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Memphis’ Evvie McKinney sings her way to ‘The Four’ finale on Fox

by Lee R. Watkins

Evvie McKinney comes from a close-knit musical family, so it was no surprise that she dedicated her debut performance on Fox’s “The Four” to her late father.

McKinney, 20, is a Memphis-native and the youngest of seven children. She appeared on “The Four” on last Thursday (Feb.1) and sang “Rise Up” by Andra Day, impressing the panel of celebrity judges: Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled, Meghan Trainor and Charlie Walk.

“You gave me range, you gave me color, you gave me complexity, and you gave your family and your father victory,” said Diddy during the live broadcast.

Evvie McKinney on “The Four.” (Youtube screen capture)

After her strong performance, McKinney earned the right to choose a member of the sitting four artists to battle head-to-head. She chose Kendyle Paige and sang “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)” by Aretha Franklin for her challenge song. McKinney’s powerful performance drove Diddy and Trainor to their feet. The fans and judges voted unanimously to put McKinney through to the finale.

Larry Dodson Jr., son on The Bar-Kays former lead singer and longtime family friend of the McKinneys, compares the Soulsville Charter School alum’s musical talent to the likes of Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan and Alicia Keys.

“Evvie always had that it factor, and I never gave up on her,” Dodson said. “Evvie has that lasting impression along with the talent. Most artists don’t have that, it’s hard to teach.”

From Dodson’s viewpoint, Memphis is fertile ground.

“Memphis is a cooking bed of nurtured talent, it’s in the DNA of the city,” he said. “The music that comes from here and artists such as The Bar-Kays, Sam and Dave and Otis Redding, have paved the way so we can have this melting pot of talent here, so we can have success stories like Evvie. It’s because of our past, that we have our future.”

On “The Four” potential challengers sing solos and the four panelists have to unanimously vote in favor of the newcomer directly challenging a member of the four. If voted through by the panel, the newcomer chooses which member of the sitting four she/he get to sing against. After both sing, the live studio audience votes on who gets a seat. If a newcomer unseats a member of the four, she/he are then safe for the rest of the evening.

The next episode on Fox is on Thursday (Feb 8) at 7 p.m. The winner gets a record contract and the title of iHeartRadio’s On the Verge artist.

A watch party will be held on Thursday at Memphis Prive’. Doors open at 6 p.m.


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