Chilli was recently a guest on the UK based radio show, The Big RnB Show. Chilli discussed the new TLC album with host Ronnie Herel. Click below to listen to the Sound Cloud interview. Chilli joins the show about 1:28:00 into it. Full interview transcript is featured below.
Ronnie- How does it feel to be back?
Chilli – It feels amazing because the love we are getting from everybody is just there, and as an artist you want that. You want to feel that love and it’s exactly what we’re feeling.
Ronnie – How long has the album been in the making?
Chilli – Ok so when we announced it, it was I guess maybe two years ago. It was right before we went on a tour with the New Kids on the Block, and we made the mistake of giving a date. We shouldn’t have done that because we had to fulfill our touring obligations. Just after that we were trying to get everyone’s schedules together which was a pain in the buttocks. But, it finally happened and we were trying to work with Dallas again who is an honorary 4th member of TLC but he was working in London a lot actually and we weren’t able to get our schedules together with him. But, he definitely loves the album.
Ronnie – I can’t wait; well actually I’ve heard it. I had a sneak preview. I have some amazing little favorites on there.
Chilli – So, you have to tell me what are your favorites?
Ronnie – Well, “No Introduction,” I’m loving that. I’m loving the single, “Way Back.” There are a couple on there where you have taken it back to classic TLC – “Start a Fire” – I really love that, and “American Gold” which is deep isn’t it?
Chilli – Oh yeah, it’s very deep.
Ronnie – So there are my special moments for the album. Obviously you must have had a bit of sad moments making the album. In 2002 you lost Lisa Lopes. It’s the first album you’ve done without Lisa but you have her on interludes. How important was it for you and T-Boz to keep Left-Eye on the album?
Chilli – It’s very important because she helped to build this legacy that we have and that’s our sister and we love her – loved her and still love her. Her spirit will live on through us and anytime that we perform and anything that we do, her presence is there. We’re going to make sure that it is. I don’t think that people can think about TLC even though it’s just the two now without thinking about Lisa.
Ronnie – She is still always here in our thoughts whenever we play a TLC record. The last time you were on a promotional tour I think it was for your biopic CrazySexyCool.
Chilli – Yes, the TLC Story.
Ronnie – That must have been a really proud moment for you guys.
Chilli – Oh my gosh, it really was because I remember when we first came out and just little things we were doing, all mischievous and stuff; I was like I’m telling you there’s going to be a movie about us one day. So being able to do that was a dream come true for me because that was my baby and I’m just glad that we were alive and able to tell our own story. That’s when we got a whole new generation of fans when the movie came out so that was awesome.
Ronnie – Yeah definitely I think it would have done that and that sets you up well for the release of the new album and a whole generation of people that are getting to hear you. There’s a young London based artist, Jevon, that made a track called TLC.
Chilli – What?!
Ronnie – Yeah, his name is Jevon and he was playing it on my Monday night show and it’s called “TLC.” It’s amazing.
Chilli – Oh my gosh! Well when we come in the fall you’ve got to set up some type of introduction.
Ronnie – Absolutely I would love to do that. You pretty much kicked off the biopic era as well. I mean you were one of the first ones to do it for an r&b group- people like New Edition have done it now. Would you say that you were one of the early figures to be doing that?
Chilli – I think so. I feel like when we did it then you start hearing about a lot of people doing those and I’m proud of all those guys. Again, when you’re able to tell your own story then the accuracy is there which is very important when you’re talking about people’s lives.
Ronnie – So Chilli for those who haven’t seen it, how did you meet up? How did you start TLC back in the day?
Chilli – Ok well, so I was in college and I remember this guy and he knew I could dance but he didn’t know I could sing. He told me that Babyface and LA started this label called LaFace in Atlanta and that they had this new group called Damian Dane, and they were looking for dancers. He wanted me to audition and I missed the first one, so I promised him I would go to the second one. After going to the second one, I went home and you know back then we had those recorders for people to leave a message and so – I was checking it and they chose me to be a dancer. When that happened, LA and Babyface came to one of the rehearsals and I just walked up to them and introduced myself and said “Hey I can sing, you want to hear me sing?” I just started singing and that’s when LA went back and talked to his wife at the time, Pebbles, because I think it was that weekend that the girls were going to have this wide search for a third member. I met them on a Thursday night and they canceled the search and that’s how we got together. When I got in the group, that’s when things started to take off.
