MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Evvie McKinney is the newest Memphis singing sensation to take the crown in a national television singing contest.
Her star continues to rise in A-list circles.
Evvie came back to Memphis to give WMC5’s Kontji Anthony a behind-the-scenes look and show her what it's really like to win the big show.
Life after winning a national singing contest is a lot of hard work.
“We have an early morning,” said her brother and manager Emmanuel. “We have to start the day at 4:30."
Evvie and her brother sat down with us at her old stomping grounds, Memphis' New Club Paradise. It’s the same stage where Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin and other legends have performed.
She says there’s no such thing as an overnight success.
"I dreamt about it for so long, ever since I was a little girl,” Evvie said.
The North Memphis native knew music was her life after singing in church. Her musician father died in 2005, and the deep heartache gave her more drive.
"I just remember how much he believed in me,” Evvie recalled.
With six other siblings, her mother never let her miss a beat, from Stax Music Academy to the local Young Actors Guild.
"She taught me what faith really is and faith really is knowing things unseen,” Evvie said.
She says every “up” and every “down” led to the single moment when she stood on stage before America.
She asked God to touch her.
"I had not seen Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs ever in life and he was sitting right there and Meghan Trainor and DJ Khalid, it was really a lot,” Evvie said.
She says Diddy has become like a father figure.
"He really believes in me and he takes the time out to call me, takes time to check on me,” Evvie said.
Family is also crucial.
"We still have to make time to eat something,” Emmanuel said as he worked to map out the rest of the day, after our interview.
Emmanuel was her biology teacher at Soulsville and then her school dean. Now, he’s her manager in L.A.
“It’s kind of like whatever is about to happen, you have to go with the flow,” Evvie said. “Also thinking about how do I want her to be represented and how do we protect her image?”
For Evvie, life is a whirlwind.
"It was just nothing but God’s grace and mercy on my life and it was me taking my dreams to him,” Evvie said.
She speaks to Memphis kids and dreams of building up her old community.
"Buckle up, buckle down because it’s about to be a showdown,” Evvie said.
She is in talks to possibly act on a TV show.
Her debut single “How Do You Feel” is on the charts and her album will soon be released.