Interview, Tribute

Spice Girl Mel C Admits She Was Emotional Meeting TLC After Left Eye Passed Away

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Melanie C of the Spice Girls recently spoke about TLC on her regular #AskMelanieC Q&A session on Facebook Live in May, and focused her favourite member, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, with whom she famously worked with on her #1 single, “Never Be The Same Again” in 2000. This was the second time this year Mel praised Lisa publicly, she spoke about her in April as part of the Track-By-Track celebration of her debut album, ‘Northern Star‘.

Melanie said that she and the rest of the Spice Girls loved TLC and were inspired by them in the early days. When discussing how her collaboration with Lisa happened, she says that it became a reality when she decided her song needed a rap and only wanted Left Eye to do it. The producer Rhett Lawrence had previously worked with TLC and was able to reach out and Lisa loved the idea.

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Credit: Ron Davis

“When writing the song, we got to the middle eight where the rap is — the middle eight is the bit where the music is on it’s own which is completely different to the verses and the chorus, about three quarters of the way in”, Melanie explains. “I could just hear a Lisa ‘Left Eye’ styled rap, the way she had a unique style and the rhythms that she used.”

“She recorded the rap — Lisa was one of the writers of the rap, but she had a little team that they wrote it together with”, Melanie recalls. “It was a brilliant rap, and it really works with the song. The context is just so brilliant. It was meant to be. I’m very proud that I got to work with her”.

Melanie remembers the different occasions she was able to hang around Lisa to get to know her more. “We hung out a few times. I wasn’t in the studio when she recorded her rap. I must have been in the UK at the time. It was sent to me and I loved it immediately”, she confessed. “We hung out in LA just to get to know each other a little bit — we shot the video together obviously”.

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Melanie loved shooting the music video for “Never Be The Same Again” with Lisa, which was directed by Francis Lawrence, who also directed music videos for artists like Jennifer Lopez (“Waiting For Tonight“), Destiny’s Child (“Independent Women Part 1“) and Justin Timberlake (“Cry Me A River“).

“One of my favourite moments would be learning the dance. Doing the video was really fun because that was when we really got to work properly together”, Melanie said. “She came to the the UK to do some promo for Top Of The Pops and we did some MTV stuff. It was just amazing to work with her and get to know her for a bit. She was like a force of nature”.

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Melanie got emotional when she recalls the moment she was told about the news that Lisa had passed away. “It was such a shock when I got the call. I was in Italy when she passed away — she was in a car accident and she was only 30, so it was very sad indeed”, Mel said. “Whenever I do the song [live] I always think of her”.

Melanie C had the opportunity to meet TionneT-Boz” Watkins and RozondaChilli” Thomas for the first time in 2018, when she performed at the same Mighty Hoopla festival that TLC were headlining in London and admits that seeing them without Lisa made her feel emotional.

“I did the song at the Mighty Hoopla a few years back and TLC were headlining that gig and it was the first time I had met T-Boz and Chilli”, she recalls. “I was so excited to meet them and I just burst into tears because it made me think of Lisa”, an emotional Mel recalls before changing the subject.

Melanie C’s new single, “Who I Am“, is out now. Watch TLC in their latest TV project ‘Iconic: TLC
Anniversary, Interview, Tribute

Melanie C Shares Her Time Working With Left Eye On Her First Solo Number One Record

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Mel C & Left Eye in 2000 (Credit: Ron Davis)

Melanie C aka Sporty Spice of the Spice Girls took the opportunity this week to celebrate her debut solo album, 1999’s ‘Northern Star‘, with the weekly pop podcast Track By Track to discuss the album in detail, track-by-track.

The year 2000 was a special time in music. TLC were on hiatus after the success of their mega-selling ‘FanMail‘ album and the record-breaking tour to support it, while the Spice Girls were also taking a break from world domination to focus on their solo projects.

Melanie C decided to team up with Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes on her debut solo album, which led to Melanie earning her first solo number one single in the UK in the summer of 2000, an exciting time for both TLC and Spice Girls fans!

The single in question was “Never Be The Same Again“. Melanie C gave us some beautiful memories of her time working with Lisa around the time of the single being released.

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Melanie proudly states that the Spice Girls were huge fans of TLC. “I couldn’t believe my luck when I had the opportunity to work with [Lisa]. And she was perfect!”, Melanie exclaims.

Lisa was the only rapper Mel C wanted on the track with her. “She was the only person I wanted on that song. I was writing with Rhett Lawrence & we got to the middle 8 & all I could hear was a Lisa-style rap”, she recalls. “He gave her a call & next thing I knew she was on the track. So that was a wonderful experience”.

Melanie states that she shot the spiritual video with Lisa in Malibu, which features a scene with Lisa and Melanie performing tai chi moves together while Lisa lays down her iconic verse, once again proving why she was the perfect choice for the track.

Following the success of the single in March 2000, Melanie invited Lisa to promote the single with her in London for a couple of performances and interviews to help keep the track at number one for a second week!

At the time of the promotional run, Lisa told Top Of The Pops: Backstage how she felt about being part of the success with Melanie. “Now that we might be number one twice in a row, I feel like I’m running a marathon and I’m almost at the finish line!”, she says excitedly.

The solo recognition also meant a lot to Lisa, as she was seeking to launch her solo career in the UK. “It is important. I’m going to be coming back over here to do a solo project of mine, so it is always good to be recognised and especially if you can make that number one slot”.

Lisa and Mel C also stopped by at BBC Radio One, where Lisa further discusses her need to have her voice heard solo. “I’ve always wanted to do a solo album. I am an emcee, and I love TLC — but I’m very limited to the amount of work that I can actually do. It’s usually a few songs, 16 bars here and there, and I like to really strut my stuff.”

“But as far as the rumors, we’re fine. We haven’t broken up. We went through a little something last year, but it’s not the first time that we’ve been through something, it’s just the first time that it was publicized”, Lisa explains.

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“The issues that have existed?”, Lisa continues,  “personal differences when it comes to business decisions and the direction that we move forward in. It’s one group, with three different people with three different visions, so which direction do we go in?”.

Mel C co-signs with Lisa about the struggles of being in a group. “We have earned the right to yell at each other”, Lisa jests. “You spend so much time together that you become like sisters”, Mel adds. “And no matter what’s said you still love each other. You iron out your differences and you sort it out”.

“Never Be The Same Again” will always be special to Mel C, not just because it blessed her with her first number one, but because Lisa was a part of it with her. “This will always be a very important song to me, obviously being my first UK No. 1 and really launching the whole album to new heights, but also sadly losing Lisa was so tragic, she was so young and such a huge talent, so I feel very lucky I was able to work with her and we have this piece of music, that we worked on together, forever”.

Melanie eventually got the chance to meet the rest of TLC in 2018 at the Mighty Hoopla in London, 19 years since she first worked with Lisa. Fans can always live in hope that the two biggest girl groups in history unite one day on tour. Lisa would have loved the idea.

Melanie C’s new single, “Who I Am“, is out now.