Anniversary, Review

Celebrating Left Eye’s Debut Solo Album ‘Supernova’ On It’s Anniversary

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Back in 2000, the ‘L’ of TLC, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes  announced to the world that she was embarking on a solo career, and began work on her first solo LP, ‘Supernova‘.

The project, which was also released on her group’s label, Arista, was slated to be released on her chosen date of August 16.

This date was important to Lisa, who was a strong believer in the power of numerology. “Something weird happened in my family,” Lisa explained to MTV News in 2001.

My father died on August 16th and his father was born on August 16th“.

It’s a very significant release date“.

To accompany her wishes, Arista initially announced the album to be released that same week on August 14 (new album releases in the US drop on a Tuesday).

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However, because Arista failed to keep to their promise of releasing the album on this specific date, Lisa decided it was important for the world to hear the album on this date and streamed the entire album on her website, Eyenetics.com.

The label, which had not yet paid Lisa for her existing work on the album, requested her to return to the studio to record more tracks for the album to beef it up.

Lisa declined respectfully, and because Arista defaulted on her contract conditions, she was allowed to be freed from her legal obligations on the label, later signing to Suge Knight’s Tha Row label in 2002.

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Left Eye’s Eyenetics website

‘Supernova’ was unlike anything Lisa had released in the past, choosing to educate her listeners on spirituality and numerology on tracks like “Universal Quest“, “A New Star Is Born” and “Breathe“. She also had more bold and self-assured tracks like “I Believe In Me“, “Let Me Live” and “Hot!“, the latter being her original choice for first single.

It’s guest appearances included Blaque, Esthero, Carl Thomas, Jazze Pha, Andre Rison and a posthumous collaboration with 2pac.

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‘Supernova’ tracklist

Lisa also changed her vocal style on the album, to be more spoken word and poetic. She was aiming for a new sound, something different to what she had produced with TLC.

TLC’s music is pretty much pop and R&B“, Lisa told BBC. “My music is a bit more eclectic“.

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Lisa was intending to release a puzzle with the album, which would help the listener decide on what track to play on the album. It features in her ‘Block Party‘ music video.

Whilst competing for prize money for charity on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, she told more about it. “There’s a puzzle that comes with my album, it’s called a dodecahydon. So, I kinda created that and I do all of the computer graphics.

Despite the album never getting a release in the US, it was released overseas, following the moderate success of it’s first single, ‘The Block Party”, which reached the top 20 in the UK.

This underrated masterpiece deserves a full worldwide digital release on iTunes. Perhaps it will appear on Spotify one day, hopefully.

You can listen to ‘Supernova’ in full below.

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Concert, Review

Watch: TLC Headline Their First Pride Festival in San Diego 2018!

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Credit: Carlo/movementstills

2018 has been a big year for TLC, as they continue to touch down in new territory and perform at various events for the first time!

Not only was it the first time TLC performed at a UK festival last month in June at Mighty Hoopla, but July marked the first time the girls have performed at a Pride Festival!

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.

 

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Credit: Movementstills
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Credit: crzysxyjeremy

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.

 

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Credit: Aaron Groon
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Credit: Mike Huete

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.”

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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!

Check out the highlights from the show below!

Poll, Review

The Greatest TLC Music Video Poll!

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What is your favorite TLC music video?!

If like T-Boz, you just can’t decide on what your favorite TLC song is, maybe you can decide on what your favorite TLC music video has been, so far!

TLC are the queens of style, music and of course their visuals rocked the MTV generation for a whole decade and beyond!

They set trends, broke boundaries and created new standards with their music videos, which helped bring their iconic music to life!

Since their debut video ‘Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg’ in late 1991, the ladies have steadily churned out a phenomenal amount of visuals to compliment their anthems and entertain their fans!

We want you to tell us which TLC music video had the biggest impact for you!

Vote in the poll and make sure you grab your copy of the TLC greatest hits DVD (or hop onto YouTube) to re-watch all of TLC’s videos for a refresher before deciding which one you loved the most!

Music, Review

Drake References TLC On New Album ‘Scorpion’

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The latest album ‘Scorpion‘ by the amazing Drake has just hit the streets  (June 29), and it wouldn’t be the same without a little mention of TLC!

On the dark and moody track ‘After Hours’, where Drake is keeping an eye on his love interest as he fears she might be drifting from him, he references Left Eye and the TLC #1 smash, ‘Creep‘.

