Interview, Music

Missy Elliott: “Left Eye Wanted 702’s ‘Where’s My Girls At’ For TLC!

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Missy Elliott, who has a history of writing and producing some of pop music’s most creative and catchy songs, breaks down some of the hits she’s written for herself and other stars. Elliott is one of the nominees for the 2019 Songwriters Hall of Fame.

702, “Where My Girls At?”

702’s “Where My Girls At?” reached No. 4 on the Hot 100 chart in 1999, but Elliott said she initially wrote the anthem for TLC.

Lisa (“Left Eye” Lopes) really wanted it, she really wanted that record, but I guess, if it’s two against one (what can you do?)” So I ended up giving that record to 702, which was cool because they were a group. I knew whoever had it, I wanted it to be going to a group.”

Of the biggest songs of 1999, “Where My Girls At?” was ranked No. 11 by Billboard. Elliott said she wanted women to feel empowered when they heard the fun track.

“It’s almost like church — when you go to church, pastor is saying something (and you’re) like, ‘I swear up and down that message is for me.’ I wanted to create something women could feel like, ‘I could relate to this record.’”

For more on Missy Elliott’s produced hits for other artists you can read the full article on The Detroit News.

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Announcement, Radio

T-Boz Set To Host Urban Throwback Radio Show ‘Explicitly Old School’

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Fans who loved T-Boz for airing her unfiltered thoughts and opinions on her radio show My Block Radio back in 2016 will be thrilled to learn that the icon is ready to hit the airwaves again in 2019!

Superadio Networks, LLC & CTC Productions, LLC have announced an affiliation and sales partnership agreement to syndicate Explicitly Old School with T-Boz, a daily radio show hosted by Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins from the legendary super group TLC.

The one hour daily show designed to air on Rhythmic, Urban, Urban AC and Throwback stations, features the biggest records and hits from the golden eras of Hip Hop and R&B spotlighting artists like Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, P Diddy, and more.

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Superadio Networks President Eric Faison said, “Adding a worldwide icon like T-Boz to the roster of stars on Superadio is like Kevin Durant joining the Warriors! The buzz around here is off the charts. T-Boz is a natural radio talent and can tell a back story like nobody else…stations are going to love her!”

Keith “Envius” Elliot, CEO CTC Productions LLC added, “I am on cloud nine about re-launching the Explicitly Old School brand with a mega star like T-Boz, and doing it with my family at Superadio is the icing on the cake! “EOS” will light your station on fire!”

T-Boz, commenting on the re-launch of Explicitly Old School said, “I am super excited about this show, we are gonna kill it!”

Stay tuned to find out the dates you can expect to hear T-Boz on the show!

Review, Television

Sheila Surprises Abe With a Gift and Flirts with Eli!

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Love is in the air for Eli (Lamon Archey) and Lani (Sal Stowers). After Sheila (Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins) fans the flames of jealousy, Eli will confront Lani about her feelings for him. Sheila will imply that she had sex with Eli, which will leave Lani fuming and wondering what she really wants.

Lani ends up kissing Eli passionately, so it’s easy to see where things are headed. Accepting how she feels is the first step toward a real relationship.

Meanwhile, Abe (James Reynolds) will get some difficult updates from Valerie (Vanessa Williams). It’s doubtful she’d be bailing on their long-distance plan already, but she might cancel a flight home or a date to meet in the middle.

Abe is left to be in a terrible mood, so there’ll be even more tension than usual when Sheila arrives.

Sheila tries to do the right thing and surprises Abe with a gift – his organized paperwork – but he doesn’t take too kindly to her helping hand.

Abe eventually lashes out at her, but Sheila probably won’t sweat it. She knows how to handle Abe and anyone else she encounters in this town!

Stay tuned to find out if they will ever get along and if Valerie is ever returning to Salem!

Anniversary, Music, Review

TLC Finally Made Christmas Sound Fun on “Sleigh Ride” 25 Years Ago!

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On their 1993 Christmas single, the trio reworked every part of a chirpy classic and came out with something unique.

