TLC--the name itself conjures up a vision of three rather exotic and petite (all under 5'1" and under 105 lbs.) ladies who aren't afraid to speak their minds in both lyrics and interviews. Many times, male journalists have blushed at some of the girls "condom-nation" of unsafe sex--not because of the content of their statements, but because of the salty language they used. No doubt about it--T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chilli add spice to any musical mix (or party!) and they have no apologies if they offend some more sensitive R&B or pop fans.
TLC has come a long way since releasing their debut LP three years ago. 1995 marked the release of the ladies' second album, CrazySexyCool, and their new attitude and image. Gone are the oversized overalls with the condoms pinned on the straps. Gone is the devil-may-care attitude that's more indicative of teenagers than young ladies in their early 20s. The group is currently riding high with a state-of-the-art video for "Waterfalls," and there's been talk of their own TV series that has not yet come to fruition--but their management company is still pinning high hopes on it as they see other R&B stars like Brandy and Heavy D. get their own primetime series.
This summer, TLC is on tour with BoyzIIMen, but based on the success of their LP, will branch off onto their own tour shortly. Rumors from the road are that the three are getting along famously, and that they've finally learned how to blend crazy, sexy, and cool personalities together.
It's perhaps some of the group's fans who can best sum up their current state of megastardom (and transition). Says Carolyn R. of McClean, VA, who recently went to see TLC in concert, "They look so much different than when I saw them the first time around. They look so much older. Their clothes and makeup were different. They had those slinky beige dresses on--they were dressing more like En Vogue than TLC, but it worked. I think that these days, they can probably bring in some older fans. This should help them have longevity."
The best thing that could happen to TLC is that they put their recent controversies behind them and move on to greener pastures (in other words, greater acceptance by the pop mainstream). Certainly, "too much too soon" can put any group in trouble, but the ladies have gone into the "adult" period of their career--they look different, act different, and fans never know what to expect from them. They singlehandedly put Atlanta on the musical map and have opened doors for dozens of artists in the past three years. Without trying to sound cliche`, TLC is a groundbreaking group--but as they say, the building is "only halfway up".
As Left Eye concludes with a smile, "This group is always growing and chaing--and you never know what we're going to do next. But no matter where we go or what we do, it's the fans who put us here. And we'll always love them and always do what we can for them!"
From Word Up! Magazine, October 1995