TLC has sold over 65 million albums and 9 million singles worldwide sold and impacted popular culture through music, style and fashion.
The group’s legacy makes them leaders in the world of Hip-Hop, Pop and R&B. Things took a turn for the worse when Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes, passed away in a tragic car accident in 2002. Before Lisa‘s passing the group was in and out of the studio working on their album “3D.”
T-Boz and Chilli felt it was important to go ahead with the album they had started working on with Lisa, who was responsible for the title and blueprinted the visuals for “3D“. Left Eye, whose undeniable creative contribution to the group was immeasurable, contributed as a collaborating writer to four of the key cuts on “3D” including “Girl Talk,” the first single which featured a no-holds-barred rap by the much-missed Lopes. T-Boz stated, “It wasn’t easy for the two of us because we still had to do half the record and when we were in the studio, sometimes it was very hard. But the hardest thing has been filming the videos without her.”
TLC literally burst on the music scene in 1992 with two consecutive Top 3 platinum singles, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” and “Baby, Baby, Baby” and the gold single “What About Your Friends.” All three tracks helped propel their LaFace debut “Oooooooohhh! On The TLC Tip” to the top of the charts, selling three million in the process. To date, the album has sold over six million, TLC raised the musical temperature with each successive project.
It was their 1994 follow-up, “CrazySexyCool” that really set them apart from the rest. Working with producers such as Austin, Dupri, Sean “Puffy” Combs and Organized Noize, TLC delivered a record that set them apart from all other female groups of the day. The first single, “Creep” was another platinum smash, staying at the top of the pop and R&B charts for weeks to end. The second single, Babyface‘s “Red Light Special” was another major hit.
However, it was the lyrically thought-provoking “Waterfalls,” the third cut released as a single from “CrazySexyCool” that propelled TLC to a new level of success. The groundbreaking accompanying video won four MTV Video Music Awards in 1996 including “Best Video Of The Year,” “Best R&B Video,” “Best Group Video” and “Viewer’s Choice” honors and two Soul Train Music Awards (for Best R&B/Soul Or Rap Music Video and Best R&B/Soul Single). In the wake of the album’s amazing chart run, TLC was named “Artist Of The Year” by Billboard magazine, and a fourth single, “Diggin’ On You” was a Top 5 platinum best-seller.
The success of “CrazySexyCool” (which also featured guest appearances by Busta Rhymes and the late Phife of A Tribe Called Quest) led to a total of six Grammy nominations and TLC walked away with two Grammy Awards for “Best R&B Performance by a Duo/Group” for “Creep” and “Best R&B Album” for their sophomore set. Countless other accolades followed including two Lady of Soul awards, two Billboard Music Awards, three Soul Train Music Awards and a Blockbuster Entertainment Award.
In 1995, TLC completed a successful nationwide tour with Boyz II Men. Their many media appearances included the film “House Party 3,” and the popular sitcom “Living Single.” Musically, the group contributed the theme to Nickelodeon show “All That,” covered The Time‘s “Get It Up” for the “Poetic Justice” soundtrack. Their charitable work included launching the 1995 “Believe In Yourself” campaign and working with the “Make-a-Wish” Foundation.
After touring nationwide, the multi-talented trio – known for supporting a number of important social causes including raising funds in the fight against sickle cell anemia and promoting safe sex (particularly among teens) – began working on their third album “FanMail” with an array of top notch producers including Dallas Austin and Babyface.
Back in 1999, prior to the release of “FanMail,” Left Eye noted
“Some groups have tried to take off from where we left off in 1994 with “CrazySexyCool.” We’ve heard about record companies who have tried to put together groups like us but no one can do it.”
Proving the point, the much-anticipated album sold over nine million copies and was certified gold or platinum in twenty-one countries, garnering TLC another Grammy Award for “Best R&B Album.”
Their first single, “No Scrubs,” which was written by Kandi & Tiny from Xscape, was the biggest single to emerge from the critically-acclaimed set. A two-time Grammy Award winner (for “Best R&B Song” and “Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group”) and double platinum, chart-topping hit. The #1follow-up single “Unpretty” continued the momentum and by 2000, TLC had received another two MTV Video Music Awards, two Soul Train Music Awards, one Brit Award, one American Music Award, two Lady Of Soul Awards and the much-treasured Lady Of Soul Aretha Franklin Award as Entertainer(s) Of The Year.
The group’s pay-per-view special of the “FanMail” tour was the highest-grossing pay-per-view event in history at the time. The tour started poorly, but grossed $72.8 million by the time it was over.
Inspired by the constant support of their vast global fan base, TLC embarked on recording their fourth album in late 2001. Recording sessions continued through 2002 until tragedy struck in April when Left Eye, vacationing in Honduras (her favorite place to escape the pressures of superstardom and a life constantly in the public spotlight) was in a car accident that resulted in her untimely passing. Both T-Boz and Chilli vowed to keep working on the new album, announcing a scholarship fund in Lisa‘s honor at MTV’s Video Music Awards in the summer of 2002. Tionne, in memory, stated, “Lisa is a party girl, so this is a party album. A lot of people thought when Lisa passed that we would do a sad album but she was so upbeat and this is an upbeat album in tribute to what she would want us to do“.
The release of “3D” was not only a reminder of the lasting creative contribution Left Eye made but an opportunity for T-Boz and Chilli to continue to blaze new trails in music and style. The album is filled with tracks that saw TLC once again raising the musical bar for themselves.
