Ever since the tragic and untimely loss of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes eleven years ago, the music industry — including her groupmates Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins — has been reeling. Her death understandably left the R&B band in a tailspin, with Thomas and Watkins unsure how to move forward without her. Now, after more than a decade without a performance or new single, our favorite '90s girl band is officially back with a vengeance, set to release a brand new album and a biopic. They announced the news at a press conference this morning, setting off a fury of excitement.
The as yet untitled album will include both new songs and classic hits (hello, "No Scrubs!") — although, of course, the newly produced songs will lack the vocal stylings of the late Lopes. While it may have taken years for the group to come to terms with their new identity, they insist that their resurgence as only a twosome is something to be celebrated, not mourned. "I think everything happens for a reason, at whatever time it's supposed to," said Watkins. "We said, 'Hey we're still here, we're still breathing, and Lisa's spirit will always be with us and with the history of the music we made together,' so why not?"
While Chilli and T-Boz may be keeping mum on exact details of the upcoming album (besides its release date: October 15), they did dish on some exciting collaborations they have in the works — think Ne-Yo, Lady Gaga, and J. Cole. If you're still as curious as we are, they'll be offering up a sneak peek of their newly revamped musical stylings at this weekend's Mixtape Festival. If their preparation and training is any indication, the audience can expect a full lineup of classic TLC-style dance moves. "We’re in rehearsals, working really, really hard, and we’re so excited to hit that stage with high energy," said Watkins. "Our booties are sore, sore, sore from all the dancing." The performance will even include a special guest spot from Lil' Mama (of "Lip Gloss Is Poppin'" fame), who portrayed Left Eye in the upcoming biopic.
The flick, titled CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, will premiere on VH1 on October 21st. Both T-Boz and Chilli worked as executive producers on the project to ensure that the young actresses were able to embody that almost inimitable TLC swag, and to keep the story of the young singers as real as possible. Expect to see plenty of drama, but viewers will also be treated to an inside look at their groundbreaking work to spread a message along with their music — a goal that's still intact today. The entertainment world may be much more sexually liberated than it was when the ladies first hit the stage, but they're still out to spread the good word. "There's always a message that needs to be told," said Watkins. "Especially these days with all the nakedness and things that are going on that they're trying to make cool. We're still literal proof that you can be the biggest-selling girl group with your clothes on."
For more TLC realness, check out the teaser clip below. Now, if you'll excuse us, we're off to shamelessly blast "Waterfalls" on full volume.
Photo/Video: Courtesy of VH1