TLC proudly took the opportunity to be the headline act at this years San Diego Pride 2018 in Balboa Park on July 15th, and they did not disappoint.
Sporting some new, bold and bright fire fighter-styled costumes, the girls hit the stage and delivered all of their hits in true TLC style to a sold out sea of thousands of fans!
The girls kept the party going as they performed hit after hit, a perfect blend of their timeless classics along with brand new songs from their latest self-titled album.
The outfits, which were crafted by the amazingly talented fashion designer Brea Stinson, were inspired by this years trend for neon colours. “Neon is on trend for summer“, Brea told us. “High visibility is the wave this year, so I wanted to give the girls a pop of color.”
TLC have always stood up for equality and love for all, no matter the race, gender or sexuality of the person. Their messsages in their music are universal and current, this is why they are the perfect act to headline San Diego Pride!
TLC have been touring steadily in recent years and their current trek takes them to the Red Rock Resort this weekend for a poolside show!
Brock Radke for Las Vegas Sun caught up with Chilli to talk about all things TLC, a possible return to Las Vegas and her favorite TV show.
You’re playing with SWV, another great girl group with a ton of hits. Are you an SWV fan?
I’m a fan of all girls, it doesn’t matter who they are. I like them, I like En Vogue, the Dixie Chicks, the Spice Girls, anybody out there doing it, I love them.
TLC has played a few different 1990s-themed tours with various other artists. What’s that experience like, and do you enjoy those kinds of shows or do you prefer straight-up TLC shows?
Yeah, we’ve done that the last tour, and we did it with New Kids on the Block [before that]. It really depends. Festivals are a lot of fun but a lot of times when you have so many people sharing the stage, it’s a long time for the audience to be outside. It can be exhausting [for the audience] and for us. I guess I prefer when we’re on tour with just a couple acts. I always feel connected to our fans no matter who else is on tour with us, but [festivals] put a little more between us. But we just played [Soundtrack Music Festival] in Canada and the Goo Goo Dolls were there and all these rock bands and it was awesome. I just love being on that stage. We both love it. We’re just happy to do what we love to do.
What are your personal favorite TLC songs to perform live these days?
I’ve always been this way but I love all the uptempos. I’m not really a ballad type of person, even though I can do it, it’s my least favorite. I like to sing and move and get it in there so I don’t like slowing down too much. When we slow it down for the ballads, I’m thinking I’ll be glad when this is over. But the audience loves those songs so I’m always giving it 100 percent.
You and T-Boz have said last year’s album will be the last proper TLC record but I’m sure your fans are calling for more new music.
Oh yes, we definitely get that. If the right soundtrack comes along or something like that, we’re definitely open to doing new stuff. I think there will be more TLC music in that way but not in the form of an album.
Are you working on any other music or non-music projects right now?
We’re working on some things I can’t say, but yes, we are hoping to be on the screen again soon and we’re still hoping for some kind of residency in Las Vegas. We’re in talks, going back and forth. Hopefully it will work out because we would love to be in Vegas and put on an amazing show. Celine Dion has been out there for what, 15 years? That’s awesome. That would be the dream.
You’re heading to San Diego this month for Comic Con, where you’ll be moderating on a panel all about the TV show “Siren.” How did that happen?
My mom first told me about it because she knows I like stuff like that, sci-fi stuff. If you get a chance, go and watch it and you’ll get hooked. It’s about these mermaids and they come up on land and it’s so good. When I watch it I tweet about it and I guess some of the cast members and producers were a little shocked and excited that I watched the show and loved it, so we developed a sort of Twitter relationship. They sent me this mermaid fin-tail thingy that I can throw on right before I head to Comic Con. When they reached out, I just couldn’t say no. But I am touring so I’ll be jumping on a plane real quick after that to head out to the next show. But I’m really excited and I can’t wait to meet the cast.
Maybe you can try out the mermaid tail at the pool at Red Rock.
Maybe I can! It’s the real deal, not one of those things you get at Party City. It comes with instructions so you know it’s serious. I need to read those.
TLC performs with SWV at 6 p.m. July 14 at the Sandbar Pool Stage at Red Rock Resort (11011 W. Charleston Blvd., 702-797-7777) and more info can be found at stationcasinoslive.com.
R&B trio TLC has nothing left to prove. In addition to their four Grammy wins, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (who passed away in a 2002 car accident) have sold more than 65 million albums worldwide.
The threesome’s first four albums all went multi-platinum, and despite now more than doubling that number, their 1994 smash CrazySexyCool is still the only album by female group to receive diamond certification (10+ million in sales) from the Recording Industry Association of America.
After a 15-year hiatus during which Lopes was never replaced, Watkins and Thomas started a Kickstarter campaign earmarked for what would be the band’s farewell album.
The campaign garnered more than $430,000 — some $280,000 above the $150,000 goal — including a $10,000 contribution from New Kids on the Block and $5,000 from Katy Perry.
Watkins and Thomas intend to keep their word on the album as their swan song, but look forward to continuing under the TLC moniker.