Executive produced by Left Eye, Chilli and T-Boz along with Arista Records President and CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid, who has played a pivotal role in the group’s career since TLC first signed to LaFace Records in 1991, “3D” features some of music’s hottest producers including The Neptunes, Missy Elliott and Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, Organized Noize, Babyface, Darryl Simmons, Raphael Saadiq, Eddie ‘Eddie Hustle’ Clement and longtime TLC collaborator Dallas Austin.
Having participated in the creation of the ratings success “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story” that aired in October of 2013 on VH1 and serving as executive producers, Chilli and T-Boz are ushering in the next phase of the group’s illustrious career. Which saw them, along with Lopes, sell 65 million albums worldwide and become cultural icons in the process. They released a hits album “20” with a new single written by Ne-Yo entitled “Meant To Be” in support of the movie.
Chilli and T-Boz have released the first single from the final TLC album today featuring Snoop Dogg entitled “Way Back.” The album will be released this summer on June 30th.
Happy 25th Anniversary TLC!!
UB TLC Spotify Playlist & TLC Classic Videos!
A Celebration of Life and Love
Left Eye’s family written biography.
Lisa Nicole Lopes lived a life of creativity, ambition, dedication to her artistry, and love of family and friends. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 27, 1971, Lisa is the first of three children born to Wanda Lopes Colemon and the late Ronald Lopes, Sr.
As a child, Lisa’s ear for music was exhibited by the age of 5, when she received a toy piano for Christmas. Though it was just a toy, Lisa learned to play actual songs on this instrument, impressing both family and friends. Lisa’s creativity was hardly limited to music only. Growing up as the big sister to her brother, Ronald, and a sister Raina, Lisa often entertained them with stories she wrote. Her gift as an artist was again exhibited during childhood, as she enjoyed drawing cartoons “just for the fun of it.”
Creatively gifted, music has always been interwoven in the fabric of Lisa’s being. Her devotion to music served as a source of comfort, mental release, emotional support, and a sense of fulfillment.
Fueled by ambition, Lisa moved to Atlanta in 1992, focused on pursuing a music career. Shortly after arriving here, Lisa met two ladies who soon became her best friends, collaborators and dream seekers. Together, Lisa, Tionne and Rozonda formed a hip-hop group that quickly captured the attention and the hearts of the world, TLC. Certainly Lisa’s creative influence was evident in the image and lyric’s of the TLC message. Their first CD, “Ooooooohhh On The TLC TIP,” sold millions. Lisa was responsible for the rap lyrics, and also designed the trios’ costumes as well as the CD cover. In later CD’s, “CrazySexyCool” and “Fanmail,” Lisa penned rap lyrics that mirrored her experiences , bared her heart, and depicted emotional and spiritual growth. Again, showing her creativity and natural talents, Lisa was responsible for designing the stage set for TLC’s first major tour, as well as providing the creative concepts in TLC’s videos. The unique image that TLC projected was created largely through Lisa’s creative insight/influence. TLC’s artistry and popularity was recognized throughout the world as the group received both national and international recognition.
Lisa’s natural talents also extended into cooking, sewing and music production. Considered an outstanding chef by family and close friends, Lisa was recently working on a culinary concept tentatively dubbed “Chef Eye Kitchen.” In collaboration with her uncle, Lisa launched a line of hip-hop fashions. And, through her production company, “Left Eye Productions,” Lisa served as a mentor to the female groups “Egypt,” “Blaque,” “Nandi,” and “Jenaisiqua.”
In recent years, Lisa became increasingly introspective, as she sought to discover and unleash her purpose. She regularly traveled to Honduras to commune with nature, participate in cleansing treatments, and focus on mental and spiritual renewal. Lisa took such delight in these travels, that she shared this experience with family and friends by bringing them to this “home away from home” to share her love for this experience. Those who know Lisa well are certainly acquainted with her generosity, vitality, independence and her ability to “keep it real.” Lisa enjoyed showering loved ones with her generosity, never expecting anything in return. It was not unusual to see Lisa reach out to help strangers. And, Lisa never failed to pay attention to young kids, whether they just wanted an autograph, a friendly ear, or simply to see a successful celebrity.
We will always remember the wonderful memories we have of Lisa. Her quick smile, ready wit, generosity, and determination will always remind us of the Lisa we knew and loved. Her legacy is reflected in her humanitarianism, creativity, and, the lyrics in which she shared her heart and soul with her fans. Lisa will be lovingly remembered and missed by her family, friends and fans. Cherishing all that the private Lisa represented are: her adoring mother, Wanda Lopes Colemon, step-father – Quynton Colemon; brother – Ronald Lopes; step-brother Quynlan Colemon; Reverend Sherman Washington “twodad”; maternal grandmother – “Granny Lillie’; Maternal grandfather and step-grandmother – Jose and Eva Andino; grandfather – Chic Chaneyfield; Paternal Great Grandmother – Reverend Helen B. Hewlett; uncles and aunts – Jose, Perez, Antonio, Michelle, Pamela, LaVeta, LaZanna, Dale, Charles Lopes, Anthony Lopes and Karen Chaneyfield; and, a host of Great Aunts and Uncles, cousins and loving friends.
“…Dreams are hopeless aspirations in hopes of comin’ true. Believe in yourself. The rest is up to me and you.“
– Waterfalls (Lisa Lopes)