From: Florida,United States
Born in Chicago (god I love this city!) in 1953. Evelyn grew up on Chicago's south side, an area rich in musical history. Evelyn, like most great black female singers, began singing in her local church. As a teenager she enjoyed music and was particularly inspired by the rising Motown sound and it's stable of divas and girl groups.
After finishing school and securing a bland office job, Evelyn started acting lessons and had her eye on a career in performing. Her first chance at recording came in 1973 when her church choir recorded "Something special" with Reverend Anne Crockett Ford. A second album "Share The Bread Of Presence" by the Center For Contemporary Celebration was released in 1974.
By 1974, having her voice in place and the desire to make it, Evelyn left for New York. Answering an audition notice for talented singers for an upcoming Broadway show, Evelyn, with her incredible voice easily landed a part in the chorus. After a brief run on Broadway and an appearance on the 1975 original cast album of "The Wiz" she returned home to Chicago.
Having acquired a manager while in New York Evelyn was poised for secular success. While back home Evelyn was notified by her manager that a young Englishman was in town searching for "soul" singers.
In 1975 Ian Levine was a disc jockey from England. He was one of the founders of England's "northern soul" explosion and his success at Blackpoll Mecca is legendary. Ian, whose parents were quite wealthy, would often make record-buying junkets to the U.S. and his love of Motown, R&B, and soul would eventually spur him into record producing. Levine had come to America to discover talent for his newly formed Voltafine Production Company. His goal was to record American soul singers and lease the masters to major U.S./UK record companies. Thomas sang in a plain, unemotional voice that masked her ethnicity; Thomas is a black singer who sounds white, by design or by chance. Impressed by her voice and willingness, Levine cut some tracks and secured a deal for her with 20th Century Records. During this period, Levine was a constant victim of rip-offs and threats, but persevered to realize his dream, often having to call up friends and relatives for loans via Western Union for payoffs and to complete sessions.
Levine and Danny Leake produced Thomas' first 45 single, "Weak Spot," which was arranged by Paul Wilson. It soon entered the UK's Top 50 and became a minor hit. The success of Thomas' record and others ("Running In Another Direction"-Barbara Pennington "My Destination Is Love"-L.J. Johnson) prompted Voltafine to fly their American artists to En gland to appear on Top Of The Pops, in hopes of breaking the recordings on Britain's pop charts. Thomas came over with her fellow Chicagoans and Voltafine artists Barbara Pennington and L.J. Johnson. The appearances went well but the records never crossed to the pop charts, nor did they chart in the States. Still, "Weak Spot" sold 70,000 copies, pretty good for a debut.
After returning to Chicago, the threesome was soon flown back to England to tour the Northern soul clubs; this event was promoted by Terry King and was called the Chicago Soul Review. 20th Century records welcomed Thomas with open arms and did all they could to help her while she was in England. Thomas went over well at the clubs, being blessed with a perpetual smile and a bluesy voice that Levine and Leake could transform to pop/disco in a New York minute. Financially, the tour was a failure, drawing well in the northern areas but failing miserably in London proper. "Doomsday," Thomas' follow-up, didn't do as well as her debut, entering the chart and dropping out, only to re-enter again for a pit stop before disappearing completely; it sold less than half of what "Weak Spot" did.
Back in the studios, Levine cut the Gloria Gaynor-influenced "Love Is Not Just An Illusion" and "My Head's In The Stars" for Thomas, both would not be released for three years.
By now it was 1977 and Thomas had still not had a hit Stateside. Ian had persuaded Evelyn to move to England, Danny Leake had moved on and Levine had found a new partner, Fiachra Trench, who would share in his greatest successes. Trench-Levine-Thomas began recording tracks for a proposed upcoming album, or at least a single release. Seven tracks were produced by Levine and co-written and arranged by Trench. Two wouldn't see the light of day till over a decade later and the other five were licensed to American disco label Casablanca Records.
The 1978 release of "I Wanna Make It On My Own" was a masterpiece of classic disco. However it suffered from several things, a lack of promotion from the label and it's failure to release a 12" single, either promotionally or commercially. Despite that the record was successful and thanks to a Canadian 12" single medley of songs from the album it sold well.
Excited by the initial success and dismayed by Casablanca's hands-off approach, Levine quickly produced two cuts to shop around as a 12" single to other labels. AVI Records bought the rights to "Have A Little Faith In Me" and "No Time To Turn Around." A promotional-only 12" single was released and the response was overwhelmingly positive. The label wanted more tracks to issue an album. Ian hired former Chicago D.J. Rick Gianatos to remix two earlier cuts, "My Heads In The Stars" and "Love's Not Just An Illusion" to appease the label. (Hot Productions added five non-album tracks to its 1996 CD release of "Have A Little Faith In Me." The singer's first two singles, "Weak Spot" and "Doomsday" (from 1975 and 1976, respectively), as well as "Summer On The Beach," "Love In The First Degree," and the mostly instrumental "Sleaze.") The label (AVI) folded shortly afterwards and Evelyn wouldn't be released on vinyl again for nearly five years, until Ian's cash flow allowed him to operate his own label. By 1984 Levine had scored enough minor hits with his ever-growing stable of artists to bankroll another Thomas-led round of recordings. At this session, Ian and Evelyn would make history and literally turn the club music scene around. During the early 1980's disco presumably had died and club music had turned to a funkier downbeat sound. Tapping in on a frustrated predominantly gay audience that yearned for up tempo music Ian created "High Energy." This one song started the Hi-NRG movement and became Evelyn's biggest, most successful and signature song. The album featured two more up tempo hits, "Masquerade" and "Second Best" as well as the more downbeat "Shy Guy" and "Heartless." "High Energy" was such an international hit that it has been remixed and re-released several times over the ensuing years. Evelyn has toured Europe, Canada, the entire U.S., Japan, Australia, and even South America based on the success of this one song.
