Lisa Nicole Lopes (stage name "Left Eye") (May 27, 1971 – April
25, 2002) was a member of the popular R&B group TLC. In addition
to hit songs like "Waterfalls" with TLC, Lopes also did some
solo performing. She was often thought of as the creative talent behind
TLC who, though she sang infrequently, contributed her own, self-written
raps to many of TLC's popular singles, including "Waterfalls" and "No
Scrubs". Lopes was also a self-taught keyboardist and, by way
of a Beethoven piano piece, displayed those talents during her solo
spot on TLC's headlining concert performances (immortalized in a pay-per-view
broadcast of TLC's FanMail tour in the spring of 2000).
After TLC's third album, Fanmail (1999), Lopes in 2000 became a featured
rapper on several singles by other musicians, including former Spice
Girl Melanie C's "Never Be The Same Again", which went to
#1 in the UK charts and Donell Jones' debut single, "U Know What's
Up". She also sang "Space Cowboy" with *NSYNC, a song
from their 2000 album No Strings Attached.
Lopes was also the host of the short-lived MTV series, The Cut, a
precursor to American Idol in which a handful of would-be pop stars,
rappers, and rock bands competed against each other and were judged.
The show's final winner, which ended up being a male-female rap duo,
was promised a record deal and MTV's funding to produce a music video,
which would enter MTV's heavy rotation. A then-unknown Anastacia finished
in third place, but so impressed Lopes and the show's three judges
that she scored herself a record deal anyway.
Lopes discovered the group Blaque and helped them obtain a record
deal with Columbia Records. Their self-titled debut album was executive-produced
by Lopes, who also made a cameo appearance on the album.
Lopes spent much of her free time after the conclusion of TLC's first
headling tour behind Fanmail recording her first solo album, Supernova.
Amongst the album's 12 tracks was a posthumous duet with Tupac Shakur
that was assembled from the large cache of unreleased recordings done
prior to his murder in 1996. (Lopes also participated in a second posthumous
duet with Tupac on one of the many CDs compiled by his estate and released
since his death.) Initially scheduled for release on a date to coincide
with the 10th anniversary of her father's passing, Supernova was then
delayed for two months before her American label chose to shelve the
project. The album was released outside of the United States, and hardcore
American TLC fans caused a demand for import copies of the album from
the UK and Japan. Lopes then severed her solo deal with Arista (she
remained contracted with the label as a member of TLC) and signed with
Tha Row Records (the former Death Row label), intending to record a
second solo album under the pseudonym N.I.N.A.
Lopes was often plagued with controversy due to a rumored temper.
She was arrested when she burned down the home of her boyfriend, former
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Andre Rison, in the early 1990s.
Lopes had already started work on both her second solo album and on
songs for the fourth TLC album, 3D, when she died in a car crash in
Honduras in April 2002. She had been there doing missionary work, which
was something she had a passion for. It is said by those close to her
that she had been undertaking a spiritual epiphany and had recently
ended a month long fast prior to her death. Her funeral was held at
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia. Lopes was
interred at Hillandale Cemetery, also in Lithonia.
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