This weekend, the pair appears at their first-ever Pride Festival where they will close the San Diego event with a headlining performance on Sunday night.
PACIFIC recently spoke with Watkins from her L.A. home about it all.
PACIFC: How are you?
TIONNE “T-BOZ” WATKINS: I can’t complain — not at all. Things have been really good. I’ve just been running myself crazy lately. I’m doing the TV show between every live performance and I sometimes ask myself, “Oh my god, what did I do?” But really, it’s a blessing. At least I’m working, right? (laughs)
Yeah! It started in 2016 for just a few episodes. But they called me back three times! Now, I have a whole life there. It’s so fun. And it allows me to get home to have dinner with my kids. It’s a great job for me. And my kids love it.
And that’s kids, plural. With a teenage daughter and all of your work, quite the commitment to adopt a baby boy!
It’s crazy! But I had said year after year that I wanted a boy. And that’s after I almost died with my daughter — I went into a coma for three days. But I’m hardheaded. I was like, “I think I can do it again.” And my family said, “Oh, hell no. You’re not doing that again.”
I wanted to adopt another little boy before, but the mother we were talking to reneged. And I ended up in the ICU and lost my spleen. So I thought it was meant to happen like that because I got really sick. But then my mom told me that this time, (the woman) had another baby and wanted to give it up. We talked to her for two months, made sure she really wanted to do it this time, and it happened.
Great result, but that had to have been difficult.
It was one of the most stressful times in my life. I thought being sick was stressful, but having your child from day one and knowing that someone could still strip that baby away from you, it was the most stress I’ve felt in my life.
But really, it’s all kept me younger. And I really was second-guessing myself at first. People just made so many negative comments about my age. But I’m dancing like I’m 19 years old all over the world and that doesn’t bother me! (laughs)
There’s never been a perfect time to do anything in my history.
My son, Chance, and the adoption just turned everything around for me — and came at the perfect time. He’s really the inspiration for songs like It’s Sunny and Way Back on the TLC album. I just put that positive energy into it.
But like you said, I have a 17-year-old as well. So it’s crazy. I have the emotional teen and the terrible two. So I have a double dose of it right now. (laughs)
Speaking of the album, you guys have said it’s your last. Is it?
It’s the last studio album. But I won’t say it’s the last of TLC. We both really want to do a residency and are currently in negotiations for the right deal. And I think that we both would be down with contributing a song to a compilation album or something like that, but as far as studio albums go, we’re done.
It’s hard. With Lisa, and people holding her vocals hostage, it’s a lot. And it’s stressful. We don’t want to go through all of that. We just really wanted to give fans what they’ve been asking for, and that was another album. So that’s what we did.
And now you’re going to be a part of San Diego’s Pride celebration.
I’m excited. It’s my first time. And honestly, the last few years have been our first time ever doing festivals, period. In the past, we’ve always been on some kind of full-blown tour. But we’re just now getting into spot dates and festivals. It’s awesome.
Great that you chose San Diego to kick it off.
I hosted a solo thing a while back and had a ball. But I’m excited to see what it’s really all about.
People are just so judgmental these days. And they’re judging those who are showing their own reflection and real truth. I just want people to be able to be free and who they are. And we want to support that.
TLC headline the San Diego Pride festival on July 15 at Balboa Park. Get your tickets at https://sdpride.org
Pitchfork: Next year is the 25th anniversary of CrazySexyCool. In that time period, do you think it’s become any easier for women in the music industry to be independent, both artistically and financially?
Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas: Women have more of a voice now. I think it was definitely harder before we came out and during the time that we came out. You had to fight a lot harder to make sure your voice was heard. We kicked down a lot of doors. It makes us feel really good when we hear someone like Lady Gaga thank us for paving the way for them. I definitely think that it’s different and the struggle is not over, but not the same.
So much about TLC broke the girl group formula, but there are also aspects of your music that fall into the girl group history: harmonies, choreography, a sense of unity. Did you see yourself as fitting into that lineage when you were forming TLC?
Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins: I don’t think we had girl groups on our minds at that time. I didn’t know if I wanted to be in a group or just be an artist, period… But growing up [performing] in a band with my family, my mother and my father singing, of course I knew about the Ronettes. Patti LaBelle was one of my mom’s favorite singers. The Supremes, I loved them. But honestly, it wasn’t until I was put in the situation of a group that I started paying attention to the dynamics of being with girls, because I never got along with women growing up. I was like, “Uh oh, is this gonna be super hard for me?” Then I started paying attention to groups.
Did you ever sing girl group music growing up?
T-Boz: Oh, yeah. [singing]“Wait a minute, Mister Postman!” Of course. Even that song that’s out now [“Feel It Still” by Portugal, the Man] sounds just like it and it’s a major hit. When you hear something familiar to your ear that was already a hit, you don’t know why you like it, you’re just drawn to it. And I think that’s why that single did so well, because it was a classic from the Marvelettes.
Women’s self-esteem has always been a big topic for TLC, from “Unpretty” through your more recent song “Perfect Girls.” Do you have any thoughts on this now, in the age of Instagram?
