Destiny's Child's choice to work on solo projects by no means spells the end of girl groups; it's only the beginning.
In the next few months there'll be a bevy of releases by "girls, girls, girls," but will the fans adore them like they do DC3, TLC and the newly reunited SWV? It's too early to call. No one act has broken from the pack, which includes neo soul sisters, a trio who shun wearing high heels in favor of Timberlands and a foursome who loves to play like the boys (and play with the boys).
Aside from the aspiration to climb their way to the top, the one thing all the lovely ladies have in common is that they all claim to be different. (We'll see.) Deciphering one act from another may be a little difficult at first, so here is your guide to who's out there and what's to come. (Click for photos of the new R&B girl groups.)
- Names: Quierra, Ardena, LeTiecia, Lamyia
- Hometown: Los Angeles, California
- Album: The Way We Do (due September 24)
- Singles: "Day & Night" featuring Jadakiss, "Single for the Rest of My Life."
- The 411: "We're positive young females going out there and learning every day," said Ardena of Isyss, the Intelligent Sexy Young Soul Sistas who introduced themselves to the world on their dance floor shaker "Day & Night."
With all the ladies still in their teens, it may be a little premature to talk about never finding Mr. Right again as they complain on "Single for the Rest of My Life" — they may recant their ideas later.
"Sometimes we go through our emotional changes. We can be one way one day and completely different the next," Ardena said of how her girls are reflected on their LP. "The album doesn't have one exact direction except the embodiment of our personalities and the things that we go through. Really, it's just a variety of music. We even have a rock song on there."
- Names: Ambee, Davida, Ashley, Keisha
- Hometowns: Haynes City, Florida, and Los Angeles, California
- Album: TG4 (due September 24)
- Single: "Virginity"
- The 411: "It's been fun," Davida said of being the first act to perform every night on the Scream 2 Tour. "People think it would be hard because we're the only girls opening up for a bunch of boys, and at first it's difficult, but crowds are starting to warm up to us and like us. It's getting a lot better."
The teenagers are comfortable stomping across the country with B2K and IMX, the boys in their musical clique (see "Bow Wow, B2K, IMX Rile Up Girls Of Memphis At Scream 2 Tour"). They've been playing with boys all their lives.
"TG4 stands for Tom Girl 4," Ambee explained. "We dress like boys, we dance like boys — that's just our style and our image."
And they make out with boys, as told on their first single, "Virginity." That's as far as it goes, says the funky foursome. "We're just trying to tell girls that you don't have to do anything you feel pressured to do," Davida explained. "What it all comes down to is that the decision is up to you, no matter what it is. Not only girls, too. Maybe guys feel that there are some things they feel pressured about. It's up to you whether you want to do something or not."
And as much as they embrace being role models, they are hoping to follow in the footsteps of their "brothers" B2K and go to the top of the charts. They start filming the video for their second single, "Can't Trust a Friend," in the next few weeks.
- Names: Chinky, Kienji, Serenade, Buttah
- Hometowns: Baltimore, Maryland; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles, California
- Album: Lovher (due September 24)
- Singles: "How It's Gonna Be" and "Girlfriend."
- The 411: Even though their debut is still a few weeks from dropping, Lovher can boast that they've already been on quadruple platinum LP.
Brought together by Sisqó three years ago, the foursome had a chance to shine on his solo blockbuster, Unleash the Dragon, and its follow-up, Return of Dragon.
Still rolling tight with Sisqó and their Def Soul-mates Dru Hill and 3rd Storee, the ladies have stepped out with a debut that they promise will fully display their "full and wholesome" sound.
" 'Girlfriend' is sort of like a female anthem," Chinky said of their new single. "[It tells you to] love yourself. It's about a particular female, and it's like, 'Hey, you my sister, and I don't want to see you go through that.' "
"Most of our songs are about stuff one of us has gone through," Buttah chimed in, "or we know somebody that's going through it."
- Names: Sunni, Linz and Cookie
- Hometowns: New Orleans, Louisiana, and Queens, New York
- Album: Xclusive (out now)
- Single: "Xclusive" featuring the LOX
- The 411: "We were chilling in a session one night recording a song called 'Sanity,' " Cookie recalled of how Hersanity found their moniker. "We thought it was so hot because it fit our personality, because we're crazy — don't get it twisted.
