INTERVIEW: TLC Opens Up About Its Self-Titled Final Album
By Isha Thorpe
June 30, 2017
The year was 1992. This new colorful, bubbly, swagged-out girl group by the name of TLC released its first album entitled Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip and would change the music industry forever.
The group instantly became an international sensation and everyone wanted to be just like them. Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes were officially on millions of people’s radars. With the messages that the group’s songs had, the girls’ slick dance moves and beauty, TLC would leave a last impression for years and years to come.
Within the course of the next 25 years, TLC would release four more studio albums, several compilation albums and dozens of chart-topping singles including “Waterfalls,” "Baby Baby Baby," "No Scrubs," "Unpretty," "Creep," "Red Light Special," "Meant To Be" and so much more. Due to TLC’s incredible catalogue of work, the group has sold over 75 million albums worldwide and is considered one of the most successful girl groups of all time.
That’s why we were all shocked in 2015 when TLC’s surviving members, T-Boz and Chilli – Left Eye passed away in a car crash in 2002 in Honduras – announced that they would soon be releasing one last album. TLC raised money for the final album via Kickstarter and its goal was $150,000. To date, this campaign has raised over $430,255 and became the fastest-funded pop campaign in the history of the platform! Talk about some diehard fans. Even Katy Perry donated $5,000 to the cause, once she heard of it.
Now, TLC’s self-titled album is here. The 12-track project features T-Boz and Chilli's smooth, silky vocals; as well as Left Eye's voice on the project's interlude. iHeartRadio spoke to TLC about its final project, what the future holds for the group and its legacy.
Check out iHeartRadio’s interview with TLC below.
Why did you decide that now is the time for a final TLC album?
T-Boz: Timing is everything and the fans really urged us to do this again. And I know for a while, she wanted to do, too. I think I was the slow link here. But, life happens. Then, the record companies are just kind of getting really whack with the 360 deals. Yeah and we're seasoned. So, when our manager came up to us and told us about Kickstarter, we were leery of it.
Chilli: Well, once he expressed to us the freedom that we would have, we were like, ‘Okay, we're all down.’ And you know, the fact that this was another way to involve our fans to be a part of this last chapter with us, we were all in for it.
With singles like “Haters” and “Perfect Girls,” it looks like your new album has the same women-empowerment messages.
Chilli: That's who we are. That's what we're all about. So, we're always gonna talk about those types of subject matters and it's needed all the time. Maybe more now than when we first came out.
T-Boz: We call it ‘the day of the hoe.’ Hoes are winning. They make it seem like it's okay to be one. So, that's not what you want your little girl to think is hot or strive to be. You want them to know that you can still do it with an earnest living and a good, clean way.
Why did you decide to have Snoop Dogg as your only feature on the album?
T-Boz: We've never done a lot of features ever in our whole career. We're not that group.
Chilli: And with this song (“Way Back”), it has such a west-coast vibe to it, anyway. We've always admired him for years and loved his work and wanted to work with him. So, the opportunity presented itself and he was on board. He knocked it out and it was just a great experience.
T-Boz: It was perfect.
What are you going to miss most about being like TLC, as a unit?
T-Boz: Oh, no. This is forever. We're always gonna be working…
Chilli: We're not gonna stop. Ever. [This is] just our last album.
T-Boz: We have a body of work and 25 years. You're talking about two and a half decades in. So, why not live that out? That's what we should be doing. But, we're not done. We're still here. Girl, we could be doing movies, TV, you just never know. We're not going anywhere. (Laughs)
Do you think Left Eye would have also wanted this to be the final album?
Chilli: Maybe. That part is kind of hard to tell because I think she felt like that at one point. But, then when we were recording the 3D album, she kind of came back on board and it was almost kind of like the beginning days.
T-Boz: Those are hard questions because you never know and with growth, we have kids now. She may have had some. So, you don't know what the future would have held.
What do you want TLC’s legacy to be?
Chilli: That we were true to ourselves and being true to ourselves, we've helped so many people in so many different ways.
T-Boz: That's the part that's important to me. The lives that we've changed because we came to do that. I think we strived to be trendsetters and I think we achieved that. And we stood up for what we believed in and we didn't let nobody make us stray any other way.
T-Boz: The strong lyrical content and just the things that we talked about, we stood for something of substance. So, that's what I want people to remember.
Photos: Rachel Kaplan for iHeartRadio