For the follow-up album recorded in 1985 Ian, Trench, and Thomas honed the mix that they had perfected the previous year. "Standing At The Crossroads" was another smash, although topping "High Energy" would be next to impossible. This album produced more singles than any album she had done previously, six of the eight tracks were remixed and released as 12" singles.
The first single released was a remake of the Diana Ross & The Supremes classic "Reflections". Followed by singles of "Cold Shoulder" (two mixes-1985), "Sorry Wrong Number" (1985), "How Many Hearts" (1986), "Tightrope" (1986) and "Standing At The Crossroads" (1987). A medley using "High Energy" as the backdrop was also released on original vinyl.
In 1988 I had the opportunity to work with Evelyn. Her show on April 15th was exciting and memorable. Although contracted for a 25 minute performance Evelyn had so much fun that it lasted closer to an hour. Besides the actual performance, two things stick out in my mind about that weekend. Prior to the show at her hotel room, while having her makeup and hair done I commented that on her latest album (see picture above) she reminded me of Connie Francis. Evelyn had no idea who Connie was, her makeup man and I were dying over that, later I showed her an album of Connie and she too enjoyed the laugh and agreed that there was a similarity.
And the next day, prior to taking her to the airport for a late afternoon flight, we went to her sister's house for breakfast. We listened to music, ate, and talked. It was fun to hear stories from her sister about Evelyn and her antics....my lips are sealed so don't ask! She was one of the nicest, sweetest and most down to earth persons I have worked with. Coming home to Chicago seemed to give us a unique bond and allowed her to open up and enjoy herself.
"This Is Madness" for Megatone Records in 1989, "High Energy (Remix)" for Passion Records in 1990, two remixes for Almighty Records; "Reflections" (1992) and "High Energy" (1993), "Move Your Body" for ESA Records (1993) another remake of "High Energy" for Energise Records in 1996 and her last known recording with Groove Box in 1998 on "Tell The World."
You may have seen her in 1995 on the Ricki Lake Show, but today Evelyn Thomas, along with husband/music director Anthony Simpson, is once again on tour. She’s mixing the hits with new material... in promotion of her new show.
Evelyn Thomas is now touring with RTL LE DISCO SHOW 2008 Tour.
RTL has welcomed Evelyn with an extensive Tour of France and other parts of the UK starting in May of 2008.
Also Evelyn Thomas along with her husband/music director is in the studio producing a new CD collaborating with other Producers from around the world.
Look out for the new Evelyn Thomas CD with an international appeal.
Back from her triumphant fifteen city RTL Tour in France were she dazzled thousands of fans night after night, French Television and national press interview, Evelyn Thomas has returned with a force. Having a grueling schedule both on stage and in the studio Evelyn has teamed up with record labels, producers and writers around the globe to create a musical blist-kreege in the UK.
Evelyn Thomas has completed several new recordings in several different Countries that will reestablish her again as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Her New release called “PROVE IT” will be released in France on Evolusound Records. Written and produced by Frank Savannah and Evelyn Thomas, remixed by Laurent Schark and other prominent DJ’s with their own special mixes, will no doubt prove the fact that Evelyn is about to shake the French and UK pop-dance-house market. This will be release in late 2009.
In Scandinavia Her New releases will be on a Diva Album called “STICK TO THE PLAN”. This album will feature Evelyn singing on four different songs. Each song will have remixes by Laurent Schark. The title track is written and produced by Soren Jensen, Clive Scott (of the world renowned band JIGSAW know for the song called“ Sky High”) and Evelyn Thomas. Two more excellent songs on this album song by Evelyn are called “INFEDELITY” and “MISSING THE TARGET” produced by S. Jensen and C. Scott. The Surprise in this album is the only ballad song by Evelyn called “WHY MUST THE SUNRISE”. This extremely beautiful song will show a side of Evelyn’s versatility as a song stylist. Produced by S. Jensen, C. Scott, E. Thomas and A. Simpson. This will be a new market for Evelyn in easy listening music. Total tracks featuring Evelyn Thomas including remix will be eight. The new single “INFEDELITY” has been release and receiving rave reviews. The ten remixes are creating response from the public on www.myspace.com/theevelynthomas website which is getting over 5000 hits a day from the May release date. The label is Night Dance Records of Sweden.
Almighty Records UK has just release the new single with 10 remixes of the hit “ HIGH ENERGY”. Since its release the stats are showing High Energy as the number selling single from its release. The High Energy team has been reformed. Evelyn has recorded three new recordings with the renowned Ian Levine called “PONDING THE PAVEMENT”, “A MILLION TO ONE” and “ALL I CAN GIVE YOU IS ME”. These masters to be released in the later part of 2009. Expect a Fabulous Show.