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(Reuters) - More than 25 years after R&B girl group TLC formed in Atlanta and went on to become one of the most successful pop acts of the 1990s, the two remaining members of the band are closing the book on their music with their final album.
TLC's self-titled album, which will be released on Friday, is the group's first studio album in 15 years and the first without band member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who died in a car crash in Honduras in 2002 and was last featured on TLC's "3D" album released that year.
Surviving members Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas turned to the Kickstarter funding website in 2015 to get backing for the new album, billing it as their final one. They raised nearly three times their goal of $150,000.
"The way the record deals are now ... we're not interested in anything like that," Thomas said.
"When Bill (Diggins, TLC's manager) told us about Kickstarter and we could involve our fans and all that kind of stuff that, you know, we did. That was the right way and that made the timing right."
Thomas, Watkins and Lopes collaborated on 1990s hits such as "No Scrubs," "Unpretty" and "Waterfalls." Lopes is included on the new album through soundbites of an old interview, Watkins said.
"It's the essence of what you remember her for, that loud spunky voice," Watkins said. "Her talking about what we thought in an interview about like, 'They say we weren't going to sell no albums, wait a minute, what you mean we ain't going to sell no albums.' So you know, it's like what you loved her for."
While TLC will no longer make albums, Watkins said she and Thomas are leaving the door open to other ways of collaborating and keeping TLC's legacy alive.
"If we do a residency in Vegas that would be awesome. And you never know, we might do movies and other things," Watkins said.
Reporting by Alicia Powell; Writing by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bill Trott