Anniversary, Competition, Music, Review

TLC’s Last Album Reaches It’s First Year Anniversary!

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(Originally posted on June 30, 2018).

It’s been a long, long time coming“, the opening line from ‘Way Back‘, the first single lifted from TLC‘s first album in 15 years, which was released a year ago today on June 30, 2017!

After breaking the record for the fastest Kickstarter funded pop project ever in 2015 (they raised over $430k and smashed their $150k deadline in under 48 hours), the girls were finally ready to unleash their hard work to the world, independently on their own label, 852 Musiq.

The album went on to become the #1 Independent Album on Billboard and topped the R&B Album Charts in the UK and in other parts of the world, whilst the lead single ‘Way Back’ remained in the Adult R&B singles chart for months.

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The girls were toying with the idea of releasing another single from the album and even a remix album (two remixes were made exclusively for the Japan version of the album). However, this did not come to fruition.

We are still super stoked about this solid body of work produced by T-Boz and Chilli.

The essence of Left Eye‘s is ever present on the record, too — through a shout out on “No Introduction“, where they sing “Left Eye still here, irreplaceable position“, and an interlude featuring Left Eye talk about her wishes and aspirations.

Read about how the project was conceived here.

Tell us what your favorite song is on the album!

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Appearance, Concert, Event, Music, News, Review, Television

TLC Pick The Winner of ‘Iconic: TLC’ and Perform With Them

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TLC had the tough job of picking a winner from the four talented musicians that participated in this special quarantine friendly combined music talent show and tribute, ‘Iconic: TLC‘, which debuted on The CW on June 1st.

Presented by American Idol star Jordin Sparks, she promises the show will be “TLC like you’ve never heard them before!”

First up was the Fifth Harmony superstar Ally Brooke, who admits that her group was heavily inspired by TLC. She gave T-Boz and Chilli a stripped back acoustic rendition of their first Billboard #1, 1994’s “Creep“.

“You made it extra sexy”, Chilli says to Ally. “T can’t make it that sexy”. T-Boz laughs and defends herself saying, “I don’t get sexy like that, you know what I’m saying!” T-Boz states that “a lot of producers have tried to put their own spin on that song and failed, so you’re the first person to do that song justice”, she told Ally.

Country duo Locash were next up to perform for the girls. They throw in a banjo and a fiddle to take on the major TLC hit, 1999’s “No Scrubs“.

T-Boz tells the group how much she loved the inclusion of the banjo during the hook and how they managed to keep the hip-hop essence of the song. Chilli co-signs, saying it was excellent.

Touching on how the artists have done so far, TLC feel these are the best covers they’ve heard to date. “They’ve done our songs better than any artist that I’ve ever heard do it”, T-Boz admits. “Real talk!”, Chilli agrees.

Pop singer MAX is up next to perform for the girls. He opens up about enjoying seeing them perform live at the Firefly festival before he performs a laid back rendition of their iconic hit, 1992’s “Baby-Baby-Baby“.

The girls loved his version of their hit. “The way you did the bridge mixed with the harmonies, and [the guitarist] did the ad libs in the background, I love that”, T-Boz gushes. “The guitar made it super sexy. The way you performed it was really sexy”, Chilli adds.

Last but not least were hip-hop duo siblings Ceraadi, who consider themselves underdogs who are very influenced by TLC. The sisters decided to perform the groundbreaking classic, 1995’s “Waterfalls“, complete with their own unique spin on Left Eye‘s iconic rap.

The rap sounded very much like Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, which made T-Boz and Chilli feel a little emotional. “At first, when you were rapping I had to say wait a minute, that’s not Lisa is it? It threw me off a little bit — the tone is really close”, Chilli admits. “It made me a little tearful because, that’s my sister”. “The way you changed the octave on ‘moving too fast’, loved it”, T-Boz adds.

After taking some time to decide who they wanted to choose to collaborate with at the end of the show, T-Boz and Chilli jointly decide to pick country duo Locash for a special performance of their 1999 hit, “Unpretty“.

Watch the full episode below – credit to Megan Dove xo

Anniversary, History, Interview, Review

25 Years Of “Freedom”: The Top R&B Divas Of The 90’s Unite To Create Epic Black Girl Magic

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In fall of 1995, more than 60 female musicians traveled to Capitol Records in Los Angeles, where they recorded both the vocals and the visuals to the ground-breaking single, “Freedom“, on the same day. The single was the title track to the Mario Van Peebles directed movie, ‘Panther‘, based on the Black Panther Party.

Women’s publication Zora gave us a well documented account of events of how this historic masterpiece came together. The song was originally recorded by the singer Joi for her debut album, produced by Dallas Austin. It was later picked up, reconceptualized, and released as ‘Panther’s official theme song.

Former label executive Ed Ecksein says having a record featuring all women sent a message about the film before it even hit theaters. “The power behind the organization was women. The backbone behind the organization was women,” he says. “So we needed to do something similar on the soundtrack as we did for the BMU record (Black Men United).”

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The actual day of the track’s recording required ultimate levels of coordination and an understanding of how and why to stagger artists’ arrivals and recording schedules to avoid overlaps. There were camera crews, food service, hair and makeup, but no egos in sight.

Even with stars like Queen Latifah, Vanessa Williams, MC Lyte, Mary J Blige, Aaliyah, Brownstone, Salt-N-Pepa, Patra, XScape, and En Vogue in the house, A&R Sam Sapp remembers this remarkable tidbit: “Everyone was in the same room, and there was no VIP area.”

