Anthony Evans: Black singer goes white pop

Friday 23rd June 2006

Mike Rimmer met up with ANTHONY EVANS and found a black singer with a white pop artist inside trying to get out.

Anthony Evans
Anthony Evans

Anthony Evans has just released his second album 'Letting Go', the follow up to his 'Even More' CD from a couple of years ago. He is beginning to establish himself on the scene mixing a few gospel influences with his great love for Christian pop music. As we'll discover, he is perhaps the whitest black man I've ever interviewed and I'll tease the Texan about this later.

Anthony is based in Dallas, where his father is a famous pastor, Dr Tony Evans, founder of syndicated radio and TV programme The Urban Alternative and a regular speaker at Promise Keepers conferences around the world. In fact, as Anthony runs down a litany of achievements for his two sisters and brother, it seems the whole family is ultra-busy. Like many preacher's kids, Anthony had some internal struggles going on when he was growing up. He says honestly, "I struggle with the concept of being a performer. I don't mean on the stage, I mean in relationships where I had the attitude, 'I'll perform for you and you'll accept me and then we'll be great.' So within that, I translated that to my relationship with Christ so I was like, 'Okay God, I'll do good and then you'll be my friend.' So then I just became this plastic person, you know what I mean? Smiles and shaking hands and kissing babies, trying to make everything okay. But then on the inside I was rotting away because I couldn't catch up with the outside. So the inside kind of gave up, you know?"

In the midst of all of these internal battles, Evans observes that his faith really didn't become real until he was 18 years old and had left home to go to college. It was a friend who confronted him. "He said, 'Man I really see in you a nice guy but I don't necessarily see some guy who's dedicated his life to Christ.' He was just talking to me in normal conversation but my mind stuck there. He kept going on about something else and I was stuck, right there. That was where my faith became real. I understood at that point what I was destined to and there's nothing I can do that's going to make me good enough. All I can do is just trust that his blood was shed and his blood can do what it was shed to do in me and that's it."

At this point, music ministry was the furthest thing from Anthony's mind. Coming from a ministry family, it isn't surprising to find that he wanted to go in a ministry direction. It's just the type of thing he's planning that might be surprising for us over here in the UK. "I studied youth ministry. I wanted to do Christian camping." That's right, Evans wanted to set up Christian camps and work with young people. "I had just watched my parents doing ministry, and my grandparents, so I don't really know anything different. I wanted to do ministry too."

Anthony Evans: Black singer goes white pop

Talking to Evans, it's almost as though the music thing happened completely accidentally. He remembers, "My dad sent in a tape of me singing to this college. Music wasn't a big part of me. Everybody sang where I came from. Everybody knew how to sing so it was kind of just, whatever! But my dad sent in this video and they offered me a full scholarship to come and be part of a PR group for that school. So to keep my scholarship I just had to get better at what I was doing. I wasn't passionate. My first year, I had a hard time and actually ended up leaving the school for a semester. I was like, 'I can't do this. This is too much.' I felt like the pretending went to a whole other level because I was up on stage every two minutes singing and, 'I love this place! Everybody come and study here!' It wasn't resonating with me. But over time, that's another one of those scenarios where God would not let go of me. I wondered where God was and what was going on. But he knew that my passion for singing would develop and he knew that I'd be sitting with you today. So that's why, back then, I pursued that."

'Even More' was the album that introduced Evans to the Christian music scene. It was pop with funky undertones. For his second album 'Letting Go', he has produced a straight forward pop record. The first time I heard it, I was surprised because I'd had Evans pigeon holed as a "black" artist but this new album sounded like the whitest pop I'd heard. I tell Evans that I suspect inside him there's a white guy trying to get out.

He laughs very loudly and shouts excitedly, "I LOVE IT!" and laughs some more! He explains, "I had a lot of influences growing up. I had friends who were in the corner listening to Fred Hammond and Kirk Franklin and I was in the other corner with my headphones on singing Michael W Smith. For real! My friends were like, 'What's wrong with you?!' But I just had a lot of different influences. I did have Andrae Crouch and The Winans and Commissioned but I was also listening to Michael W Smith, Amy Grant, dc Talk and Jars Of Clay. And I was heavily influenced by contemporary Christian music. So this record, I just wanted to focus in a little bit more because the last record was just me coming into the music industry innocently wanting to just tie it all together and do everything I ever wanted to do! But this record I was going to be more focussed and understand that you have other records that you can do. So that's why I chose to do this record in this way."

So it seems that this time around the white guy won but maybe not in the future. It's entirely possible that Evans' music will move in a different direction. "That's funny! The white guy won! Well maybe in the future, Christian music will move to the point where it's like, whatever! Let's just do what's on your heart!

