Patch: It’s been a little over a year since you released your album, “TLC.” What was it like to work on and release new material after all these years? … And is it really your “final” album?
Chilli: It was like riding a bicycle really. Once you know how to do something that you love, even if you step away for a long time, to come back to it is to pick it up like you never stopped. It was really exciting. It’s the final album, yes, but I wouldn’t say it’s the last of TLC music that you’ll hear from us. We’re open to tons of opportunities. Album wise though, yes, it was definitely the final one.
T-Boz: It’s been an absolute blessing. The studio is my second home really; I’ve never stopped recording. The difference for this was just that it was for our next studio album. It’s always hard doing a new album because it’s so much pressure. The studio part is easy, but the pressure is the hard part. And yes, it’s the final album. It doesn’t mean it’s the end of TLC though, it’s just the final album. We’re still open to singles and soundtracks and Christmas songs. There will still be lots of TLC!
Patch: If you ever recorded another record, what are some artists/groups you’d like to collaborate with?
Chilli: Bruno Mars, definitely.
T-Boz: So many of the artists I’ve dreamed of collaborating with have died in the past few years, so I really need to think about this one. There’s so many great artists out there.
Patch: You’ve headlined or co-headlined several successful tours, including I Love the 90s: The Party Continues Tour in 2017. What do you enjoy most about touring?
Chilli: I just love being on stage. What we do on stage, looking out to the audience and how the music is affecting those fans, from people smil[ing], to people who are crying, to people singing along and dancing, that makes me feel good.
T-Boz: The fans and the energy are the absolute best. Just being able to tour and have sold out shows 26 years later is an absolute blessing.
Patch: What is your favorite song to perform live and why?
Chilli: I don’t have a favorite song to perform, but anything uptempo I really enjoy. I don’t like to slow it down.
T-Boz: I don’t have one to be honest. I love them all. The energy on stage is what I love performing most, more so than the individual songs themselves.
Patch: Would you ever consider a Las Vegas residency?
Chilli: Well, we’re currently working on that. Hoping to lock that down sooner than later!
T-Boz: Absolutely! This has been our dream for years now!
Patch: You were in San Diego not too long ago for the San Diego Pride Festival. What was that experience like, and why is the cause important to you?
Chilli: It was honestly such a great show. It was awesome. And important, because we want our fans to know we love them as much as they love us. Every time we get to perform, we want to make them feel that, and San Diego was just perfect for that.
T-Boz: For us, fans are fans, no matter their sexual orientation, but I love Pride because it allows people to be themselves and stand up for what they believe in. You’re supposed to have pride in who you are, and that’s what Pride is about. Anytime fans are being true to themselves, we want to support that!
Patch: Now you’re headed back to the San Diego area. Your performance at KAABOO in Del Mar is just weeks away. What can fans expect?
Chilli: They can expect a lot of energy. A lot of energy. There’s a lot of choreography. Even on the ballads, we bring the energy and the entertainment.
T-Boz: High energy concert, ton of excitement! Basically, we plan to have a big party together with tens of thousands of people, that’s what this is all about!
Patch: Will you get a chance to enjoy the festival? If so, who are you looking forward to seeing?
Chilli: We’re excited for everyone, but I’m really excited to see Katy Perry! She’s amazing, so it’ll be awesome to see her.
T-Boz: I wish! But my family are waiting for me. I’ve got a little one at home who’s waiting for me, so I’ll be in and out, to be with my family.
Patch: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Chilli: Just that I’m so excited to be a part of this and I hope they invite us again!
T-Boz: I just want to thank the fans for their support over all these years, still coming to see us and selling out all these shows! If it weren’t for them we wouldn’t be doing this anymore.
Content extraction credit: Loopy Adorno
Last year when TLC were doing the promotional rounds for their new album, they revealed the record had 2 guest features, but the final tracklist only featured one guest, Snoop Dogg (on ‘Way Back’).
This had fans wondering who that missing guest feature could have been. J. Cole? Drake? Lil Mama? Well, it was none of the above!
Finally, T-Boz has put all speculation to rest! She exclusively told Daniel S. Bahrami for Loverboy Magazine that the guest feature was none other than Missy Elliott!
“Oh that was Missy Elliott!“, T-Boz exclaimed when asked about the mystery feature. “I love her dearly, but it was just a matter of politics taking too long. We needed to put the album out for the fans. I want to make it clear – it had nothing to do with her! I’m glad we are free from all that industry stuff now. I don’t have the patience.“
During the interview, T-Boz answered a lot of questions fans have been wondering.
TLC European Tour
“Yes, the European fans definitely will get to see more of us. I don’t know why we didn’t go there before. I know some plans were postponed. We’re rescheduling that now.”
