Kiely Williams recently reflected on the origins of her starring role in a popular meme.
In 1999, the 34-year-old singer was a member of the girl group 3LW with Adrienne Bailon and Naturi Naughton. She revealed to “Entertainment Tonight” on Wednesday, June 9, that her infamous lisp on the first verse of their 2000 hit, “No More (Baby I’ma Do Right)” — which was turned into a meme by zealous fans — was not exactly as it appeared.
In fact, Williams said she doesn’t even have a lisp, nor sang as if she had one — at least not deliberately.
“A really long time ago, ancient times, before there was Pro Tools where you could just auto-tune on the machine, there was a plug-in and it was in a studio. It’s a plug-in box and it was called an Antares,” Williams said.
“And this machine, like all of new technology, was a little hinky. And when they went to mix my vocals, the Antares corrected the notes, but gave me a lisp. There’s no other explanation for it. If you turned the Antares off, I didn’t have a lisp, but all my notes were wrong. So they were like, ‘Which one is better?’ “
She added, “I have two separate feelings. Taking myself out of the equation, when people call me names or make fun of it, it doesn’t personally affect me, because I don’t have a lisp. However, people with actual speech impediments, I don’t think it’s funny to poke fun at that. They do struggle with it, all the time. It’s not something that’s funny. They’re trying to communicate the same way that you are. So on that level, I’m like, ‘That’s not cool. Just stop.’ When it’s directed towards me … I wish people would stop because they hear me talk all the time.”
Williams flirted with a solo career after 3LW disbanded in 2008, but withdrew from the music industry after becoming a wife and mother. However, now Williams will expose a new generation to her musical talents on “BET Presents The Encore.” The show features former singers and girl group members as they move into a house together, write new music, learn choreography, and record an album, culminating in a live performance, all in 30 days.
Joining her are Pamela Long from Total; Felisha King and Fallon King of Cherish, Aubrey O’Day from Danity Kane, Shamari DeVoe of Blaque; and Irish Grinstead and LeMisha Grinstead from 702 and Nivea Nash.
“The original attraction to the project was how much I hate the stigma that girl groups can’t stay together. And even though I’m pretty negative about the probability of girl groups staying together, I still have this, ‘If I can only find the right formula,’ ” Williams explained.
“It’s this puzzle that I want to solve in my mind. If I can only just figure out the right personality types, the right circumstance, what could make it work? Because women can work together in every other industry in the world.”