T-Boz: Social media has made it to where young girls are striving to be something that’s not real. They have all these apps and filters where you can adjust your body shape. So I just want the younger generation to understand: None of us are perfect. We all have flaws. I just wish people would be more forthcoming about that. It cracks me up when you see somebody with a clearly fake booty; you wanna lie and say you was doing squats and you got on a push-up bra? Come on, man. Just say, “I got some injections in my lips. I got cheekbones. I got a butt ’cause I didn’t like mine being flat,” and keep it moving.
Chilli: It’s the deceitful part that makes it not okay. Nobody has this super-smooth everything from your head to your toenails.
T-Boz, I know you have a teenage daughter and a younger son. And Chilli, you have an older son and you founded Chilli’s Crew, an Atlanta nonprofit for disadvantaged teen girls. What are you trying to teach your daughter and your program girls today about how to live in this world?
T-Boz: My daughter understands how to respect herself. She’s been knowing that since she could talk. I’ve heard her even tell her friends about how they should respect themselves. And I don’t have to worry about nobody else raising my child, because I do. I’m secure in knowing that I’ve done my job as a parent and she’s not looking to Instagram to raise her.
Chilli: It’s sad because a lot of those girls [in Chilli’s Crew] are in group homes and they have a lot of challenges. I tell them to tell themselves,“I’m not going to allow these circumstances to be the reason that I can’t be successful.” You don’t always have to be a product of your environment…. And with my son, I’m just raising him to not be the average dude. That would not be acceptable to me. I’m teaching him to be respectful not only to women but to adults. I tell him,“I don’t care how old you become, I’m always gonna be older, so you’re never gonna be my equal.”
Do you have a favorite Left Eye moment in a TLC song?
T-Boz: Just her essence is my favorite. But one moment is the opening of how we all began, on “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg.” I mean, if I didn’t know us and I saw this girl with this bright green hat going, “Yo, one check, mic check, one, two, one, two, we in the house…” She just had this energy; you had to pay attention.
Chilli: I really love how she rapped in our Christmas song, “Sleigh Ride.” I miss how silly we all used to be together. It was just how we interacted, at least when we were all liking each other at the same time—you know how sisters are! We used to get into so much trouble. Almost getting kicked out of hotels, making an airplane almost turn back.
Wait, you almost grounded an airplane by being too crazy?
Chilli: Yeah, on the [MC] Hammer tour. Lisa got on the plane with her boombox and every time the flight attendant would come by, she’d ask her to turn the volume down. And Lisa would turn it down, but as soon as the flight attendant would walk away, she’d turn it back up. She kept doing that. And then it just kind of escalated from that point.
T-Boz: They had the police waiting for her when we landed. Lisa didn’t like the way the lady asked her. She felt that she could have asked her more respectfully. She was like[uncanny Left Eye impression], “I wouldn’t have minded if she would’ve asked me better than that!”
Chilli: She was fearless.
Which women in music do you like right now? Who’s carrying your girl power torch?
T-Boz: I’m happy that Janet’s back, for sure. “The Pleasure Principle” is my favorite song. SZA is dope. I like Cardi B a lot. She just wants to do herself, see her dream out. I love that and I think it’s refreshing.
Chilli: I have to agree on Cardi B. I just like her attitude. She’s real.
Have you reached out to Cardi B to do a song?
T-Boz: There’s been talk about us doing something together, yeah. You know how it is, the politics and people always getting in the way.
Chilli: We would definitely love to do something with her. I think it would make a lot of sense.
Next year is also the 20th anniversary of “No Scrubs.” Have your red flags for a scrub changed in the last two decades? I mean, Tinder is like scrub central.
T-Boz: Oh god, that’s hilarious. I never use that.
Chilli: Yeah, I never. No, it has not changed. It’ll never change.
T-Boz: There are always scrubs. Any generation, you have a scrub. Always.
The lead singer of TLC stays working! On the eve of the long awaited TLC album reaching it’s year long milestone, T-Boz announced that she is working on some magic in the studio!
This time it’s on a solo tip! T-Boz revealed that she is working on a new song that will feature on a movie soundtrack very soon!
We all know T-Boz brings the heat when she drops music for soundtracks. In the past she gave us “Touch Myself” for Fled, “My Getaway” for Rugrats in Paris and “Wanna Take Me Back” for Backstage: A Hard Knock Life.
She logged on to her Instagram to go live with her fans while she was in the studio working on music with producer Jovan J Dawkins. The pair decided to give a snippet of the song to the fans — as long as it wasn’t recorded and leaked!
One thing that definitely stood out on the slick production was some very distinct high vocals! T-Boz assured us that those high vocals were her own, and Jovan confirmed it was all T!
“Everytime I do higher notes they think it’s not me!” T-Boz stated. “They’re gonna think it’s a background singer or something. Can you tell them that I can sing high myself?”
“She can sing! She has range” Jovan says. “She actually shocked me and my engineer Larry. She can sing them higher notes“.