“Honestly, I’ve never separated people like that. I love our LGBTQ fans, but I don’t look at it like, ‘We have two different fan groups. Those are my gay fans, and those are my straight fans.’ If I can touch people with my music, then that makes me happy. From the get-go I’ve always told people to be themselves and stand up for themselves. I guess that resonates more with the LGBTQ community and I’m all for that. People need to be cool in their own skin.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race
“[Appearing on the show] That’s totally up to them. I would definitely come! Helloooo! I would love to be a judge and I personally love RuPaul. We worked with his make-up artist, Mathu Andersen, on the ‘No Scrubs’ video. I specifically asked for someone who knew how to do drag make-up, because I’ve always been so mesmerised by it. I wanted that kind of make-up and Mathu was perfect.”
T-Boz Unplugged 2018
“One thing we are working on is a Las Vegas residency. We are also doing ‘T-Boz Unplugged’ on 14th October in L.A. It raises awareness and funds for kids growing up with sickle cell. It’s at Avalon. You can find out more and make donations at www.tbozunplugged.com. It’s awesome because the foundation teaches kids about holistic remedies and acupuncture, not just being on all that medication which keeps us in a weakened state. Also how to build your up body, in an organic way.”
Check out the full interview HERE
R&B trio TLC has nothing left to prove. In addition to their four Grammy wins, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (who passed away in a 2002 car accident) have sold more than 65 million albums worldwide.
The threesome’s first four albums all went multi-platinum, and despite now more than doubling that number, their 1994 smash CrazySexyCool is still the only album by female group to receive diamond certification (10+ million in sales) from the Recording Industry Association of America.
After a 15-year hiatus during which Lopes was never replaced, Watkins and Thomas started a Kickstarter campaign earmarked for what would be the band’s farewell album.
The campaign garnered more than $430,000 — some $280,000 above the $150,000 goal — including a $10,000 contribution from New Kids on the Block and $5,000 from Katy Perry.
The group’s self-titled fifth studio album was released last year, reaching the top spot on the U.S. Billboard Independent Albums chart, as well as the U.K.’s R&B Albums chart.
Watkins and Thomas intend to keep their word on the album as their swan song, but look forward to continuing under the TLC moniker.
This weekend, the pair appears at their first-ever Pride Festival where they will close the San Diego event with a headlining performance on Sunday night.
PACIFIC recently spoke with Watkins from her L.A. home about it all.
PACIFC: How are you?
TIONNE “T-BOZ” WATKINS: I can’t complain — not at all. Things have been really good. I’ve just been running myself crazy lately. I’m doing the TV show between every live performance and I sometimes ask myself, “Oh my god, what did I do?” But really, it’s a blessing. At least I’m working, right? (laughs)
That’s right! You’re on Days of Our Lives now!
Yeah! It started in 2016 for just a few episodes. But they called me back three times! Now, I have a whole life there. It’s so fun. And it allows me to get home to have dinner with my kids. It’s a great job for me. And my kids love it.
And that’s kids, plural. With a teenage daughter and all of your work, quite the commitment to adopt a baby boy!
It’s crazy! But I had said year after year that I wanted a boy. And that’s after I almost died with my daughter — I went into a coma for three days. But I’m hardheaded. I was like, “I think I can do it again.” And my family said, “Oh, hell no. You’re not doing that again.”
I wanted to adopt another little boy before, but the mother we were talking to reneged. And I ended up in the ICU and lost my spleen. So I thought it was meant to happen like that because I got really sick. But then my mom told me that this time, (the woman) had another baby and wanted to give it up. We talked to her for two months, made sure she really wanted to do it this time, and it happened.
Great result, but that had to have been difficult.
It was one of the most stressful times in my life. I thought being sick was stressful, but having your child from day one and knowing that someone could still strip that baby away from you, it was the most stress I’ve felt in my life.
But really, it’s all kept me younger. And I really was second-guessing myself at first. People just made so many negative comments about my age. But I’m dancing like I’m 19 years old all over the world and that doesn’t bother me! (laughs)
There’s never been a perfect time to do anything in my history.
My son, Chance, and the adoption just turned everything around for me — and came at the perfect time. He’s really the inspiration for songs like It’s Sunny and Way Back on the TLC album. I just put that positive energy into it.
But like you said, I have a 17-year-old as well. So it’s crazy. I have the emotional teen and the terrible two. So I have a double dose of it right now. (laughs)
Speaking of the album, you guys have said it’s your last. Is it?
It’s the last studio album. But I won’t say it’s the last of TLC. We both really want to do a residency and are currently in negotiations for the right deal. And I think that we both would be down with contributing a song to a compilation album or something like that, but as far as studio albums go, we’re done.
It’s hard. With Lisa, and people holding her vocals hostage, it’s a lot. And it’s stressful. We don’t want to go through all of that. We just really wanted to give fans what they’ve been asking for, and that was another album. So that’s what we did.