Back in the 1990s when TLC’s songs were topping the charts and the trio’s videos were in heavy rotation on MTV, no one was thinking about the group’s legacy. Everyone was too busy dancing and singing along to “No Scrubs,” “Waterfalls,” “Creep” and “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg.”
As it turns out, TLC is one of the greatest and most influential girl groups of all time in any genre, selling more than 65 million records worldwide. Their musical equation was upbeat and sexy and infused hip-hop with pop and R&B in standard-setting style. Although the group’s success was cut short when Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was killed in a car accident in 2002, singers Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas eventually soldiered on, releasing TLC’s final studio album last year and touring steadily as a duo in recent years.
Their current trek takes them to the Red Rock Resort this weekend for a poolside show. I caught up with Chilli to talk about all things TLC, a possible return to Las Vegas and her favorite TV show.
You’re playing with SWV, another great girl group with a ton of hits. Are you an SWV fan? I’m a fan of all girls, it doesn’t matter who they are. I like them, I like En Vogue, the Dixie Chicks, the Spice Girls, anybody out there doing it, I love them.
TLC has played a few different 1990s-themed tours with various other artists. What’s that experience like, and do you enjoy those kinds of shows or do you prefer straight-up TLC shows? Yeah, we’ve done that the last tour, and we did it with New Kids on the Block [before that]. It really depends. Festivals are a lot of fun but a lot of times when you have so many people sharing the stage, it’s a long time for the audience to be outside. It can be exhausting [for the audience] and for us. I guess I prefer when we’re on tour with just a couple acts. I always feel connected to our fans no matter who else is on tour with us, but [festivals] put a little more between us. But we just played [Soundtrack Music Festival] in Canada and the Goo Goo Dolls were there and all these rock bands and it was awesome. I just love being on that stage. We both love it. We’re just happy to do what we love to do.
What are your personal favorite TLC songs to perform live these days? I’ve always been this way but I love all the uptempos. I’m not really a ballad type of person, even though I can do it, it’s my least favorite. I like to sing and move and get it in there so I don’t like slowing down too much. When we slow it down for the ballads, I’m thinking I’ll be glad when this is over. But the audience loves those songs so I’m always giving it 100 percent.
You and T-Boz have said last year’s album will be the last proper TLC record but I’m sure your fans are calling for more new music. Oh yes, we definitely get that. If the right soundtrack comes along or something like that, we’re definitely open to doing new stuff. I think there will be more TLC music in that way but not in the form of an album.
Are you working on any other music or non-music projects right now? We’re working on some things I can’t say, but yes, we are hoping to be on the screen again soon and we’re still hoping for some kind of residency in Las Vegas. We’re in talks, going back and forth. Hopefully it will work out because we would love to be in Vegas and put on an amazing show. Celine Dion has been out there for what, 15 years? That’s awesome. That would be the dream.
You’re heading to San Diego this month for Comic Con, where you’ll be moderating on a panel all about the TV show “Siren.” How did that happen? My mom first told me about it because she knows I like stuff like that, sci-fi stuff. If you get a chance, go and watch it and you’ll get hooked. It’s about these mermaids and they come up on land and it’s so good. When I watch it I tweet about it and I guess some of the cast members and producers were a little shocked and excited that I watched the show and loved it, so we developed a sort of Twitter relationship. They sent me this mermaid fin-tail thingy that I can throw on right before I head to Comic Con. When they reached out, I just couldn’t say no. But I am touring so I’ll be jumping on a plane real quick after that to head out to the next show. But I’m really excited and I can’t wait to meet the cast.
Maybe you can try out the mermaid tail at the pool at Red Rock. Maybe I can! It’s the real deal, not one of those things you get at Party City. It comes with instructions so you know it’s serious. I need to read those.
TLC performs with SWV at 6 p.m. July 14 at the Sandbar Pool Stage at Red Rock Resort (11011 W. Charleston Blvd., 702-797-7777) and more info can be found at stationcasinoslive.com.