TLC members Chilli “Rozonda” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins are thankful and humbled their Kickstarter campaign to fund the recording of their fifth album surpassed its $150,000 goal in just four days.
"We feel highly favored and blessed and loved," Chilli tells Yahoo Music about the crowd-sourcing initiative that launched Monday. "It makes us feel good that these people can believe in us and know that this can happen."
As of Thursday afternoon, the effort had topped $180,000, $30,000 above the goal. Fans can continue to make pledges for the next 27 days.
It is one of Kickstarter’s most successful music campaigns. “TLC’s success on Kickstarter is a measure of the heart they’ve put into it — the outpouring of love for their fans is incredible, the rewards are meaningful, and the behind the scenes updates are compelling,” company spokesman Justin Kazmark said in a statement to Yahoo Music. “In just four days, their project’s become one of the most funded and anticipated music projects on Kickstarter to date.”
When checking their Kickstarter page, TLC discovered that Katy Perry made a $5,000 pledge. They weren’t sure if the generous support was from the “Firework” singer, but Kickstarer confirmed that “this is really the real Katy Perry,” says T-Boz. She compared the love to one of their great unimaginable career highlights like playing with Prince or Michael Jackson. “I’m a fan of her writing and her music,” T-Boz continues, “and you do a campaign like this, so it’s just heart warming to know that you are supported by your peers.” They are equally happy that New Kids on the Block, who TLC will tour with this spring, pledged $20,000.
TLC admits being a little nervous about using a crowd sourcing strategy to finance the album. “We knew that there was going to be haters so we weren’t stressing ourselves about that crew,” Chilli explains. “But once everybody listened to why we are doing this our fans knew it was right up our alley.”
TLC’s decision to explore this route was about working with fans not about shunning record labels, explains Chilli. “We don’t want this whole project to be about us trying to get away from record labels,” she says. “It had everything to do with our fans asking us for new music, sending in ideas as far as names of albums, visuals, stuff for albums. They’re so creative. We felt Kickstarter was the perfect platform for us to include our fans like that.”
Though TLC recorded new songs over the last few years, they are planning to start from scratch. “We are actually going to go back in the studio,” T-Boz says. “We are putting together a team of producers, so we are starting off fresh, not to say that we aren’t going to use some of the songs that we did before.”
So far, their wish list includes Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Adam Levine, and Katy Perry. “We love all of them and their songs are creative and powerful and they have lyrical content and substance,” T-Boz says. “I’m going to put that in the universe.”
On their Kickstarter page, they mentioned their desire to again work with Kandi Burruss, the Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member who co-wrote their song “No Scrubs.” Burruss says she is game, telling Yahoo Music, “I definitely love TLC, and anytime I can have the opportunity to work with them, I’m there.”
The group is exploring ways to incorporate Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, who was killed in a car accident in Honduras in 2002. “All the unreleased stuff that we were able to get our hands on we used for the last album,” Chilli says. “What she was doing with her solo album was different than what she was bringing to the table for TLC. We have an amazing legendary producer who has kinda been talking to Tionne about some ideas. We’re open. We are trying our best to figure it out. If it feels forced, we’re not going to do it because the fans will not like that. Either way, when the new music comes out, music videos, we always pay tribute to Lisa and the fact that we will never let anybody in this group is also paying homage to her.”
Even though the forthcoming album will be the final TLC album, the group is not planning to retire. “We don’t want people to think TLC is over because we said final album,” T-Boz says. “We have such an amazing catalog and history that we made for years and decades that hopefully we can go on and do a residency in Las Vegas. We’re not done.”
And even though they have surpassed their Kickstarter goal, they will accept Kickstarter pledges until February 19. Expect them to add more incentives throughout the month.