By Alex Robert Ross
To make absolutely sure that a song registers as Christmas music, a pop producer can follow a few basic rules. Sleigh bells on the downbeat and some scattered church bells are the obvious shortcuts; high-up strings and canned choirs certainly help. Most truly mainstream musicians are shooting for tinseled whimsy, warm fuzzies, and a picture of mittened masses tipping their hats to each other on their way to a family gathering. A few frills will get you there without too much sweat.
If this isn’t enough, an artist can always faithfully cover one of the early-to-mid-20th Century classics – “White Christmas” or “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” or anything else that Phil Spector perfected in 1963 – and have done with it. Christmas thrives on nostalgia, a reminder of a time when at least some people woke up thrilled by the prospect of presents and an eternity away from school. There’s some sense in going back in time, dusting something off, and adding a coat of fresh lacquer.
Twenty-five years ago, TLC did all of this on “Sleigh Ride.” It was, at least in theory, a cover of a well-known light orchestra standard. There was the reassuring rattle of jingle bells above the hi-hat and some background church chimes over the synths. But “Sleigh Ride” was so much more than that. It was a song warped so far beyond recognition that it became uniquely their own. It was full of frivolous jokes and messy happiness, and it did something that so many modern holiday songs have strived to do before failing so horribly – it made Christmas sound fun.
The original “Sleigh Ride,” a chirpy instrumental, was penned by Leroy Anderson in 1948 and became an immediate hit when it was released a year later. The Andrews Sisters recorded the first vocal performance of the song in 1950, using lyrics written by Mitchell Parish—the same man behind the words to jazz standards like “Stardust” and “Deep Purple.” The Ronettes’ version of the song on the practically flawless A Christmas Gift to You From Phil Spector in 1963 is the most popular, but there have been dozens of “Sleigh Ride”s over the years. It’s in the canon.
TLC took a novel approach to the song in 1993. Rather than borrowing from The Ronettes or even commissioning a remix of an older cut, they basically ignored the original altogether. They worked around an entirely new vocal hook, a beat produced by Organized Noize and co-produced by their then-manager Pebbles, and pretty much a whole new set of lyrics. The hook is so classically festive that you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was there in the 1950 version: “Let’s have a very merry Christmas / And a happy New Year / Give with love and joy and happiness / And lots of good cheer.” But Parish’s lyrics didn’t even mention Christmas. The only call-back to the original comes from T-Boz, who sings to an entirely unfamiliar melody: “Just hear those sleigh bells jing-a-ling / Ring-ting-ting-a-ling too / It’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.”
(All of which might make you think that this isn’t a cover at all, and I get it. If you all but rewrite a song’s lyrics and sing those lyrics to a whole new tune over an entirely different beat, isn’t it just a new song? The answer is obviously yes, in the same way that an old broom with a new head and a new handle is just a new broom. But go back in time and tell that to LaFace Records, who listed only two songwriters on the original CD copy of the track: Anderson and Parish.)
TLC’s “version” is best appreciated alongside its video, which features T-Boz, Chilli, and Left Eye wearing baggy overalls, working through some awkward treeside encounters with boyfriends, helping the needy, and leading a half-decent dance party. “I want T-Boz to get me some headphone sets, and I want Left Eye to make me a fly dress,” Chilli says, beaming, at the top of the song. Left Eye’s verse is an open challenge to anyone who wants to hang out with her, opening with a too-cool-for-this-shit lead-in—”Uh-huh reindeer, presents, happiness… yeah right, check it out…”—and then using the “sleigh ride” as a metaphor for what I’m guessing was simply romance, because this was a PG-13 Christmas track. (The B-side to the single, “All I Want for Christmas“—no relation—is less ambiguous.)
This was just before TLC’s peak, a year beforeCrazySexyCool and years before outside pressures would make things tense, so it’s safe to assume that a lot of the trio’s chemistry was natural and unforced here. In an interview with Pitchfork earlier this year, Chilli even said that the verse was her favorite Left Eye moment: “I really love how she rapped in our Christmas song,'” she said. “I miss how silly we all used to be together. It was just how we interacted, at least when we were all liking each other at the same time—you know how sisters are!” They were gunning for airplay here (and a featured spot on the Home Alone 2 soundtrack didn’t hurt), but TLC were genuinely enjoying themselves.
“Sleigh Ride” is unquestionably of its time, but that’s its greatest asset—where most pop musicians try to tap into familiar moods and melodies at Christmas, TLC decided to sound like themselves, then threw a few bells on there. There’s more than one way to access warm holiday vibes. Sometimes you just have to rewrite the songs from scratch.
TLC finally gave us a live rendition of the hit in 2016, 23 years after it’s release, on the festive television show Taraji’s White Hot Holidays. Missy Elliott made a surprise appearance and paid homage to the late Left Eye by performing Lisa’s verse with the girls. Magic.
Original article posted on Noisey
Review, Television

T-Boz Celebrates Thanksgiving In Style As Sheila on DAYS!

