Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes was just 19 years old when she went to an open casting call for an all-female R&B/hip-hop trio.
It was 1990 and she’d just moved to Atlanta, Georgia from her native Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with little more than a small keyboard and $750 to her name, as reported by CapitalXtra.
Before long, the talented rapper and singer had joined Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas to form TLC.
Right from the start Lopes was by far the most flamboyant member of the group, with her neon hats worn backwards and her baggy parachute pants.
She emphasised her nickname 'Left Eye' (given to her by a previous boyfriend who noticed her left eye was larger than her right) by wearing a pair of glasses with the right lens covered by a condom – from early in her career Lopes outwardly promoted safe sex and female empowerment.
TLC enjoyed a series of smash hits, including Waterfalls, No Scrubs, and Unpretty.
But amid the success, Lopes courted controversy.
She was often vocal about her personal life and her difficult upbringing. According to the Telegraph, she was raised by an abusive, alcoholic father and later would speak of her own drinking problem.
In March 1993, she began dating NFL Atlanta Falcons player Andre Rison, but their relationship was stormy. Six months in, as reported by People, the couple argued in a grocery store carpark. Rison allegedly assaulted Lopes then fired his gun to warn passers-by not to intervene. He was arrested but the charges were dropped.