Following on from their first ever UK show at London’s Koko last week, TLC’s manager Bill Diggins has told Music Week that their upcoming self-titled album will see the multi-million selling R&B group make a return to the global stage.

“The main goal was to create a body of work that would stand up to what they created in the past, but would be relevant today,” said Diggins.

“When you’re the most successful female group of all time, if you get caught up in thinking about the enormity of what TLC is and means to people, I think it can become quite daunting.”

Central to their comeback campaign, Diggins noted, is the Kickstarter model they adopted that saw fans fund, and name the album, and gave the TLC team “the freedom to make the record that we wanted to make”.

TLC is set for release on TLC’s own label 852 Musiq on June 30, with distribution arranged through different deals in different parts of the world, including Cooking Vinyl in the UK.

Diggins stated that the band – now a duo consisting of Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins and Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas, following the passing of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes in 2002 – were initially resistant to the idea of not coming back on a major label, for perception reasons.

“In today’s marketplace, the assets that major labels bring to a project are lacking in marketing, in vision and a lot of the great A&R people that I worked with were gone,” said Diggins, revealing his reasoning.

“If you look at the economics of multi-national corporations today, most of their revenues are being driven with domestic products, so when they have the international product that’s sent through, they’re not making the kind of royalties they do domestically.

So why would they focus the attention on us?”

He continued: “It’s a new model that I think a lot of people will end up following, because it makes no sense at all to do one deal with a major label unless you’re completely inexperienced or lazy. One of
the two.

“The new model I’m suggesting is you raise your own capital, and you do territory specific deals with partners that have meaningful skin in the game,” explained Diggins.

“You have partners that are highly invested in making it a success and they have to put capital up. With every one of our partners, they had to put capital up.”

Speaking of the campaign moving forward from the two previously released singles, Way Back and Haters, Diggins hinted that major American TV appearances are booked in June, while a European tour is on the cards.

He also noted that unplanned activity has bolstered their comeback, including the songwriters of TLC’s hit No Scrubs being added to Ed Sheeran’s blockbusting Shape Of You credits and America’s version of The Voice featuring the judges’ all-star cover of TLC’s signature song Waterfalls.

“We started having all of these other things happen organically,” concluded Diggins. “We feel there’s a lot of wind at our back and a lot of love for TLC, and most importantly, they’ve made a record they can be proud of and we are getting acceptance at television, radio and press.

“We feel blessed and really excited about where we are and the fact that we control the value chain.”