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If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that Thanksgiving 2018 in Salem will be well remembered with Sheila Watkins in town on Days Of Our Lives!

At Doug’s Place, Julie and Doug prepare for Thanksgiving and Julie’s anxious for everything to be perfect. Sheila strolls in, introducing herself as Eli’s friend. Julie assumes she’s there to work and asks her to clean the spots off of the wine glasses and then rushes off, leaving Sheila puzzled.

Julie continues to give Sheila orders until Sheila asks for some respect. She’s the assistant to the DA. Julie had no idea. She didn’t know she turned down her job offer. They get in each other’s faces and Doug calms them down.

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Eli, Abe and Val stroll into Doug’s Place and straightened things out with Sheila and Julie. Eli never told Sheila about the job offer because she had a better offer with Mayor Abe Carver. Eli apologizes for not relaying the news or telling her that Sheila was invited to dine with them.

Sheila baked Julie a sweet potato pie. Julie apologizes to Sheila and Sheila tells Abe she had his shoes cleaned but they were lost. There’s a sale tomorrow during Black Friday so they can pick up another pair. Abe fumes.

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Later, dinner is served. Everyone joins hands and gives thanks for what they’re most grateful for. Doug is thankful for family, friends and Julie, then Julie says she’s thankful for Doug who keeps her young.

Sheila’s thankful she’s out of prison, “I mean the food. If a rat died…” Eli shushes her. She’s also grateful to her friend Eli. Abe’s thankful Theo survived the shooting, and for the wonderful woman sitting next to him.

Val’s grateful to have found so much happiness in Salem. Eli shares that Lani texted him and said she’s thankful for everyone’s support. Eli agrees, happy that everyone has been there for him. He loves them all. Julie cries.

They pray and eat and Val and Abe make-up. He is proud of her and they agree to try a long-distance relationship.

Sheila ends the evening insisting Eli take her home so she doesn’t have to listen to Julie and Bill singing in the kitchen any longer!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Review, Television

Lani Jealous Over Sheila While Abe Forgives Her Absence

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Things are heating in Salem!

Sheila Watkins (T-Boz) and Eli Grant (Lamon Archey) are missing in action at work, so the furious Abe Carver (James Reynolds) decides to fire her from her newly appointed role as his assistant!

Concerned about the whereabouts of the friendly twosome, Lani Price (Sal Stowers) wants to find out why they are missing at work and heads to Eli’s house — finding Eli half naked with Sheila walking around in her nightwear!

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Lani see’s green and has a jealous rant at Eli. Meanwhile, Sheila leaves them to talk and confronts Abe at work to save her job. He doesn’t believe she was sick — until she is sick right in front of him… on his shoes!

 

Abe finally has some compassion for Sheila’s sickness and allows her to keep her job, reminding her to inform him in future if she is sick again.

Valerie Grant (Vanessa Williams) drops by to see Abe to reveal that she has landed her dream job — but she will have to move away from Salem! She suggests Abe join her or they will have to consider a long distance relationship.

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Abe isn’t sold on Valerie’s proposal. Sheila offers Abe some of her own opinions on the subject, insisting long distance relationships don’t work and that Abe shouldn’t be selfish!

Time will tell if Abe and Valerie can indeed make their relationship work, or will they have to end it.

Will Sheila and Abe form a greater bond in Valerie’s absence?

 

Movies, Review

TLC: In The Movies!

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Besides creating hit records, T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli have always expressed their interests in acting since the beginning. Very early on in their careers, they have stated they wanted to see TLC toys on the market, a TLC cartoon and each member wanted to be in the movies one day!

We’re celebrating the many movie roles the ladies of TLC have been cast in over the years, both as a group and individually!

House Party 3 (1994)

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TLC made their feature-film debut in the 3rd instalment of the hit House Party comedy franchise along with the rap duo Kid N Play.

TLC played the role of a group called Sex As A Weapon, and performed at the end of the movie with Kid N Play in the song “Make Noize“.

 

Belly (1998)

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During TLC’s downtime between albums, Left Eye was a host for the MTV show The Cut, Chilli gave birth to her son Tron, and T-Boz decided to take up the opportunity to star in the Hype Williams movie Belly.

