Hip Hop and R&B are alive and well across the pond in the UK. I think London is producing some incredible talent that could easily crossover in the states because the music is so universal now. I’ve come across 3 cool, sexy, hip hop girls that I would go as far as to dub them the UK version of TLC and they go by the name of TOMMI. Now I know that is saying a lot, but when you listen to these young ladies, you can’t help but draw the comparison. And let me say that they are NOT carbon copies by no means at all. They do have their very own sound and style that makes their music different and fresh just as TLC did when they arrive on the scene. Their songs are catchy and their flow is tight. And they are not just some pretty faces as they are all very established business women. You don’t have to be from the US to know how to hustle and grind for yours. They have a solid team behind them and it won’t be long before these young ladies are taking the music/media industry by storm. We may be looking at a UK invasion in the near future because this group is the real deal. Just remember where you heard it first.
Welcome ladies and it’s my pleasure to speak with you today. How did the three of you come together to form your group?
(PEEKS) - Our producer BJ, a very talented man, discovered us all in our everyday walks of life! We all had a love for music & performing so I guess u could say fate played its part & brought us all together.
(BAMBI) - Myself and Peeks have been in the group for eight years with other original band members leaving as time went on. Then about four years ago we met Juice at a video shoot and asked her to join the group. She did just that and now we are a happy little family.
(JUICE) - Well even though I have been in the group now for just over 4 years, I’m still the new one lol. After some of the previous girls left, Peeks and Bambi were looking for a replacement member and then they met me at a MO-AM video shoot, the rest as they say is history.
I’d like for each of you to give me your names explain the origin of your nicknames.
(PEEKS) - My name is Catherine Adesegon aka Peeks aka Peekaboo. I got that name because I use to wear hats or baseball caps low everyday! I always & still do when I wear a hat pull it right down so all you can see is me peeking back at you …so that’s how I got the name Peekaboo, not something rude like most guys like to believe! Lol. Sorry guys!
(BAMBI) - My name is Lily Bushe and my nickname was given to me by our manager and the original Tommi members who at the time all thought I looked cute at 15 years old like the dear from the cartoon. (I don’t see it myself lol.)
(JUICE) - Ok mine is Joanne Russel aka Juice. When I first met the girls on a video shoot, apparently the girls over heard a group of guys saying I was juicy, so that name just stuck.
Who came up with the group name and what is the meaning behind it?
(BAMBI) - Our manager came up with the name as we were all tomboys when we first joined thus the name Tommi. F.A.T. came about because our friend Flick joined our group and we created the name change Fresh As Tommi. She left to follow her solo career so now we have just continued with the name.
How long have you all been in the game?
(PEEKS) - We have been in the game now for going on 8 years since just leaving school! Wow time flies, but we’re having a great time & we have so much we want to achieve & try out so you have a lot more of us to see.
(BAMBI) - Oh my days ……It feels like such a long time, I think nearly nine years but still working hard and lovin every minute of it!!
(JUICE) - Peek & Bambi have been in the industry longer than I have, but I have been in the game now just over 4 years.
You are a Hip Hop & R&B group. What is the Hip Hop scene like in the UK?
(PEEKS) - The UK scene is still very much growing, vibrant & evolving. People in the UK very much love the music & we’re starting to see some exciting new talent emerge & break into the mainstream. We are hoping to be up there soon with the best of them.
(BAMBI) - I feel that it has moved on an awful lot. It is more recognized in the mainstream now and underground artists seem to do a lot more festivals and are appreciated by the masses.
(JUICE) - Its growing steadily and gaining support from the mainstream. There’s defiantly not enough support just yet for hip hop acts, but they’ve all got my support 100%.
I’m really feeln’ the flava that you all bring. Do you see yourselves, in a way, as a UK version of the best selling female group in the world TLC?
(PEEKS) – Wow, that’s a huge title & compliment to take on but most defiantly we would love to reach & achieve the success of TLC. They are very much our idols & I loved Left Eye’s flava & style. When they first came out I had the whole baggy jeans, boxers, and vest top lol, good times. We are definitely bringing the whole fun vibe to the industry & we hope people will enjoy what we have to offer as much as I did when I heard TLC.
(BAMBI) - We would definitely like to have the fame and fortune of TLC. We all grew up listening to them copying the dances, singing their songs and its sooo crazy to now be compared to them. It would be an honor to be appreciated as much as they were.
(JUICE) - We get compared to TLC a lot which is nothing but a huge compliment, but I do feel we bring our own flava to the industry without a doubt.
Who are some of the artists that influenced you all the most?
(PEEKS) - I love again TLC, Destiny Child, Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, Biggie, Jay Z and at present Kanye West, Chris Brown, JME Suga babes…gosh too many to mention!
(BAMBI) - I have been influenced by a lot of music that my parents listen to. My mum use to play Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and Marvin Gay whilst my step dad is into the Eagles, Rod Steward and Joe Cocker. I would have to say that my faves are Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans and Jodeci.
(JUICE) - For me it has to be TLC and definitely Beyonce. I’m sure a lot of people say that, but for me, she is an amazing person, performer, businesswoman etc.