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TLC were determined to be a part of this amazing project but were unable to be there at the same time as the other artists, so they recorded their parts at a later date and were edited into the final mix.

In order to work around Left Eye‘s probation-related travel restrictions Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins says the trio recorded vocals in a local Atlanta studio and filmed the video from the conference room at LaFace Records.

“It was the most amazing thing to have my fist pumped and have on this hat that had a Black ballplayer and a ball on the front and represent,” she says. “It made you feel so proud to be Black. It was an awesome thing to be a part of.”

The record was also a game changer in that both an R&B and a rap version were featured on the soundtrack. Sapp says artists were freestyling to the instrumental while waiting to record, and they commissioned the “Dallas’ Dirty Half Dozen Mix” on the spot.

The “Freedom” single was a top charter on the ‘Panther’ soundtrack, peaking at #10 on Billboard’s R&B Singles Chart and snagging the #45 spot on the Hot 100.

While there may not be as many Black women artists today, they are still making their mark in music. For the first time in history, four Black female soloists recently occupied the Hot 100’s top two slots (Doja Cat‘s “Say So” remix with Nicki Minaj took the top spot, with Megan Thee Stallion and Beyonce‘s “Savage” remix at the second spot).

As for another Black woman collective recording in the future, “Freedom” artists are passing the torch.

“It should be another song now with the new generation of artists that would show people that we’re sticking together,” T-Boz says. “I think it’s needed again, especially with the state of the world today.”

Read the full story from Zora here.

Artists featured on “Freedom”:

Aaliyah, Amel Larrieux, Brownstone, Jade, Blackgirl, SWV, Monica, MC Lyte, Salt-N-Pepa, Mary J Blige, Tanya Blount, Changing Faces, En Vogue, TLC, Felicia Adams, Joi, N’Dea Davenport, For Real, Zhane, Eshe, Queen Latifah, Billy Lawrence, Lalah Hathaway, Brigette McWilliams, Miss Jones, Me’Shell NdegéOcello, Pebbles, Patra, Chantay Savage, Sonja Marie, Xscape, Terri & Monica, Y?N-Vee, Vanessa Williams, Karyn White, Caron Wheeler, Crystal Waters, Vybe, Tracie Spencer, Brenda Russell, Sweet Sable, Raja-Nee, Pure Soul, Nefertiti, Natasha, Yo-Yo, Cindy Mizelle, Milira, Da 5 Footaz, Emage, E.V.E, Penny Ford, Jazzyfatnastees.

Appearance, Review, Television

T-Boz Reprises Her Role As Sheila On Days With A Secret Baby… But Who’s The Daddy?

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Tionne Watkins, Lamon Archey “Days of our Lives” Set NBC Studios Burbank 09/17/19 © XJJohnson/jpistudios.com 310-657-9661 Episode # 13820 U.S.Airdate 04/01/20

So the rumors were true, TionneT-Boz” Watkins did indeed return to her role as Sheila Watkins on the hit NBC soap Days Of Our Lives! We teased her return back in November 2019, which left fans of her character excited to have her back in Salem.

On this return, Sheila has a major announcement to make — she had a baby in her time away from Salem, and needs help to find the baby, which has been kidnapped. She needs her baby daddy to give her that help — so turns up at the door of Eli Grant (Lamon Archey)!

Eli is shocked to see Sheila back in town, and even more shocked to learn that she is claiming he is the father to her baby daughter. Lani Price (Sal Stowers) is also shocked, before Eli admits that it is a possibility as he had a one night stand with Sheila before she left town.

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Eli makes some calls to his friends at the FBI and learns about a baby smuggling ring in Salem, which his new baby could have been a victim of. Meanwhile, we learn that Leo has arranged to have the baby snatched and attempts to sell her to Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith) and Will Horton (Chandler Massey). Ben Weston (Robert Scott Wilson) appears at the Kiriakis mansion with a little baby girl of color. He didn’t know the package would be a baby.

Sheila bursts into the room with Eli to rescue her baby and confront Leo for his actions. “Man, I can’t believe your bitch ass is behind this. And I thought the two of us were tight”, Sheila screams. Leo claims he didn’t know this was Sheila’s baby. Sheila continues, “But the only reason you dragged me to drag queen bingo is so you could kidnap my baby. And I lost 40 bucks. Don’t ever come near us again.” She and Eli leave with their baby.

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Sheila and Eli break the news to Lani to announce they wish to be together to allow their baby daughter to have both parents together.

Lani detects something isn’t right about Sheila’s story, insisting they carry out a paternity test. Sheila quickly admits she lied and is immediately greeted by her new husband, Dr. Daniel Jonas (Shawn Christian), the allegedly deceased son of Maggie Kiriakis. He claims that Sheila was pregnant before they met, leaving questions about who the father really was if it wasn’t Eli or Daniel.

They are then greeted by Lani’s father, Abe Carver (James Reynolds). Sheila quickly informs him that he indeed is the father to her child, and that he was conceived on her last day in Salem after his 2019 Mayoral Debate. “Come a say hi to your new daughter, Baby Sheila“, Sheila gushes. Abe is left speechless.

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This all sounds too good to be true, right? Well, we fast forward to the final scene of the episode which aired on April 1st. Sonny walks in to find Leo in bed with his husband, which ends with Leo saying “April Fools!” to the camera!

That’s right, this unrealistic episode was a one off prank made for April Fools Day on April 1st. This also means that won’t be seeing Sheila return for a quite a while. However, stranger things have happened. Let’s hope she makes a genuine return to the show soon.