By Ralphie Aversa | For Weekender

Ralphie Report: TLC tours with En Vogue, promotes new album

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    The final album from super-group TLC is closer to seeing the light of day, but after an impressive Kickstarter campaign that drummed up more than $400,000 for the project, there are still a few things to complete before it will reach their fervent fans.

    “We have about 14 songs but we want to narrow it down; we really just want a good 10,” Chilli told me recently when she called in to my radio show to promote the group’s upcoming tour with En Vogue. “We feel like we have a lot of great stuff but we have to narrow it down, we have to get the songs mixed.”

    More so than that though, TLC is actively seeking a deal with another entity to distribute and promote the album.

    “We’re just making sure that we’re connected with the right people once we put it out and it’s pushed properly because obviously we want a success,” she explained. “The fact that we did the album the way that we did it, we own everything. A deal would be totally on our terms and fair. We won’t be in a bad situation like we’ve been in the past.”

    Chilli, nee Rozonda Thomas, specifically mentioned the idea of songs being sent to radio. But the singer sounds like she would rather wait for the right deal than rush in to the wrong one.

    “It’s cool that we’re able to walk in (to a record label) and say, ‘Here’s the record,’” she said. “And we’re only going to do a deal with someone who falls totally in love with the music.”

    The artist cautioned against the group signing with a label based solely on its history, which of course is prolific in its own right. TLC has sold 71 million records globally and scored five Grammy Awards. But the trio hasn’t released an album since “3D,” which came out in 2002, six months after the death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. Chilli, along with Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, initially planned to retire as a group before proceeding on as a duo.

    And then in October of 2013 VH1 released the movie, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story.” The film garnered a five-year ratings high for the network. The following month, TLC charted three albums on the Billboard 200.

    “We got a whole new audience, a whole new generation,” Chilli noted of the movie’s effect on TLC. “We were always, totally and still to this day just being ourselves, and just didn’t know that being ourselves was going to touch so many people in so many different ways.”

    But as Chilli learned during TLC’s most recent tours, there is one downside to the younger addition on the group’s fan base.

    “When it’s time to perform ‘Red Light Special,’ I can’t look at the kids!” she admitted. “I can’t make eye contact because I can’t do my moves right!”

    It’s certainly not a terrible problem to have, as surely some of those kids comprised the 4,000 people who backed TLC’s Kickstarter campaign, thus making this final album a reality.

    By Ralphie Aversa | For Weekender

    Listen to “Ralphie Tonight” weeknights from 7 p.m. to midnight on 97 BHT.

    Listen to “Ralphie Tonight” weeknights from 7 p.m. to midnight on 97 BHT.