By Jon Wiederhorn
Lady Gaga and veteran producer Dallas Austin have written a song together for an as-yet-untitled TLC compilation record, which is scheduled to come out Oct. 15.
The track, "Posh Life," will be one of two new numbers written for the album. The other is "Meant to Be," by Ne-Yo.
The working demo for "Posh Life" starts with a simple piano line and features Gaga's low, sultry vocals, accompanied by a syncopated backbeat. At the chorus, there are synth strings that would sound majestic performed by an orchestra, as well as hook-laden vocals that beg for accompanying gospel harmonies.
More than 11 years after the tragic death of TLC member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, TLC are ramping up for a return to the music scene, and the new songs are meant to compliment their treasure trove of hit singles, including "Waterfalls," "No Scrubs" and "Get It Up."
Singers Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas announced their comeback July 25 at a news conference in New York, revealing they've re-signed with their old guru, L.A. Reid, at Epic/LaFace Records. And, TLC have reached out to various collaborators, including Drake and J. Cole — the latter of whom invited T-Boz and Chilli to appear on his current single "Crooked Smile."
"Not one artist has said no, and that's amazing and a blessing," T-Boz told Billboard. "You know, we've been gone for a minute. But to see everyone coming to us like, 'Yo! We heard y'all working, I gotta be down!' That’s amazing."
In addition to releasing the first new TLC music since 2002's 3D, the ladies are planning a full tour that will feature special guest Lil Mama filling in for Lopes.
Lil Mama will also star in the VH1 premiere of "CrazySexy Cool: The TLC Story," a biopic written by Kate Lanier (What's Love Got to Do With It) and directed by Charles Stone III (Drumline). The film was executive produced by T-Boz and Chilli.
Keke Palmer (True Jackson) and Drew Sidora (Step Up) will play Chilli and T-Boz, respectively. Lil Mama told Billboard she's touched to play Lopes.
"Every time I think of Lisa, I think of an old woman; a grandmother who passes on and leaves a jewelry box of things she collected," Lil Mama noted. "The family probably fights about it, probably says don't touch it. I feel like that with Lisa's career. She left behind a legacy in her music and her style that people feel like, 'Don’t touch that.' And it's an honor to be chosen by her sisters — to say, 'Hey, you got it, don't worry about what nobody else says. Make us proud.'"
T-Boz and Chilli were so impressed by Lil Mama's performance that they invited her to sing with them July 27 at the Mixtape Festival in Hershey, Penn. and they've worked with her on some new ideas.
Still, T-Boz points out that from this moment on, TLC are a duo: "No one [else] will ever be a member in this group. Ever."