There are many up-and-coming female groups fighting for the lime light. What makes TOMMI stand out from the pack?
(PEEKS) - Our musical style, rapping, singing and our whole look and vibe is very different to what any girl groups are doing right now. People tend to say our style is different and fresh hence “Fresh As Tommi” lol. We also have our own unique sound if you hear the beats we perform over. We also act, present and model as well as run personal business roles outside of the group. We are putting our business hats on and covering as many bases as we can.
(BAMBI) - Our attitude, swagger and music give us that different edge. We have also been around for a long time and we continue to change our style of music to stay as fresh and original as possible.
(JUICE) - We are 3 strong-minded businesswomen as well as artists. We bring a funky edge to what we do which we include in our style and fashion. Plus, my girls are too hot to hold as well lol.
You ladies have so much going on I don’t know where to begin. Talk to me about your project entitled F.A.T.
(BAMBI) - It’s a CD we have put together featuring other artists to produce phat tunes to get you hype for a weekend out with your friends.
(JUICE) - Ok well this project is ongoing. We are just in the process of putting the finishing touches to our mix tape album. It’s just something to get the people feeling good about themselves. It’s a feel good project.
The tracks are amazing! Why did you decide to do the project and include a fourth member “Flick” (who’s writing skill was featured in our September issues “Poets Page” section)?
(PEEKS) - We did some work with Flick in the studio and on a few songs, she is also a childhood friend of Bambi, so she would also come to our video shoots and support what we were doing. So we thought lets do a few tracks together so people would also get to hear what Flick had to offer. We put a few tracks & videos together which went down really well. Flick has now gone off on a solo tip which was always going be the case as she is a solo artist in her own right & we wish her success in her singing & writing career.
(BAMBI) - Flick is a good friend of ours; she lived around the corner from me when I was about nine. She always cames to the studio with us and helps us write songs. One day we were in the studio writing and our manager said it would be good idea to do a tune together to promote us all at the same time. We all loved the idea and ended up doing more than one tune together. I love her to bits and her writing skills are fierce!
Your mix tape entitled “The Long Weekend” is HOT! Let the readers know what this CD is all about.
(PEEKS) - Thank you, this is an album fully loaded to see you thru a long weekend! Can you keep up with us three ladies for a whole weekend! Lol. There’s everything you need to first get yourself ready; get all your fly gear on; driving to the club; raving in the club; guys, friends, being misunderstood, relationships, get our drink on , romance etc… its all on there. We can’t wait till people get to hear it.
(BAMBI) - The CD is about everyday things that happen to girls whilst getting ready for a weekend out clubbing and having a laugh. We have also got some tunes about driving as Juice and myself think we are boy racers LOL.
Each of you tell me what your favorite track from the CD is and why.
(PEEKS) - I love the track “Takes Me Away” because it’s a wonderful uplifting track about that place we all think about where you have no worries, stress or fear. It’s just good vibes, happiness & carefree times. You can’t help but feel happy when you hear it…very happy and dancey (is that a word? lol)
(BAMBI) - My favorite is “Green Eyed Monster ” cuz it’s a heavy tune and I love singing it. It is about girls hating on you when your just enjoying life.
(JUICE) - Mine is also “Green Eyed Monster” especially because I use to get stick in school and I had a lot of jealousy around me. It’s a feel good tune and I’m sure you ladies can relate to it.
Your music videos are very well done. How did you hook up with MO-AM Filmz and how was it working with them?
(PEEKS) - Its always 1 big adventure working with MO-AM because they continually push us to grow and evolve. Everyone is so talented, creative and enthusiastic so it’s a joy working with them, were all like one big family! MO-AM grew from our producers vision for us all to branch out into bigger things so it’s not just MO-AM Filmz. It’s a creative studio offering music videos, films, TV shows, animation, 3D, graphics and web design. There are some great things on the way from MO-AM, so keep an eye on that name.
(BAMBI) - We have been signed with MO-AM management from the beginning and when the film side came about we were more than happy. Some of us work on the videos and on TV shows. MO-AM is a family and a great team to be part of.
(JUICE) - It started off as us working with them as a management and music production company, but we all now have our own roles within MO-AM. I for instance, run MO-AM Models and it’s an amazing team and family to be a part of.
Tell me about the promotional TV advertisement that you created for a newly released fragrance.
(PEEKS) - The fragrance brand is called “So Cosmetics” and they first approached us after a gig. They were there doing some promotional stuff and they came up to us & said we would be perfect to endorse their brand because we were relatable to the female market they wanted to target. They got us to do some photo shoots with their perfumes; we recorded a number of tracks with the titles of their perfumes like “So Superstar, So Kiss Me” etc. We also did some promotional gigs and they used our tracks for advertising in which we also featured in for a couple of the adverts. They gave us so many perfumes and cosmetics goodies which made great presents…he he!
Acting is another talent you all posses. What’s the 411 on the film projects you all have appeared in?
