Gary James' Interview With
Evelyn "Champagne" King
She's only 19 and already has a hit record out called "Shame" on RCA Records. She now finds herself topping the charts and headlining concerts all over the U.S. She is Evelyn "Champagne" King.
When we talked with her she was hard at work on a new album titled "Sweet Delight", slated for release in Summer, 1980.
Q - Evelyn, what's the new album going to be like?
A - It's gonna be kind of different, more versatile. People can jump to it. All kinds of things are on it, Funk, Rock.
Q - Now, do you pick the songs for the album?
A - The producer does that, but my parents also help me. They'll listen to the songs and help me take care of a lot of the business.
Q - Do you come from a show biz family?
A - I have 5 brothers who have a band called The Five Kings. They play my kind of music. And my sister, she's 23, she's my make-up artist and travels with me on the road.
Q - How do you put feeling into a song that you've sung so many times before?
A - I love it so much. I never want to stop singing "Shame".
Q - Was your career carefully mapped out for you, or did you more or less accidentally fall into the business?
A - Well, I'll tell you, my mother and sister were working as cleaning ladies at Philadelphia International Records in New York. One day my sister got sick and my mother asked me to take her place, so I did. As I was cleaning the ladies room, I was singing a Sam Cooke song, "Change Gonna Come". An executive of the record company walks by the room and from the hallway says, "Who's singing in there? Come out here." I did and 2 weeks later I was in the studio making my first album.
Q - Do you find that friends will still treat you the same today as they did in the early days?
A - I don't remember having too many friends. I was a loner, a tomboy. There's only one girl I was really close to and I've heard from her only once.
Q - What do you like to do to relax?
A - I like to roller skate, go horseback riding, go to the movies.
Q - Who do you listen to?
A - Dolly Parton, Pattie La Belle, Chaka Kahn, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson. I love Michael Jackson. Jermaine Jackson. I like his solo album.
Q - When you performed at the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse N.Y. last year (1979), you sold out the first show and a second show was added. Does that kind of thing happen a lot to you?
A - Not really. Syracuse was maybe the 2nd or 3rd best date on the tour. The best crowd in New York. They know who you are and what you're all about. I love playing New York.
Q - Do you consider yourself a Disco artist?
A - No. No way.
Q - And finally, I know you get this all the time, but why is your middle name "Champagne"?
A - I knew you were going to ask that. I was waiting for it. My nickname was "Bubbles" and champagne is bubbles on the rocks.