More than two years after TLC said it would record one final album — to be funded by fans through Kickstarter — the R&B/hip-hop duo has announced the long-awaited record will arrive June 30.
But there’s still one catch: The project doesn’t have a title. And the group is asking fans to chime in.
In an update on Kickstarter, the group’s longtime manager, Bill Diggins, writes that TLC’s surviving members, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, are still undecided and are soliciting inspiration from the fans who backed the project financially.
Some of the options so far? “The Last Chapter,” “Encore,” “Meant to Be” (after a group saying) or “Lisa,” as tribute to founding member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, who died in 2002.
In early 2015, Watkins and Thomas launched a campaign on the crowdfunding site to record their first new album in more than a dozen years. It is the group’s first record since Lopes’ death in a car accident amid work on 2002’s “3D.”
They had hoped to raise $150,000 in 30 days — they did it in fewer than three — and hit $430,255 by the campaign’s final day, making it the fastest-funded project from a pop act.
The group had originally set a September 2015 release date for the project, and the delay didn’t go over well with fans as they awaited updates (one of them cheekily suggested they name the record “Patience”).
“At the time we had no music, no producers, no writers and a few ideas. We also were in the middle of rehearsals for TLC’s first arena tour since the FanMail Tour and therefore on the road for most of the year,” an earlier statement said.
Late last year, TLC offered short previews of two new tracks from the forthcoming album, “Joyride” and “Haters,” and a recent episode of Fox’s “Star” debuted a clip of the project’s likely first single, a bouncy retro jam called “Wayback” that sounded like classic TLC.
In the years since Lopes’ death, one question has lingered with the group: Could there be a TLC without her? Though the group has recently been touring (TLC will headline Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre in July as part of the retro I Love the 90s — The Party Continues Tour Tour), there’s been little music since “3D.”
While prepping the release of its 2013 VH1 biopic “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” the group got back in the studio to start work on a new album.
There were sessions with longtime collaborator Dallas Austin and Lady Gaga, who penned a track called “P.O.S.H. Life,” but nothing was released except for “Meant to Be,” a saccharine ballad that Epic put on “20,” a retrospective collection that was rushed out to capitalize on the buzz of the biopic.
During those sessions, which The Times previewed, Watkins and Thomas were thinking of how to pay tribute to their fallen sister, which they continue to do in their live performances.
Fans shouldn’t, however, be expecting any unreleased vocals from Lopes to punctuate the new music. Watkins, Thomas and producers already mined Lopes’ limited-released solo effort, “Supernova,” to pull vocals to fill out “3D.”
“First off, there isn’t anything else, as far as her raps,” Thomas said in a 2013 interview.
“And then you have to think about it, there are conceptual songs with certain subject matters,” Watkins added. “Rappers are deep. Do you think everything [she recorded solo] matched up with what we were doing?”
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