(PEEKS) - So far we have acted in 3 short films. “Broken Dolls House”, which is about these flat mates who begin to discover some very dark secrets about each other! Lots of drama, lol. “Losing It”, which is an award winning film. Juice acted as the girlfriend of the main character which slowly loses his mind after losing control over all the bad things that go on in his life. “Communication” is about the break down in communication between the street and the police and how if we speak about things earlier, things like violence & gun crime can be prevented before they get out of control. We are definitely flexing our acting muscles and planning to do many more films in the future.
(BAMBI) - MO-AM films are working closely with Wandsworth Council creating awareness films for the youth in the inner city. There has already been one about gun crime that we were all in and one about drugs. Juice did a great job in that as the druggies girlfriend. The next one I think is about teenage pregnancy which we hope to progress further our acting by appearing in that as well.
(JUICE) - Ok we have been heavily involved in acting in awareness films. I had a lead role in a film called “Losing It” which had a very serious message behind it and also featured in “Communication”. We have a lot more projects coming up and a lot more diverse roles, which we will take on so watch this space.
Is it true that each of you have your own TV projects in the works with SKY TV in the UK?
(PEEKS) – I have done 2 presenting jobs for Sky. I have a show called ‘Unsigned’ about unsigned musicians and artists. Another one I had a year ago was presenting the best of viral video clips from the web. Both are lots of fun, and as well as that I have done many presenting jobs for various events such as comedy, peace concerts, award events etc. that consist of behind the scene action.
(BAMBI) - Yes it is, I produce and present a chat show for a TV network called Cellcast.
(JUICE) – Yes, this is very true but mines a top secret!! I’ve been sworn to secrecy.
I think the cartoon featuring you ladies entitled “Diamond Anglez” is really cute. Who came up with the idea, what is the theme of the show and when will it get released?
(PEEKS) - Diamond Angelz is an actual cartoon series with lots of characters, a whole world and a comic book. There’s much more coming very soon so watch this space http://myspace.com/diamondangelz . The characters were designed by me in collaboration with MO-AM Creative Studios. We also have our alter ego’s in the Diamond Angel world lol. We like to feature the characters in our videos and we have t-shirts so it’s very exciting. You haven’t seen the last of these lil characters…trust me lol.
With everything you all have going on, it’s hard to believe that a major record company has not come knocking on your door. Have you received any offers to date?
(PEEKS) - We have had 3 record deals…Lol! But due to politics, we went on our merry way and we took matters into our own hands as time waits for no man. At the moment, we do have a lot of interest but we will strike when the time is right. It’s all about great timing.
(BAMBI) - We have interest but we are just doing our thang. When the time is right, we will know lol.
(JUICE) - We do have a few things/people in the pipeline but I’m keeping stummm.
Do you have plans on coming to the US to further your careers?
(PEEKS) - Is that an invite?? Lol. Well, we would love to come to the states and anything that can further our careers would definitely be on the cards! We plan on going everywhere we can so I’m gonna say yeeees! I’ll see ya next week lol! Ok on a serious tip, we never rule out anything so we shall see where our music takes us, but I know we would all love to be there because there is such a great market for our music there. Also some of the interest that we do have is coming from the states, so let’s hope its sooner rather than later! We’ll see ya out there!
(BAMBI) - Yes we do have plans. It has worked for a lot of artists, but we’ll have to see how it goes.
(JUICE) - Why yes we do. The plans are already in progress so you may see us sooner then you think.
What else can we look forward to from TOMMI in 2008 and beyond?
(PEEKS) – Gosh, we have so many things on the cards. We are all gonna be doing more acting, presenting and lots of great music and most important is performances and touring. You haven’t even begun to see what we got coming! Oh yes… stay tuned!!
(BAMBI) – Well, we have film work as well as the new tunes we’re recording in studio at the moment and all the time still presenting and modeling and our tour plans… Big, big, big!
(JUICE) - A lot more acting and presenting defiantly. Watch this space for our new photo shoots and videos and tour dates. MO-AM is the future!
How can fans and industry insiders contact you and sample your music?
(PEEKS) - You can get to see what we’re up to; get the latest gossip, news, pictures and videos etc. on our http://myspace.com/fatdivas and http://www.youtube.com/moamfilmz . The all new soon to be developed website from MO-AM can be found at www.mo-am.com . Look forward to seeing you there.
In closing, I’d like to get final words from each of you.
(PEEKS) - We’ve been blessed to come this far, still enjoy each other, the music, what we stand for and have the support and belief of those around us and most important MO-AM. We have so many great things in the pipeline and we really look forward to the day we get to show everyone what we have to offer. So stick around, it’s gonna get real interesting! And to other people, don’t put a time limit on your dreams, chase them diligently. Nuff love to all! Peeks x
(BAMBI) - Well thank you very much for taking the time out to interview us and to up-and- coming artist reading this, “keep on doing your thing and never stop!” You have tests in life that you must overcome, but in time, you will be rewarded for the work you put in. Spread love…not bullshit”. xXx Bambi xXx
(JUICE) - To everyone out there, don’t give up on your dreams. Remember everything’s alright in the end and if it’s not…it’s not the end. Much love always! Juice xxx