Girls’ groups are known to swap members, especially when trying to craft their look and sound early in their music careers. 3LW famously switched members at the peak of their careers, when Naturi Naughton left the group amid allegations that she was assaulted by Kylie Williams. But long before Naughton and even Williams became part of the group, Williams says that early members included future Grammy-winner Alicia Keys and current queen sugar Star Bianca Lawson.
Kelly Williams Shares Alicia Keys and Bianca Lawson 3LW. was an original member of
The concept of 3LW was a product of the women of William’s family.
“My mom and my aunt had been trying to do a girl group with girls of color for years,” Williams explained during an interview with Soul Train. “The first iteration of little ladies, not 3LW, was my big sister Victoria, Alicia Keys, Bianca Lawson in the early 90s. So it went on and they’d been trying to get this group together for so many years because They were very passionate about it and they really thought that there was not just a window into the market, but there was a need.
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Keys previously spoke about his brief time in the group. Pop Crush reported on Keys talking about her past experiences with girl groups.
“My first band I was in was my four house girls from my neighborhood. I don’t think we’ve gotten to where we were named,” she said. “My second band I was in was one of these projects. There was the kind that was put together by people, and they heard I sang and they were like ‘Oh, maybe you can be a part of it.’ It didn’t work with me, but eventually, they came out. I think her name was Little Woman, but I was never a part of her. I went ahead and they moved on, it didn’t work for me. “
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Williams reluctantly joined the group at the behest of her mother and aunt as the two women never lost sight of her.
“When I got to like 12, 13, they were like, ‘Okay, you’re fine. Do you want to do this?’ I was like, ‘Well I can’t sing, but here’s what I can do’ [dance].’ We ended up finding Adrienne first and then we had an original member, her name was Candace. She ended up leaving, she was born Christian again and realized that the musical direction was a little too risky. So we auditioned again and found Naturi. And that’s how we all came together.”
As for why the new group worked, Williams says they all contributed something different. “We had made our deal before we met Naturi, but when we met her we thought she was such a good fit — she personally represented everything that Adrienne and I didn’t. I was a Valley Girl to talk to.” I’m a black girl.”
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In the midst of Naughton’s exit, another member joined briefly. But eventually she too left. Williams and Bailon were involved in Disney’s The Cheetah Girls for several years, before Williams said Bailon opted for a solo career.
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Unfortunately, their friendship did not last. Williams says that the bad blood still remains and she is unwilling to reconcile with Bailon nor Naughton.