Evelyn King, the iconic disco era singer, was born on July 1, 1960, in New York, New York, to Johnniea and Erik King. Her father performed with doo wop groups at the Apollo Theater, and her mother was the manager of the R&B group Quality Red. When she was a teenager, King sang in church with her seven siblings and frequently performed as a backup singer for cover bands.
King was overheard singing by producer Theodore “T.” Life one night while helping her mother clean offices at Philadelphia International Records. He began coaching her after being impressed by the maturity in her voice, despite the fact that she was only fourteen years old at the time. She was eventually offered a recording contract with RCA Records as well as a production contract with Life’s Galaxy Productions.
Because King was so young when she began her career, the stage name “Champagne” was added to help her appeal as an older singer. Smooth Talk, her debut album, was released in 1977 when she was seventeen years old. The album featured the singles “I Don’t Know If It’s Right,” which reached number 23 on the R&B charts, and “Shame,” which reached number 9 on the R&B charts. After selling over 500,000 copies in the United States, both the single “Shame” and the album Smooth Talk were certified gold. Her second album, Music Box, was also certified gold in 1979.
Call On Me (1980) and I’m In Love (1981) both had chart-topping singles but did not achieve the same level of success as the first two. Get Loose (1982), her fifth album, featured the single “Love Come Down,” which achieved silver status on the British charts after selling over 60,000 copies in the country, while the album was certified gold in the United States.
Throughout the 1980s, King released five more albums: Face to Face (1983), So Romantic (1984), A Long Time Coming (1985), Flirt (1988), and The Girl Next Door (1989), and had a single from each album that remained in the top ten of the Billboard charts. She parted ways with RCA in 1986, and signed with EMI, a division of Capitol Records. King.
In the 1990s, King only released one album with Expansion Records, a British record label, I’ll Keep a Light On (1995). It took another twelve years for King to release her 12th studio album, Open Book (2007), under Big Day Productions. The album’s lead single, “The Dance,” peaked at number 12 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. In 2016, King released the single “Dance All Night” with her brother Johnny.
In 1987, King had a daughter who was born with brain damage and died two years later. In 1990, she married smooth jazz guitarist Freddie Fox and has released ten compilation albums. During a tour in 2006, King experienced a major health scare, which resulted in the discovery of a previously unknown fibroid tumor. She has worked on several television show productions and toured for over 40 years. She is particularly well-liked on cruise ship Disco/1970’s themed tours.