She played the role of Tionne, the girlfriend of Sincere (played by Nas). Tionne urged Sincere to drop the gang lifestyle and live a better life to have a future with his family.

 

 

Hav’Plenty (1998)

Chilli plays the cameo role of Kris in Tru Love, an in-film movie based on the story being told, based on an eventful weekend in the life of Lee Plenty.

She shares the hilarious cameo scene with Lauryn Hill, Nia Long, Mehki Phifer and Shemar Moore.

 

A Diva’s Christmas Carol (2000)

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Based on the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, Vanessa Williams plays the role of Ebony Scrooge, an ego-driven pop singer who gets a reality check by three Christmas spirits.

Chilli plays the role of Marli Jacob, a member of Ebony’s girl group Desire. Marli died in a car crash and haunts Ebony in a bid to help her change her selfish ways!

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Chilli performs an original song with the group called “Heartquake“.

 

 

Snow Day (2000)

In the Nickelodeon movie Snow Day, Chilli plays the cameo role of Mona, a friend of Laura Brandston, who is struggling to juggle a business career and family duties — an act which becomes more complicated when the storm forces her to simultaneously telecommute and harness the undisciplined energy of her youngest child.

An unexpected snowstorm buries Syracuse, New York, the kids celebrate a day off from school while their elders mourn the inconvenience.

 

 

Bamboozled (2000)

Bamboozled is a satirical comedy-drama film written and directed by Spike Lee about a modern televised minstrel show featuring black actors with blackface makeup and the resulting violent fallout from the show’s success.

Left Eye has an uncredited cameo in a club scene with co-star Savion Glover, filmed during an afterparty for the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards.

Despite never being able to fully fulfil her movie ambitions, Lisa once auditioned for a part in the movie Josie & The Pussycats, as did Aaliyah and Beyonce!

 

 

Love Song (2000)

Love Song is an MTV original movie. A privileged, black college student Camille (Monica) with a fiance falls in love with a white musician (Christian Kane) she meets on her 21st birthday.

Chilli plays the role of a house director.

 

 

Ticker (2001)

Grieving narcotics agent Ray Nettles (Tom Sizemore) and police Detective Art Rice (Nas) are assigned to investigate a series of horrific bombings that have rocked the city of San Francisco.

When Nettles discovers that these acts of terror are the work of notorious IRA agent Alex Swan (Dennis Hopper), he enlists the help of explosives expert Frank Glass (Steven Seagal).

Chilli plays the cameo role as Lilly, a friend of Art Rice, trying to earn a living for her baby.

 

 

CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story (2013)

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T-Boz and Chilli both served as executive producers for the timeless biopic about being part of one of the biggest girl groups in music history — from their own perspectives!

Drew Sidora was chosen to portray T-Boz; Keke Palmer as Chilli; and rapper Lil Mama played Left Eye. CrazySexyCool went on to become the highest rated original movie on VH1.

T-Boz and Chilli make an appearance at the end of the movie as themselves whilst recording the movies theme song, “Meant To Be“, produced and written by Ne-Yo.

 

Trolland / Trollz (2016)

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Fenn the Troll (Ja Rule) hates the Troll pastime of pranking, and is teased so much for it by Jarvik (T-Boz) and friends that he runs away. But when a long-suffering park ranger starts capturing the other Trolls, it’s up to Fenn to rescue his family and friends! Featuring an all star line-up including Jerry O’Connell, Dick Van Dyke and Chris Daughtry.

T-Boz has previously done voiceover work in an animation in 2014 for Black Dynamite.

 

Marshall (2017)

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Set in 1940, a young Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) faces one of his greatest challenges while working as a lawyer for the NAACP. Marshall travels to conservative Connecticut when wealthy socialite Eleanor Strubing accuses black chauffeur Joseph Spell of sexual assault and attempted murder. He soon teams up with Sam Friedman (Josh Gad)a local Jewish lawyer who’s never handled a criminal case.

Zora Neale Hurston (Chilli) shows up briefly in a fun scene with Langston Hughes (Jussie Smollett)

 

 

That’s a wrap, for now!

Whilst we wait for the ladies to take up more movie roles, you can catch T-Boz regularly playing the role of Sheila Watkins on Days Of Our Lives on NBC.

Chilli is working on her own healthy cooking show, Fix My Plate,  set to air in 2019.