Twenty years ago, Tionne Watkins, Lisa Lopes and Rozonda Thomas came together for the first time to sing and dance for music executives in the hopes of landing a spot in a singing group.
Those three women — T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli — are now better known as TLC, one of the best-selling female groups of all time. It was clear to see early on that the members of TLC were not interested in competing with your average girl group.
"The funny thing is, we used to look at men as our competition, not women," T-Boz says. "Men can go out there and pump and 'Ooh, yeah!' and girls will fall out and everything. Honestly, the easy way out is to take off your clothes and sell sex. But we have proven and become the biggest American group with our clothes on. So, that says a lot."
As the group members' careers progressed, they also made headlines for some of the wrong reasons: their highly-publicized bankruptcy, and the day Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes torched a bathtub full of her boyfriend's shoes in a jealous rage, consequently burning down his house. And then there was Lopes' fatal car accident a few years later.
The group's career will be revisited in CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, a biopic set to premiere Monday night. Surviving members T-Boz and Chilli spoke with NPR's David Greene; hear more of their conversation at the audio link.