TLC Army caught up with producer/songwriter/engineer known as Tipz to ask him some questions about his recent work with on the upcoming TLC album, and find out what other projects he is working on.
Hello, Tipz, thanks for agreeing to chat with us today. I want to ask about one of the songs that you produced for the upcoming TLC album, Joy Ride. It was released in Japan last year and hit #1 on iTunes there; and I know that US fans are eager for its release here. What inspired that song and what was it like working on it?
Thanks TLC Army for taking the time and reaching out; it’s greatly appreciated. I was sitting at my keyboard in my home studio one night and was playing some chords. As always, I went to my “How would Prince make this more unique” line of thinking and started making the chords move and bounce to tell a musical story. My wife was putting our son to sleep so I had headphones on, but didn’t realize how loud they were. She heard what I was doing and said, “that sounds dope, what’s that?” From there I knew I had something special because she’s my most harsh critic and it’s hard to sell her on my music.
Fast forward, Rose Gold requested that I strip the original beat to just chords, so I played them for her and she wrote the whole song to just the piano. She loves writing to simple elements, it’s really amazing to watch. Two days later, I walked in the studio and Knotch was adding drums to the song and I immediately pulled my bass out. Ray Keys randomly walked in, we had him hop on the keyboard and we all just started vibing. The songwriting and production for Joy Ride was truly organic.
Are there other songs that you worked for on the TLC album, and can you tell us anything about those?
Yes, I co-produced on American Gold with Kayo, and Aye Muthaf**ka with DrePhantom and Richie (The Collective). Those were really fun as well. We spent a lot of time getting those records just right and did a lot of different versions for both until it felt amazing. Hearing American Gold finished with TLC vocals on it was a great experience.
How did it come about for you to start work on this TLC album? Were you part of the writing camp, and if so- can you tell us about that experience?
I was in the studio and Knotch told me, “I’m gonna get you in the TLC writing camp, so make some moves” and I was like okay cool. I actually thought he meant I was coming in as a writer. The coordinator for the camp hit me and said I could submit tracks if I had some. I went into Mamba mode and shot a bunch of tracks over. I found out around 4 am the day of the camp that I was coming in as an engineer, so I was a little confused but I went with it. I got in and opened the folder of tracks for the writers and almost half of them were from the batch I submitted. I knew God was in control at that point. From there, I was pulled in on different songs for the album.
That was hands down the best writing camp I’ve been to. The vibe was amazing in every studio. We danced, joked, laughed, and worked extremely hard, but it didn’t feel like work.
T-Boz and Chilli are huge Prince fans, and I know that you have worked with Prince at Paisley Park. Do you feel that any of the new TLC material was Prince inspired?
Oh yeah definitely. I hear a little bit of him on Way Back (love that song). This album definitely has a bit of Prince in it.
What’s next for you? Do you have any upcoming projects that we should be looking out for?
I’m currently working on T-Boz’s solo album for her book, “A Sick Life.” I’m blessed to have a lot of great music coming out in 2017, God is good!
Thanks for taking time out to answer some of our questions, and welcome to the TLC Army family!
Again thanks for having me! Appreciate you all, much love!
Joshua “Tipz” Richardson is a producer/songwriter/engineer from Los Angeles, CA. He has worked with artists such as TLC, Prince, Luke James, Tyrese, Liv Warfield, Ray J, Judith Hill, B. Howard, and many more. His work can be heard on television and film such as on “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” “Bad Girls Club,” “Rob Dyredek’s Fantasy Factory,” and “Drumline: A New Beat” to name a few.
Check out this Jazzi Collins song, “Feather,” produced and co-written by Tipz along with Jazzi C. (Guitar-Tyrone Nibblett) on the SoundCloud link below: