Evvie McKinney Is Not Afraid To Flaunt Her Faith In Her Music
As the population of non-religious adults grows, Evvie McKinney unapologetically embraces who she is and what she believes
Interest in Christianity is plummeting in the U.S. these days. According to a national survey from the American Enterprise Institute, millennials, in particular, never had religious ties to begin with, newly married ones are unlikely to have a religious spouse, and those who are parents are increasingly seeing no connection between churchgoing and moral righteousness.
Evvie McKinney is bucking this downward spiral for organized faith, though. If you haven't heard of her, she's a gospel artist who extols her religious convictions without looking over her shoulder.
"I am a living testimony that being quiet about God will only force you to blend in with the world, restricting you to never truly understand your identity and purpose," McKinney tells GRAMMY.com. "But when you speak up about Him, you are a light and know exactly who you are."
This axiom forms the essence of her recent EP, This is Evvie McKinney, released on February 26. On tracks like "He Did It," "Just Like God" and "Look No Further," the singer underlines how faith doesn't just give her a refuge on Sunday mornings, but every day—and forevermore.
Read on for an interview with Evvie McKinney about how her convictions guide her through her daily life and the good news she hopes to impart through her artistry.
What's been your experience with faith-based music in the public sphere? Are people generally turned off by it, or open-minded, or a mix of both?
My experience with faith-based music in the public sphere has been the most influential responsibility I've ever had in my life. To write and perform music that consistently inspires and informs people of God's amazing grace and His unfailing love is more than fulfilling. Thankfully, most of the people who encounter my music are enlightened and want to hear more about my personal relationship with Jesus, so that's what I write about.
How do you overcome the self-consciousness that might result from singing about something this personal?
Sometimes, people feel self-conscious when singing about something as personal as their relationship with God, but truth be told, I feel the most free. I'm never embarrassed to talk or sing about how much the Lord has blessed me and I'll tell you why.
I grew up with a mother that never doubted God, never questioned Him, and never let the opinions of other people stain her own knowledge of Him. She and my father both instilled in me a confidence as bright as the sun, which makes it so easy to write about the things I've been through with God.
I am a living testimony that being quiet about God will only force you to blend in with the world, restricting you to never truly understand your identity and purpose, but when you speak up about Him, you are a light and know exactly who you are.
Do you think some people who haven't given faith a second thought have been reconsidering in the midst of global catastrophes?
In the midst of global catastrophes, I believe one of two things have sparked consideration of "getting on track with God." Either people are more upset with God or people have been galvanized to start reading God's Word and praying more.
And I believe that by spending more time in His Word and more time in prayer, you'll see that God is with us even in the minute areas of our lives and in the pandemics. And I believe that by spending time with God, you'll see hope rise in you both as it relates to the pandemic and other world affairs, but also in your own individual life.
What other faith-based artists are leading the charge in 2021?
When shows and in-person studio sessions fire up again, what's your next creative move?
When live shows and in-person studios fire up again, I plan to tour so that I can get back to live, high-energy performances! I miss performing in front of a live audience. And I will also continue to write inspiring songs that give people hope. I've been writing a lot even after my EP was released.
Anything else we should know about your musical and lyrical approach as a contemporary gospel musician?
If there's anything I'd want you all to know about my musical approach, it'll be this: Before I am an artist, I am a believer and follower of Jesus.
As a young woman, I want to continue to grow in grace and knowledge of God for the rest of my days. My goal before writing any song is to simply allow God to place in my heart what He wants me to share about who He is and what He's done in my life.
I believe in eternity, and I want people to know that God is real; He's near and He wants a relationship with you for all eternity.
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.
Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures Exhibit Will Showcase The Surf-Rock Icons' Impact On Pop Culture
The exhibit, opening Dec. 7, will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run" and more
Influential instrumental rock band The Ventures are getting their own exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles that will showcase the band's impact on pop culture since the release of their massive hit "Walk, Don't Run" 60 years ago.
