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.
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Concert, Interview

Chilli: “I Would Love TLC & Spice Girls To Tour Together!”

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Chilli is up for reigniting some 90’s girl power with another top girl group from their era – the Spice Girls!

Speaking with Billboard to celebrate Live Nation’s National Concert Week, the ‘C’ of TLC reveals that she would love for her group to tour with the British girl band one day.

“I really would love to go on tour with The Spice Girls. I think TLC and the Spice Girls would be super epic,” Chilli says. “We’ve spoken to a couple of the girls but hopefully in the future that tour can happen.”

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Melanie C with TLC in 2018

The ladies of TLC met up with Spice Girl Melanie C in 2018, when they both performed exclusively at the Mighty Hoopla festival in London.

Melanie C has previously worked with a TLC member in the past. She hired the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes to join her on the #1 smash, “Never Be The Same Again“, in 2000.

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Both girl groups are busy on separate tours this year. While the Spice Girls have reunited for a UK tour with support act Jess Glynne, TLC have teamed up with Nelly & Flo Rida for a US summer tour.

The North American amphitheater tour is included in the more than 2,800 Live Nation shows being offered for $20 during the promoter’s National Concert Week.

TLC has been touring on and off since their first major trek, the FanMail tour in 1999.

“When we had our Fanmail tour we had Christina Aguilera and Destiny’s Child. It is all about the packages in my opinion,” says Chilli. “It makes it more of a fun time for the fans because they love many artists. If you have the right group together, it makes it super exciting.”

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For tickets to TLC’s latest trek and other participating shows for Live Nation’s National Concert Week, head here.
Read more from the interview here.
Concert, Review

TLC Graced London’s Mighty Hoopla Stage In Class and Style

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By Leon Smythe

June 3, 2018: the date that became one of the most important dates of the year for most British fans of the biggest selling US girl group of all time, TLC.

Not only was it the second time TLC had performed in the UK in their 26-year career (the first show being as recent as 2017 at KOKO in London on May 9th), but this date served as the first time the ladies had performed at a UK festival, ever!

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TLC had the pleasure of being chosen as the headline act at this years Mighty Hoopla festival, held at Brockwell Park in South London, which serves exclusively as TLC’s only show in the UK in 2018.

This is one of a very few occasions where a female act has been selected to headline a major music festival. Times are changing, for the better. Kudos to Mighty Hoopla for giving the girls the opportunity.

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The weather held out beautifully the whole day, bringing out the best of the festival, maintaining the high spirits and eclectic atmosphere amongst the attendees.

The festival line-up boasted a female-majority roster of established artists with varied music genres, including Nadine Coyle (Girls Aloud), Louise (Eternal), Lily Allen, Belinda Carlisle and Spice GirlsMelanie C, who paid a loving tribute to Left Eye before performing their UK #1 duet, 2000’s “Never Be The Same Again“.

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Melanie C with TLC 

8:30PM dawned shortly after Lily Allen’s hour long set, blessing us with the main attraction: T-Boz and Chilli, with Left Eye laced effortlessly throughout the performance, in the form of photo collages and her original raps, left to play out in her memory.

From the start, the girls, both donned in beautiful golden toned outfits, set the tone of what to expect; a powerful, high energized trip down memory lane, opening with their debut 1992 hits, “What About Your Friends?” and “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg“.

They took it down a notch with the smooth “Diggin’ On You“, before upping the anté with the club anthem “Silly Ho“, slightly revamped to feature a modern beat sample from the Kendrick Lamar 2017 hit “Humble“. It went down a treat. The crowd went wild .

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Rather than giving a male audience member the usual “Red Light Special” lap dance on stage, Chilli opted to invite rapper Q-Boy to dance with her during her bridge.

They took it back to 1992 with “Baby-Baby-Baby“, before diving straight back into 2017, with the anti-bully track “Haters” from their latest album.

The self-love anthem “Unpretty” came next, with the audience singing their hearts out in unison, before the girls took a short break to allow the dancers and band to show and highlight their talents.

The set features a new set of vibrant visuals, produced by the hip-hop choreography duo Nappytabs (Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo), the team behind the Jennifer Lopez Las Vegas residency and television show So You Think You Can Dance?

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The opening trumpets in the Grammy winning #1 single “Creep” lit up the stage and set the tone for the excellence that followed. New track “It’s Sunny” was next, with it’s infectious chorus and Earth, Wind & Fire sample.

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TLC gave their 2017 hit “Way Back” a 2018 remix, with a catchy ‘TLC’ chant and a sample of the 2001 hit “The Next Episode” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, the latter of whom features on the song with the girls.

Chilli asked the audience if she could talk for a minute. As soon as she mentioned her frustration at guys who try to talk to her from the passengers side, the whole crowd was sent into a frenzy, as they knew it was time for “No Scrubs“!

Factors beyond their control meant their set time was delayed, therefore they couldn’t perform beyond the venues curfew, omitting the ode to the fans “Joy Ride” and “Fan Mail“.

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That didn’t dent the flow of the night, as they launched into the show finalé, and Left Eye’s favorite song, “Waterfalls“, with the audience singing along loud and proud with the girls.

They bowed and thanked us all for being there, while Chilli hung around a little longer throwing love heart shapes with her hands even when the music had stopped.

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Credit: Victoria Ling

One thing is for sure, after this much love from across the pond, this will not be the last time TLC will be touching down on British soils. They love us, as much as we love them.

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Enjoy the full set below:

Click here for TLC x Mighty Hoopla Photo Gallery