January 10, 2013
By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr. Associated Press
For TLC singer T-Boz, it has been a rocky road since the 2002 death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.
She has faced foreclosure, filed twice for bankruptcy and dealt with an abusive marriage that ended in divorce. The 42-year-old has also experienced life-threatening health issues that derailed her singing career.
She’s hoping her struggles — and getting past them — will connect with audiences through her new reality show, “Totally T-Boz,” an hour-long, four-episode series on TLC. The show debuted last week and airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. Eastern).
“This is a real story about a real girl who did real things,” said T-Boz, who was born Tionne Watkins. “This is a show of substance (and) shares more about me that many didn’t know about.”
Along with Left Eye and Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas, TLC released back-to-back hits, including “Creep,” “Waterfalls” and “No Scrubs.” Their Grammy-winning sophomore album, “CrazySexyCool,” sold more than 10 million units.
But since Left Eye’s death, TLC’s music career has fallen off-track. A new member was to be brought on to replace Left Eye, but it didn’t happen.
T-Boz, who has moved from her hometown of Atlanta to Los Angeles, dealt with a brain tumor in 2006, and the surgery left her with partial hearing and sight. She said it took three years of physical therapy to recover, and now she’s hoping to relaunch her music career as a solo artist and tour for TLC’s 20th anniversary.
“I superseded a lot of things. I was told I wouldn’t live past 30,” said T-Boz, who also has chronic sickle cell anemia. “The realistic thing is that I have a child to live here for, and if I was dead, I couldn’t do it.”
T-Boz says she doesn’t want to overwork herself at the expense of her health. She said she’ll take a step back and focus more as a writer and producer if necessary.
“I've never been camera-happy, so I don't mind being behind the scenes,” she said. “Honestly, those are the people who aren’t killing themselves to get a paycheck. ... I don’t want to be 55 years old in a smoky club, singing my old songs. No way, honey.”