|T-BOZ: "Yes, we do have fun wherever we go...we are very tight. We're not just a music group. We're actually friends. We have been through so much together and made it through. Our bond is really deep."|
The recipients of a slew of awards during their career, TLC's members didn't always have it so smooth. Working on the fringes of the industry before being pulled together vy singer Pebbles, T-Boz, Chilli and Left Eye paid their dues. T-Boz was marking time as a manicurist at the Atlanta hair salon where Pebbles' hairstylist worked, Left Eye fleeing family problems back in Philadelphia, and Chilli was dancing for L.A. & Babyface act Damian Dame.
Eventually the three teamed after T-Boz overheard a conversation about Pebbles holding auditions for a hip-hop act, and attended the audition. The three clicked well together, and Pebbles shaped the group's image around a concept of lyrically outspoken adolescent child-women, blending musically edgy hip-hop elements and smooth R&B soul.
The result was TLC's debut LP, Ooooooh...On The TLC Tip, which sold over two million copies and spawned two-platinum-selling singles, "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg", and "Baby Baby Baby", as well as "What About Your Friends." Acompanied by colorful videos, with plenty of urban youth appeal, TLC's songs cashed in on their attention-getting image carefully clothed in accessories that included multi-colored comdoms, baggy pants and tops, and baseball caps worn every which way on their heads.
|LEFT EYE: "...when I die, no matter how it is, whether I do it on purpose or whether it just happens, I want people to remember me. I want people to talk about me."|
Success came swiftly with TLC annchoring tours with heavy-duty artists such as Shabba Ranks, Bobby Brown, Mary J. Blige, and a number of other hot-selling stars. Just as quickly, however, came the group's problems in the form of managerial conflicts over the group's direction, and disagreements ofver the lack of creative control the members had over their material. Added to that, Left Eye's public quarrels with her boyfriend, Andre Rison, a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, resulted in the heated conflagration that ended her arrest for burning down his multi-million-dollar Atlanta mansion.
For Left Eye, a stint in an alcohol rehabilitation facility, along with a fat fine followed the tabloidy drama, with the group and Pebbles parting ways after accusations of her conealing money-making merchandise offers from the group surfaced.
In the studio all the while, however, TLC cranked out their next album, CrazySexyCool, the disk that shot them into the record industry record books. Armed with a new look and a new image, TLC managed to age gracefully into more mature artists with a more mature look and sound. Sales went through the roof, but just as quickly so did their problems with the IRS. The group filed for bankruptcy soon after, accounting problems proving them behind in back taxes to the governement.
|CHILLI: I'm proud to be a ghetto-queen."|
"No matter what happens in our personal lives, it still can't stop us from being Number One," said T-Boz in an interview with Music Connection Magazine, early in '95. "You just gotta make sure people respect you. No one can hurt me unless I let 'em hurt me. I wish I could make people better from the inside. I wish I could meet more strangers with good hearts. I'm just learning to take people for what they're worth."
From Word Up! Magazine March 1996