Late night like Left Eye, I’m creepin’, assuming the worst ’cause I haven’t heard from you all weekend“, Drake croons.

Drake’s love for TLC is no secret. He covered their iconic ‘Fanmail’ track back in 2010, and invited the ladies to perform at his OVO Fest in 2013.

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TLC with Drake at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards

You can stream the ‘Scorpion‘ album in full on Spotify.

Anniversary, Competition, Review

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

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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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They aren’t done with the album just yet. The girls are toying with the idea of releasing another single from the album and possibly even a remix album (two remixes were made exclusively for the Japan version of the album).

To celebrate this milestone, we are giving away a signed copy of this amazing album to ONE lucky fan!

To enter, simply tell us your favorite song on the album! We’ll choose a winner at random on July 31.

Interview, Review

TLC: ‘We’re smart enough to understand what people love about us’

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By Shaun Curran for iPaper

I’ve just asked the members of TLC whether, like the lyrics to their 90s megahit “No Scrubs”, they can spot a sleazy, good-for-nothing scrub coming from 10 yards.

“Sometimes!” shrieks Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins. “Sometimes!” “Most times!” says Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas. “I think you really can tell.”

“Absolutely!” “We have a scrub-dar! It works most of the time. We know!”

We are crammed in a Portakabin backstage at south London’s Mighty Hoopla festival, a pop extravaganza that TLC will headline tonight.

They’ve just come from Paris (“We had fun, oui oui, oui oui”) and despite getting on site just minutes ago – when I first arrive, Watkins is putting eyelashes on, Thomas is doing her hair – I feel like I’m in the presence of a well-honed double act: a brash one (Watkins) and a quieter one (Thomas), they finish each other sentences, nod in enthusiastic agreement (mostly) and show the chemistry that 25 years as America’s biggest girl band dictates.

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Initially a trio with Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, just how big TLC became in the 90s is difficult to quantify. There are the bare statistics – £65m record sales worldwide, second in girl group terms only to the Spice Girls, alongside 56 different awards, including four Grammys and one Brit – but their influence sprawls to the present day.

TLC’s message of female empowerment couldn’t be more relevant in 2018, while their blend of sultry R’n’B and hip-hop still impacts the charts: Ed Sheeran had to pay royalties to the writers of “No Scrubs” for the similarities between the track and his song “Shape of You”.

Their first-ever UK show at London’s Koko last year sold out in two minutes; a Kickstarter campaign to fund last year’s self-titled comeback album doubled its target in two days, with Katy Perry among the financial contributors. And, seriously, who doesn’t like TLC?

Afterwards when I mention the interview to my Uber driver, he starts singing their biggest hit “Waterfalls” and even mentions Thomas by name. It was juggernaut-level success that the band was initially too busy to recognise.

“It was only when we started seeing people faint or cry and saying they didn’t commit suicide because of something we wrote or sang or said,” says Watkins. “That’s kind of deep.”

Yet success was blighted every step of the way: they had to fight record company LaFace to get “Waterfalls”, which catapulted their 1994 album CrazySexyCool to 14 million sales, to even get heard. “[LaFace founder] Clive Davis didn’t believe in it,” Watkins says.

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“It’s funny how after you do something the person who didn’t believe in you is like: ‘I knew it was going to be great’.” Personal problems constantly threatened to derail them. TLC were declared bankrupt in 1995; at one point, relations between the three were so bad that Lopes, feeling underused and underappreciated, challenged Watkins and Thomas to make solo albums, with a $1m prize for the winner.

When Lopes died in a car crash in 2002, seven months before underwhelming fourth album 3D, TLC’s reign at the top was over. “That was the hardest time,” recalls Watkins. “We were still in a zombie state because we were still in mourning.

The record company were like: ‘You have to put the album out,’ so that was the first realisation she wasn’t there. “That was a hard time. It was real awkward. Because we weren’t ready. And that whole album just looks sad to me now I look back.” Thomas nods in agreement.

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It makes TLC’s comeback nearly 20 years after their heyday somewhat unlikely. Watkins seems affronted when I suggest that, until a packaged 90s nostalgia tour with New Kids on the Block in 2015, they’d apparently disappeared – “It seems that’s out there a lot, because we hear that a lot, but I don’t know why, because we never stopped” – but aside from bits of American TV and the odd gig abroad, they’d slipped from public view.