The Rock Hall of Fame inductees and Billboard chart-toppers have become especially iconic in the surf-rock world, known for its reverb-loaded guitar sound, for songs like "Wipeout," "Hawaii Five-O" and "Walk, Don't Run." The Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures exhibit opening Dec. 7 will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run," a Fender Limited Edition Ventures Signature guitars, rare photos and other items from their career spanning six decades and 250 albums.
“It’s such an honor to have an exhibit dedicated to The Ventures at the GRAMMY Museum and be recognized for our impact on music history,” said Don Wilson, a founding member of the band, in a statement. "I like to think that, because we ‘Venturized’ the music we recorded and played, we made it instantly recognizable as being The Ventures. We continue to do that, even today."
Don Wilson, Gerry McGee, Bob Spalding, and Leon Taylor are current band members. On Jan. 9, Taylor's widow and former Fiona Taylor, Ventures associated musician Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and others will be in conversation with GRAMMY Museum Artistic Director Scott Goldman about the band's journey into becoming the most successful instrumental rock band in history at the Clive Davis Theater.
"The Ventures have inspired generations of musicians during their storied six-decade career, motivating many artists to follow in their footsteps and start their own projects," said Michael Sticka, GRAMMY Museum President. "As a music museum, we aim to shine a light on music education, and we applaud the Ventures for earning their honorary title of 'the band that launched a thousand bands.' Many thanks to the Ventures and their families for letting us feature items from this important era in music history."
The exhibit will run Dec. 7–Aug. 3, 2020 at the GRAMMY Museum.
Photo by Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images
Alicia Keys Unveils Dates For New Storytelling Series
The artist will take her upcoming 'More Myself: A Journey' biography on a four-city book tour
After performing her powerhouse piano medley at the 62nd Annual GRAMMYs, R&B superstar, GRAMMY-winning artist and former GRAMMY’s host Alicia Keys has revealed that she will set out on a four-stop book tour next month. The storytelling tour will support her forthcoming book More Myself: A Journey, which is slated for a March 31 release via Flatiron Books and is reported to feature stories and music from the book, told and performed by Alicia and her piano, according to a statement.
Part autobiography, part narrative documentary, Keys' title is dubbed in its description as an "intimate, revealing look at one artist’s journey from self-censorship to full expression." You can pre-order the title here.
The book tour will kick off with a March 31 Brooklyn stop at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. From there, Keys will visit Atlanta’s Symphony Hall on April 5 and Chicago’s Thalia Hall with Chicago Ideas the following day, April 6. The short-run will culminate on April 7 in Los Angeles at the Theatre at Ace Hotel.
Pre-sales for the tour are underway and public on-sale will begin on Friday, March 6 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. Tickets for the intimate dates and full release dates and times are available here.
Keys won her first five career awards at the 44th Annual GRAMMYs in 2002. On the night, she received awards in the Best New Artists, Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance categories respectively. She has received a total of 29 nominations and 15 GRAMMYs in her career.
This year, Keys will also embark on a world tour in support of Alicia, the artist’s upcoming seventh studio album and the follow up of 2016’s Here, due out March 20 via RCA Records.
Photo: C Brandon/Redferns/Getty Images
Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz & More Join Small Business Live Benefit Livestream
Proceeds from the event will be go toward loans to small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses, via Accion Opportunity Fund
This Saturday, June 20, artists including Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz and more will come together for Small Business Live, a livestream fundraiser event for small businesses facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proceeds from the livestream will go to Accion Opportunity Fund to support small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses.
“Entrepreneurs of color are denied credit more often and charged higher rates for money they borrow to fund their businesses. We need to accelerate support to underserved businesses in order to reach our full potential,” Accion Opportunity Fund CEO Luz Urrutia said. “We have to decide what we want our Main Streets to look like when this is over, and we must act decisively to keep small businesses alive and ready to rebuild. This is a fun way to do something really important. Everyone’s support will make a huge difference to small business owners, their families and employees who have been devastated by this pandemic, the recession, and centuries of racism, xenophobia and oppression.”
Tune in for Small Business Live Saturday, June 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT on smallbiz.live. The site also provides a full schedule of programs and links to watch the livestream on all major digital platforms. To learn more about Accion Opportunity Fund, visit the organization's website.