Anthony Evans has been making music for quite a few years. He even spent four years touring with Gospel superstar Kirk Franklin and is known throughout the Christian music community. However, a much broader audience got to hear his vocal dynamics when he competed on NBC’s The Voice.
His experience on The Voice and his Christian experience come together on his seventh studio album, Real Life/ Real Worship. Already striking a chord with listeners, the album debuted #3 on iTunes and remains in its Top Ten.
In this candid interview with PositivelyGospel.com, Anthony Evans shares how the past few years have helped him create an album that is genre-transcending with its pop, R&B flavor, but also remains to true to worship and faith.
Why did you name the album Real Life/Real Worship? “On The Voice I got a chance to sit down with Christina Aguilera and Jewel, who was my adviser on the show. Jewel said, ‘the fact that you are a Christian, the fact that you are a worship leader that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I want to know about your real life experience. I want to know more about you I want to know what’s under the surface.’ When I had that conversation with Jewel that’s when I decided to call the record Real Life /Real Worship.
Being in L.A. those last couple of years and working outside the four walls of the church for the first time got me to a point that I had to connect with people on a life level before I could connect with them on faith, because most of my new friends in Los Angeles are not Christians. So, that’s the real life side. Sometimes it takes real life experiences and being honest about and authentic about your life experiences to go in to a new level of understanding of what worship is. When you go through something, that’s sometimes when your worship experience gets deeper.”
Do you think you’re growing up in the environment in the Christian environment did you feel that maybe you were in a vacuum? “To a certain degree, yes, but it was a great thing to build your foundation. It’s like being in an incubator to get healthy and strong. I would never have bad feelings toward the vacuum, but I would also not want to just stay in there. I’ve been singing all of my life and my first experience out of the vacuum literally, was these last couple of years in Los Angeles. I’ll never forget auditioning for the casting director of The Voice. She dropped her pen when I started singing and said ‘why are you 28 years old and I’ve never heard of you?’ That question changed my whole perspective of my life and career. Maybe God did not mean for my ability to be for just inside these four walls, maybe you’re supposed to be in and out of these four walls, not compromising the faith, but not necessarily just inside of the church.”
From a musical standpoint, do you think that experience on The Voice really expanded your musical boundaries? “100%! The production team that I used have never even worked on a Christian record before. I met them in Los Angeles. Writing-wise and everything The Voice made me think out of the box. I was just in a completely different environment and for that I will always be grateful.”
You co-wrote with folks dominant in the Christian worship experience, (Martha Munizzi, her daughter Danielle Munizzi and Christian music staples Cindy Morgan and Krissy Nordhoff), how did they feel about your new approach? “Martha was most supportive. We’ve only known each other casually and I texted her out of nowhere. She was so into this, and her daughter. We Skyped for weeks on end, writing these songs and they encouraged me. Martha believes in her heart that God is going to do some amazing things through these songs. That doesn’t necessarily mean record sales; it means just stretching people’s thought processes toward worship. Martha was just majorly encouraging in helping me think even more outside the box.”
“Somebody to Call Home” talks about finding love. Is that something you’re looking for now at this point in your life? “I’ve been on the road working on my career, but at the end of the day when I’m old having a bunch of records it’s nice, but that’s not your legacy. You don’t want your legacy to be a bunch of CDs. I’m at that place right now and I’m being strategic and it’s going to take somebody very special to get with the life that I have. I know I’ve got to make adjustments too, but that’s just me being honest.”
What is your favorite song on the album? “Right now I’m really loving. Never fail I think is the most fun that I have on stage and I love that people sing along the first time they hear it, they’re all in it singing along to the record. “Somebody to Call Home” is also one I love singing.”
Are there any collaborations with mainstream artists in your future? “My dad said something when I was thinking of going to the voice initially and he said ‘as long as you are not compromising your faith you go to Los Angeles and have an amazing time’ and that bleeds over to me in anything. I’m not compromising my faith but I will get on the stage and sing with whomever. If it’s a collaboration outside of the Christian box and outside of the four walls of the church as long as I’m not compromising my faith and I’m strategic about what I’m singing about and I resonate with a message. I’m open to it as long as I’m not compromising my faith and convictions.”
How do you keep yourself from not getting lost while trying to reach people? “You just have to have your foundation. You never go to New York City and see a high-rise building or a skyscraper that first there wasn’t a hole dug in the ground really deep. The reason they dig the deep hole is because they plan on going really high. In my life I have to make sure that I dig deep and have a foundation around me which is family, my friends who know my convictions. Then I can start building up and reaching. The problem is a lot of us want to achieve stuff without building a deep foundation and then all the issues end up falling, because we never dug deep enough. So for me it’s concentrating on my foundation. I’m not perfect at, it I’m just saying that’s what I have to focus on. One of the ways I do that is by coming home often, talking to my dad (famed pastor Dr. Tony Evans) often, getting advice from him as part of my digging deep and working on having the character and integrity that can support what I’m going after career wise.”