Anthony Evans: Black singer goes white pop

Evans really draws on is own experiences when he ministers. He wants to help others who have struggled with the same issues that God has taken him through. "I want people to understand the truth that God does not accept you more because you have performed something really good for him. The thing is, his blood meets everyone where they are and all we have to do is perform the act of accepting his blood.and that's it. That's all he wants from us. Understanding that rules and regulations are not what Christ wants to do in our lives. He has boundaries set up for us to protect us and to make us into better people. I want people to understand that there is a real relationship that God wants us to have."

He continues, "My ministry, because I've come from church, is to the actual people in the pews who have not quite grasped the concept of this faithful loving God that we serve and who kind of seems distant. And even more distant when we do something wrong. I want people to understand that it's a real deal and the only way I can do that is just by being real through my music. I think that it's very easy for us to get caught up in performance because our culture is very slanted that way. You perform and you'll be accepted. You look good and everybody will be your friend. That's very much our culture. So it's hard not to let that seep into the Church."

He sums it up, "I want to see you passionate about your relationship with Jesus. I think that comes through understanding him and understanding how he wants to relate to us. I think we guess how he wants to relate to us and then jump ahead and the relationship is not there. So it just becomes duty and annoying sometimes. I think that once we get it in the right order it can be great." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

Reader Comments

Posted by caesar mintah in koforidua,Ghana @ 16:13 on Mar 11 2015

i just love his voice and style of singing.He is my mentor

Posted by Lois Graham in San Diego, California @ 19:45 on Dec 1 2013

I saw Anthony Evans at Maranatha Chapel today and must say He has one of the best voices I've ever heard! I rate him right up with Sinatra, also was impressed with his kind Spirit, So glad I got to hear him, What a wonderful Man!!!

Posted by M R in United States @ 17:02 on Dec 25 2011

can ppl plz cut out the sterotypes?! anywho, I have a similar testimony. Its so easy to misunderstand what grace and salvation is all about. we are only required to believe and have faith in God, to communion with him and he will take care of the rest. he will mold us into his image and it takes time people!

Posted by Leandro Bazete in Brasil- Rio de Janeiro @ 15:08 on Oct 15 2011

A paz do Senhor Jesus meu irmão. Depois que eu lhe ouvi me tornei seu fã no bom sentido é claro sem idolatria, à adoração sempre ao nosso Deus, mas adimiro muito a sua voz e suas belíssimas interpretações, um forte abraço! Quando eu gravar o meu cd concerteza irei regravar algumas canções suas. Deus te abençoe. Um amigo!!!

Posted by Sola in Norwich @ 15:28 on Oct 24 2009

Got the "letting go" album from a friend and believe me, it felt like it was saying for me all I wanted to say to God! Long & short, I loved it! Tend to play it when I can't quite find the words to say to God sometimes.

Also love the comment in the interview bout white pop by a black man! :-) I must say I was surprised as well by what I heard expecting the generic gospel/R&B type songs you tend to get from a black artists but more why I loved it!

Though black myself, I've never really been a core "gospel" sound person and I identify with 'Tony' cos I also grew up listening to MWS, Amy Grant, Petra, DC talk & co alongside regular gospel songs and actually veer more towards the CCM: P&W/pop/rock category than gosple so this album really connected with me.

Anthony Evans is a gifted singer and minister and if the quality and lyrics of the song are anything to go by and its effect on people like me who've been "church" people all their lives and its taken a while to get into the reality of God (his grace/love & co), he should know that he has achieved what he set out to do as he said in the last paragraph of the interview (preaching to the converted is the way to go sometimes!). God bless!

Posted by Maggie in Reading, Pa @ 04:18 on May 6 2008

Thank you for your testimony. Your message is genuine and the spirit that is within you is beautiful. May your obedience to God's calling in your life continually be manifested through your God-giving talent.

Posted by Yeasha in Belmopan, Belize, C.A. @ 20:45 on Jan 25 2008

wow, amazing. I can feel God's Spirit in each song...and that, that is what truely moves and touches the depts of our hearts, our needs, and whateever situation we are in at that moment. I love the music...i just (and i mean a few hrs ago) got a cd from a friend who lives in Georgia but is here now for a while, beautiful! i know some of these songs like "Blessed be your name" And more and i am so amazed! God Bless you always Anthony Evans! Kepp encouraged and steadfast always on God...our only source.

Posted by Lani in Hercules, California @ 02:43 on Sep 26 2007

Honestly, I saw/heard Anthony for the first time on TV during Billy Graham's sermon. I heard the voice and very much enjoyed the song and it's message. Then, I saw the face...I said "wow, he's black!" I totally love it! It's like hearing Tina Marie singing for the first time, then to find out she's white. Can't wait to see you Anthony at Freemont in October! God's blessed you with a beautiful voice.

Posted by Bobby Pace in Greer,South Carolina @ 17:03 on Nov 24 2006


Reply by Donald Tedder in Westchester, N.Y. @ 05:33 on Feb 8 2007

I think both albums are great and a good ministering tool. Anthony sings with conviction

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