half-shirts. But also really classy and modest.
Best encounter you’ve had with a fan?
This young girl was pregnant, her boyfriend was in a really horrible accident. She’s asking me “Evvie, can you pray with me? Can you tell me some encouraging scriptures? I really feel like taking my life, that’s how depressed I am.” So I sent her some scriptures and voice memos, she’s so excited we’re talking. It was more of a privilege for me, because you’re talking to somebody that’s going through something I can’t even relate to feeling: so lost and so empty. The fact that my faith and relationship to Christ can speak for itself, and can speak into other people’s lives. That moment needs to give you the opportunity to go in your closet, go in a room in your house, sit down and ask God to help you.