"Just 'Sanity' by itself wasn't enough," she continued. "We had to put 'Her' in it to deepen the meaning, represent the women and the things we go through."
Cookie, her fellow Creole cousin Sunni and their homegirl Linz got the jump on all the other new crooning chicks — they released their debut in June. Make no mistake, although they insist they haven't come across any cattiness, they want to solidify themselves at the top.
"Even if there was [no other new girl groups] out right now, [the success] would be with Destiny's Child, because they were the last ones out and they did a good job," Sunni said.
"They made it hard for girls coming out," Cookie added. "Everybody that's coming out always gets compared to Destiny's Child."
- Names: Thema, Fendi, Jackie
- Hometowns: Los Angeles, California; Detroit, Michigan, and Brooklyn, New York
- Album: Lyric (due November 5)
- Single: "Young & Sexy" featuring Loon
- The 411: Fendi takes her squad's name to heart. Before the trio even formed, she was penning words to songs for Boyz II Men and Hersanity. Now that she's rolling with her own group, the Brooklyn native has devoted her pen to devising girl anthems that guys would sing along to (give or take few words).
The trio, who were signed to J Records after auditioning for Clive Davis last year, ooze female machismo over a batch of bass-blanketed beats (see "You Hear It First: Lyric"). They fantasize about creeping with their dream thug on "Young & Sexy" and "Episode" and tell the ill effects of a clingy lover on "One Nite Stand." ("Sex is my intention/ Relations please to mention/ Satisfy with quick dismissin'/ ... In other words, there'll be no kissin' ").
"As you can see, we're kinda sexy, but cool at the same time," Thema said of her and her girls. "We're not in heels and we don't wear anything like that. We're just very street-oriented.
"I think we will definitely be a breath of fresh air for people, because we're trying to come different than all the other groups; our clothing, our whole style, everything. We're just trying to fill that void that the SWVs or TLCs [have left]."
- Names: Marsha Ambrosius and Natalie Stewart
- Hometown: London, England
- Album: Floetic (due October 1)
- Single: "Floetic"
- The 411: It's not complicated how these U.K. ladies got their group name: They've simply been receiving kudos for how they deliver their poetic words. While Marsha sings and Natalie rhymes, it's their pens that pen which have the industry buzzing.
Glenn Lewis, Jill Scott, Bilal, and most prominently Michael Jackson (with "Butterflies") have breathed life into words written by the pair, but they're most passionate about being artists themselves (see "Floetry Bring U.K. Vibe To Philly Soul Movement").
"We want to promote love and get rid of this lust that's being promoted as love," Natalie said. "We like to get honest and naked on the record and we like to truthfully show how the stuff feels. It's like therapy for ourselves."
The ladies, who are down with DJ Jazzy Jeff's Touch of Jazz camp, will have plenty of time for healing this fall when they open up on the India.Arie tour along with Slum Village and K-OS (see "India.Arie Taking Slum Village On Tour").
- Names: Ayana, Ayinke
- Hometowns: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Album: Always Remember (due February 2003)
- Single: "Stranger to Lovers" (due in October)
- The 411: These siblings are proving patience is a virtue. As the first act off the Mama's Boys imprint, the Philly sisters have been waiting a couple of years to put out an album. They've kept very busy touring and singing on platinum LPs in the meantime.
Like Lovher, Aaries have had the opportunity to be heard by the masses via a Def Soul homie, this time Musiq. You'll probably remember Ayana as the love interest in Musiq's hit "Girl Next Door." Musiq first started crafting his chops a few years ago after he was discovered singing vocals on an Aaries song in Philly.
"He's like our brother," Ayinke said. "His success is no surprise to us. We always knew he would be on top. We could see it from way back."
Working with the Touch of Jazz camp on their debut, Aaries are hoping to continue in the success of the Mama's Boys clique, which includes Musiq.
"Super soulful," Ayana describes of the things to come from the project. "We're gonna give you that back-in-the-day feel-good music."