TLC’s remaining two members, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, have released their first album in 15 years, according to Time magazine. Fans have reacted well to new songs, “Way Back” featuring Snoop Dogg, and “Haters.”
TLC’s last album, 3D, was released just months after third member Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes died in a car accident in 2002. Since then, Chilli and T-Boz have stayed active in the music business through overseas tours. The duo has also dabbled in everything from reality television, What Chilli Wants and Totally T-Boz, to retail as Chilli has a handbag line, while T-Boz previously owned a boutique.
T-Boz and Chilli wanted to get back into the studio, but instead of going with a record label, the singers opted to crowdfund their album by launching a Kickstarter campaign. Chilli and T-Boz asked for $150,000, but fans donated more than $430,000 to support their final album.
Chilli sat down with Time magazine to discuss TLC’s latest album. Chilli said they were sold on the fact that they could have the freedom to record whatever they wanted to. Chilli said the Kickstarter campaign also allowed them to involve their fans and get their input.
T-Boz and Chilli were both surprised when they discovered other artists like Katy Perry, New Kids On The Block, and Bette Midler began contributing to their campaign.
“I was like, ‘What?!’ It’s just unbelievable, she’s so legendary. You never know who likes your music, you know what I mean? It really ignited that fire in us to go in and make a great album.”
In the process of making the songs for the album, Chilli and T-Boz decided that they wanted to create music that was relevant and addressed issues going on in this day and age. The singers said they always make relatable and timeless music, so Cyberbullying is a relevant topic which is highlighted in the song, “Haters.”
Chilli hopes TLC can be an inspiration to girl groups. The singer emphasized the word, “inspiration,” as she stated it was important for artists to be unique and refrain from mimicking other artists. Chilli said Bruno Mars is a superstar who really stands out to her. The singer said Bruno’s talent is refreshing, but his music is “old-school music,” and added, “It’s still good music. And that’s what you need.”
Female empowerment, confidence, and self-love are just a few messages TLC has a legacy of leaving in their songs. When asked if the reception of this message had changed over the years and if their music would have an impact on society, Chilli said the message is more important right now than ever. When TLC first hit the scene, social media didn’t exist and “haters” couldn’t hide behind an electronic device to deliver nasty messages. TLC members said that they wanted everyone to understand that regardless of your circumstance, you will have “haters.”
“But you have to be resilient. You have to not allow them to have the power over you where you start believing the things they say. That’s why we wanted to put out a song like that.”
T-Boz and Chilli said that over the years, the girls have developed a formula that works and is unique to TLC. T-Boz said they make sure not to stray from that formula. Chilli said part of the formula is providing a great track and awesome lyrical content. The singer said that once you hear their voices on the songs, the public will know it’s a TLC record.
Snoop Dogg is featured on TLC’s newest album in their single, “Way Back.” The women said they have known Snoop for many years and have always been fans of each other’s work. Chilli and T-Boz said they just hoped Snoop would be excited to be a part of their album. Chilli said Snoop Dogg was professional and accommodating.
Touring has not changed, according to Chilli. The only difference is the duo gets to perform new songs like “Way Back” with new, fun choreography. Chilli said they have been trying to come up with new signature dance moves and create challenges on social media. The duo asked their fans to post a video doing the dance with a certain hashtag.
The TLC members have taken to social media in the last several years. Chilli said she and T-Boz enjoy social media and love engaging with the people who support the group.
TODAY is finally here!! Our album is out and this could not hv happened without our kickstarter supporters. We are 4ever thankful n grateful for the continued love and support.! I mean this with all my ❤! Album available in stores (Target, BestBuy, Walmart, Barnes and Noble) and online now! ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
T-Boz and Chilli have toured internationally in addition to creating solo albums. Chilli said Left Eye, T-Boz, and herself all landed solo deals. However, she wanted to record another TLC record. Chili said she reached out to the girls and that is how TLC 3D happened [in 2002]. Chilli revealed, “Had I not made that phone call, we would not have had that record.”
After this album, Chilli said the music industry began to change. According to Chilli, the music industry became a world she ” didn’t feel comfortable trying to fit into it at that time.” It was during this time she starred in her reality television show, What Chilli Wants.
When asked if they had a favorite track off the new album, Chilli spoke of the first song on the album called, “No Introduction.” Chilli said the girls “don’t need an introduction” because the women have worked hard in the music industry to break down gender barriers. Chilli said she wouldn’t assume everyone in the world knows who TLC is, but a lot of people do.
“We worked very hard to kick some doors down, not only for ourselves but for those behind us. And not just girl groups, but groups, period. So I like that one [‘No Introduction’] a lot.”
When asked if this album would be their last album together, Chilli said the music industry has changed so much, but it’s not the end of TLC. Chilli said, “Our plan and goal is to secure a residency in Las Vegas.”
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]