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They called her "Bubbles" because of her effervescent personality and sense of humor. Some thought she'd grow up to become a comedienne. But young Evelyn King was an all-around performer who sang, danced... whatever it took to hold her audience of friends and family members.
"You have to live life to know life," says vocalist-supreme Evelyn "Champagne" King. "That's the philosophy I apply to my day-to-day dealings and that's the philosophy I apply to making my music."
Evelyn "Champagne" King is one of the few disco stars who successfully weathered the decline of disco to have more hits through the 1980's. Not only did she manage to survive as a star into the 1980's, she is still recording and touring frequently today. Evelyn was born into a musical family. She was born in The Bronx and her father, EricK King, performed often as a stand-in singer for various groups, occasionally at the legendary Apollo Theatre. Later, her family moved to Philadelphia, at 14-years-old Evelyn began performing professionally with a local band from South Philly.
At age 15, Evelyn's big break came in storybook fashion. Legend has it she was working, subbing for her sister as a cleaning woman at Philadelphia's Sigma Studios, and singing "A Change Is Gonna Come. "Well known producer, singer, songwriter, for many Artist in Philadelphia and member of the group "Spiritual Concept T. (Theodore) Life," heard her singing. T. Life decided to sign her to his own production deal , and then introduced her to songwriters John Fitch & Ruben Cross when the magic happened. Then introduced to RCA Records Warren Schatz & Nancy Jeffries. Where she then was signed to a contract deal, and produced her first album Smooth Talk. The album included the disco dance smash hit "Shame." She earned some notoriety as a teenager singing adult-themed songs in an adult-sounding voice, then Evelyn was on her way. The follow-up, "I Don't Know If It's Right" was a major mid-tempo R&B hit.
Evelyn had only minor success through the end of the 1970's, but she began working with former B.T. Express member Kashif, who also had a partner Paul Laurence as they teamed up to work with her. The result in 1981 was "I'm in Love," a #1 dance hit. She followed up with the Get Loose album in 1982 and another smash, the classic anthem "Love Come Down." Kashif maintained an open, uncluttered production style that let Evelyn's strong, rich voice shined through.
Evelyn continued to hit the charts through the rest of the early 1980's. In the late 1980's she left RCA for E.M.I. Records. The result was another major hit with "Flirt."
King's 1995 album The Girl Next Door is a celebration of this philosophy: a spirited, ear-opening 10-song platter that is all Evelyn. Produced by such luminaries as Leon Silver III and Gene Dozier, Nayan, Ten City, Marshall Jefferson, and her brother Johnny King, The Girl Next Door deftly showcases the versatile musical and vocal talent that has kept the artist among the most important female vocalists of the past decade.
The Girl Next Door covers a wide range of material, offering a bit of something for everyone. Selections such as the seductive "Day To Day," the arresting "Magnet" or the comforting ballads "Cross Your Mind" and "This Song" all serve to accentuate the artist's remarkable ability to perform with all cause music that ranges from cool, Quiet Storm to beat-laden House.
"It's always been important to me to be in touch with what's going on in music," Evelyn explains. "I enjoy being in the clubs, on the street, listening to what's hot at radio. I know that translates to The Girl Next Door, which is very "now," and I think that has something to do with my continued success over time."
Over Evelyn's 10 album career (The Girl Next Door became her 11th LP), fans and critics have continued to watch and applaud the artist grow and expand creatively without ever losing touch with who she is.