After over a year of work, Sixth Former Alphonso Evans has finally released his highly anticipated debut album, Not 2 Young. In 2021 he released his debut single, “Hooked,” a smooth gospel single that showcases Evans’ vocals, which students will recognize from his Notables performances.
With his brand new album, released on October 28, “Hooked” is joined by seven other Christian songs.
“My goal was to make eight songs that meant something in the moment and specifically these eight songs meant something for the world right now. A lot of people, young and old, need to realize that if they have a calling over their life, to give their life over to Christ and be able to accept that calling and be able to call it for what it is… because you should never be too scared or too inexperienced to do what you love to do or to serve Christ.”
The album’s title track, “Not 2 Young,” lyrically represents the overall meaning of the album. The track stands out because it combines gospel with elements of dance and electronic music. It opens as a piano ballad, but then unexpectedly turns into a dance track with a children’s choir in the background. Evans can effortlessly combine genres on multiple songs, yet still create a body of work that is cohesive and dynamic.
“The versatility of the album is what stood out to me first, with some slower tracks like ‘Fully Indebted,’ all the way to upbeat songs for blasting in your car like ‘Not 2 Young,’” Fourth Former Aaron Bonaparte said.
Throughout this entire album, Evans wears his inspirations on his sleeve.
“I love listening to R&B,” Evans said. “I love H.E.R, I love Beyoncé, I love Jasmine Sullivan, so a lot of my inspiration did come from R&B, but I also listen to gospel all the time. Gospel is my root, so Jonathan McReynolds, The Clark Sisters, Kirk Franklin—all of those people have paved the way for me to be able to express myself in a different way.”
He also explained why he feels it is important that he represented these emotions in different styles and genres throughout the album. “There is no one style or one way to express what you are feeling in the moment,” Evans said.
“Fully Indebted” is a vocal highlight. The second half sees Evan’s vocals soaring over a soft instrumental and choir.
This song is one of Evans’ favorites. “I love ‘Fully Indebted’ because it just shows my growth as a vocalist. I never knew that I could hit certain notes and expand my range. I had to get a vocal coach in the middle of this process because of the fact that sometimes I’m not confident in myself and my ability to take my voice to a level that I had never taken before,” Evans said.
All eight tracks were written by Evans himself. He also touches on topics beyond religion, specifically on the song, “I Can’t Breathe,” a power ballad about social justice and police brutality. He said it was one of the tracks he was most proud of.
“It shows my ability to talk about what’s going on right now with Black people and Black crime and police brutality and things that are going on around the world and just say that we have to start doing something about this and come together as a community for the cause,” Evans said.
What I realized from my album, from my single, is that these songs touch people in ways that you’d never expect them toAlphonso evans ’23
This song touched others in the student body as well. Fifth Former Anthony Carter emphasized the importance of the message Evans is sharing.
“Songs like ‘I Can’t Breathe,’ where he’s talking about police brutality and Black Lives Matter show how even though he’s a gospel artist and wants to praise God, he says things that are also relevant to the culture right now.”
This album is personal.
“My main goal is to write for other people,” Evans said. “I do want to perform, I do want to minister, but I feel like my calling is writing, so at this moment, I want to figure out how to start getting to other artists so that I can write for them…I love singing to death, but I feel like being able to connect with others, being able to hear others and what they’re thinking in the moment… is what I really love to do.”
Sixth Former Julian Caesar complimented Evans’ writing skills, especially on the track “Human.” He said, “The lyrics he uses in ‘Human’ are really good. Evans is a great lyricist.”
The music has started a conversation between many students in and outside of school.
“What I realized from my album, from my single, is that these songs touch people in ways that you’d never expect them to,” Evans said. “I’m just starting as an artist, but at the same time I get texts all the time saying, ‘Your music touched me in ways that I can’t explain. I was going through things but when I listened to your songs and your music, they actually touched me.’ So, you don’t know how it’s going to touch people, you don’t know who’s listening, you don’t know who’s watching.”
“[This album] really shows his vocal growth and how he’s carving his lane in the gospel industry,” Fifth Former Anthony Carter said. “I think a lot of the songs are timeless, and I could see myself listening to them later down the line.”