In June, the R&B/pop duo TLC released their fifth studio album — and first recording in 15 years.
"TLC" is also their final album, says Tionnem "T-Boz" Watkins.
“I mean, it’s time," Watkins said from Las Vegas, where she and TLC partner Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas were headlining the "I Love the 90s — The Party Continues" tour that pulls into the AVA at Casino del Sol on Sunday, July 23. "We have a catalog of music so we can do residencies and stuff like that. It doesn’t mean it’s the end of TLC, but as far as a studio album, yeah, I believe so.”
The album comes as TLC marks its 25th anniversary, a landmark many skeptics had wondered if they would make after bandmate Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes died in a 2002 car accident in Honduras. But Watkins and Thomas, who had been together with Lopes since forming in 1992, carried on, finishing the group's fourth studio album "3D," which they had started working on while Lopes was still a live. The record came out in late 2002.
Watkins and Thomas financed their eponymous fifth album through an enormously successful 2015 Kickstarter campaign. Initially, the pair set out to raise $150,000; they ended up bringing in $430,255 including donations from Katy Perry, New Kids on the Block, Russell Simmons, Soulja Boy and Bette Midler, according to published reports.
"I'm happy" with the album, Watkins said, "but I wish I could have added more.”
Watkins said TLC has been in talks about doing residencies in Vegas, which is convenient to her LA homebase. But so far nothing has been finalized.
“People are calling us but everything happens when it’s supposed to," she said. "I don’t put a time on anything, not in this industry. You get your feelings hurt if you do.”
Tucson is the eighth stop on the “I Love the ‘90s — The Party Continues” tour, which runs through mid-September. TLC is the headliner spot, which means they get more time to put on a full-fledged TLC show.
“Full energy, full band, full production," Watkins said. "Lights, the full throttle, so it’s been really fun. We’re an energetic show.”
A signature of their show revolves around their often provocative, always energetic dance moves.
“That’s never going to stop. Until I’m decrepit and can’t walk no more, I will always dance, OK?" Watkins joked. "That is it. I’ll be in there bumping and chill my energy all the time.”
At Sunday's show, expect to hear TLC's biggest hits including “Scrubs,” “Waterfalls,” “Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg,” “Unpretty” and “Creep.”
As Watkins her favorite TLC song to perform live, and she will tell you she has none and all of them.
“I just like being up there," she said. "Just let me loose and it’s on and poppin’. I love it."