Ronnie – Wow and the rest of the story as they say is history. 25 years Chilli. 25 years since Oooooooh on the TLC Tip. Can you believe that?
Chilli – I know, I can’t believe it either. When you’re super young and you’re so ready to be an adult and all and older people are telling you things like ‘I’m telling you, enjoy being young and having no responsibility for right now’ and you don’t think like that at the time. Time moves slow – you grow up and start doing stuff – you look up and five years have gone by in no time. I’m always like God, can you please just slow it down just a little bit?
Ronnie – It never happens, Chilli.
Chilli – No, He has never listened to me on that part (laughs).
Ronnie – So, the new TLC album drops tomorrow. I have had a preview but my listeners haven’t, so can you tell us in your own words what we can expect from it?
Chilli – Well you can definitely expect the main ingredients that work for our group and that’s good lyrical content, my voice and T-Boz’s voice together, and a dope beat. Once you have those three elements, because it really doesn’t matter who we work with, because we understand the formula of the group. We know what works so we just stick with that. We stick with being our authentic selves and you’re going to get that with a lot of great messages and of course we always look out for the ladies because we’re girls and we’re all about that girl power too.
Ronnie – For real, you’ve got that in abundance. Did you get Dallas on the album in the end?
Chilli – No we did not because we weren’t able to get our schedules together. We were finishing the album and recording and stuff.
Ronnie – That’s a pity and you know what, you sound great anyway. Dallas Austin is an amazing producer, amazing writer. In fact, it’s a great moment for me to ask you this. I’ve been hearing that this is your last album. Is that true? Please tell me it isn’t true.
Chilli – It is, it’s going to be our last studio album. We would love to have a residency in Vegas, that would be awesome. The business is so different now. Even with what we’re doing now, it’s hard. It’s not easy and not to say it wasn’t hard when we first came out- it’s just very different. We were just blessed that we were able to make music now.
Ronnie – So what is it that you are fed up with in the business? Is it the touring or what?
Chilli – Oh, I’m NEVER tired of the touring part, never! It’s just the political part of it that I don’t like. It’s the BS part I don’t have the patience for.
Ronnie – Well, I’m hoping that you and T-boz will change your minds. In this business I always say never say never. Last question for you, Chilli. You touched on it earlier when you said you had another lady managing you, Pebbles of course. It’s well documented that things went on in the business side and I’m not going to go into all of that- but what advice would you give to young up and coming girl bands starting out for a career in the music business?
Chilli – Well the most important part is that when you are first starting out, you’re not going to have a great contract but just make sure you have your own team – your own lawyers and you know the lawyers don’t represent the people that you do business with. They need to represent you and make sure that once you’ve gotten some type of success that you re-negotiate your contract. Just stay on top of that part and when you’ve got accountants, just make sure you sign your own checks.
Ronnie – Wise words from the wonderful Chilli of TLC. You must be overwhelmed with the support you’ve had, especially with this Kickstarter project.
Chilli – Yes it was our fans, oh my gosh they showed out for us and some of our peers contributed and it was unbelievable. Of course that did put even more pressure on us in the studio to make sure we made some stuff that people would be happy with.
Let me ask you something – have you seen our Way Back video?
Ronnie – No, I haven’t to be honest with you but we’ve been playing the record, but I haven’t had a chance to catch the video. I’ve heard you touched on a lot of nostalgia taking it back.
Chilli – I want you to learn the “Way Back” dance, because we always make up a dance for our uptempo songs so I want you and everyone else to learn the Way Back Dance.
Ronnie – I have refused to put a dance on the internet as of yet but since you’ve asked me Chilli, I’m going to take the challenge on and post a video of me doing the Way Back dance. I’ll tag you on Twitter and IG.
Chilli – Let me give you a little tip – it’s all about the lean back. You’ve got to lean into it.
We will be watching for that post Ronnie!