There is some toing and froing between the pair as to why the timing was right to record again. “I was probably the hold-up,” Watkins says. “She stayed ready.” “You know what,” Thomas says, “even when Lisa was alive, all three us were totally dedicated to the group regardless of what you heard. But each person has their own thing in the group.

“I feel like,” she adds, lowering her voice and stretching out an arm towards Watkins, “and I know you’re going to agree, that I’m the heart of the group. I am always ready. I am Team TLC all day long. Not that they’re not…” Watkins shoots her an OTT unimpressed look. “But it’s on another level. You know it is! Come on, sister! You know I’m right.”

Recording went smoothly, even without Lopes, who wasn’t missed in the studio because, Thomas says, after 1992 debut Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip, they never recorded together anyway. “After the first album, it was: ‘OK, call me when it’s time for me to do my part’.”

“But you know the hard part?” Watkins interjects. “Coming up with songs that people will like. That’s nerve-racking. When you have songs like “No Scrubs”, “Unpretty” and “Waterfalls”, those are not easy to come by. Then they’re sitting there saying: ‘Well, you better come up with something good like that’. Like, what is this? That’s a lot of pressure.”

The album’s best track “Way Back”, a classy west side groove featuring Snoop Dogg, boasts that the pair “picked up where we left off”. Impervious to current pop trends, like the album itself, it sounds like no time whatsoever has passed in TLC’s world.

“What’s smart about us,” says Thomas, “is we’re smart enough to understand what people love about us. And they love the authenticity: the things we talk about, how we dress, how we perform. We just stick to that formula. The outcome is always going to be a TLC song because of the sound, her voice and my voice.”

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I ask if they’ve considered what Lopes might have made of the album. It’s the only time the pair hesitates to speak. “I think that when she was alive…” Thomas says. “It’s that TLC thing. She understood that was us. I think she would have loved the songs.”

Though they will continue to perform – they fancy a Vegas-style residency somewhere – the pair is adamant that it will be their final album. How can they be so sure? “Never say never” says Watkins.

“We might do soundtracks or Christmas songs. We ain’t going anywhere. But a studio album? It’s just not the same. The industry is so different. And some of it is kind of a joke now,” she says, gearing up for a rant.

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“Like the superstars and stuff? They are few and far between, the real big legends. Because I think today people use that word ‘legend’ real, real, real, loose. How the hell you been here two years and you’re a legend? I don’t care how popular you are. Reality stars are popular. Who cares? If Instagram went away tomorrow, a lot of people wouldn’t be working. What you going to fall back on, huh?”

The subtext of which seems to be: TLC, against all odds, are still here a quarter of a century on. “And we’re just as strong as before,” Watkins says. “We’ve been through all kinds of life stuff, had kids, marriage, divorce, death. You go through all of that, you can’t help but be stronger.”

The album ‘TLC’ is out now on 852 Musiq

Fashion, Review

TLC Were Physically Painted Silver For The ‘FanMail’ Album!

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It has almost been 20 years since the release of TLC‘s 3rd masterpiece, ‘FanMail‘, in February 1999.

The first thing that stood out about the album before hearing any of the music was the eye-catching, stunning, futuristic visuals, which features T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli each shown with a metallic silver skin tone.

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Fans can be forgiven for thinking the silver-skinned effects were digitally enhanced and created with computer trickery on the album cover.

But the reality is, the girls were actually physically painted silver on the Seb Janiak photoshoot in 1998!

Music executive Shanti Das shared an insightful throwback photo on her Instagram of herself onset with TLC, whilst they were in the process of being painted silver for the futuristic look, which set the tone for the album’s pre-millenium feels.

The girls have touched on how the silver painted photoshoot went down in the past, with T-Boz even admitting that the paint made her skin break out!

We were sprayed silver, I wanted us to look like robots“, T-Boz explains to a fan on Twitter. “It sure was itchy“.

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Chilli also gave an insight on her own experiences with being painted silver for the Grammy winning project, stating that ‘FanMail’ is her favorite album cover!

We we’re covered in silver paint that took months to get all out!” Chilli exclaims. “I was in the shower for 2 hours and still didn’t get it all off“.

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The photoshoot remains a fan favorite, so we can only hope the girls felt it was worth the sacrifice for such an iconic and groud breaking visual moment in music history!

FanMail‘ ensured TLC continued to be the trendsetters that they always have been in their career. The first to try out new ideas and the results were a success!