Kiely Williams Explains Why It Sounds Like She's Singing With a Lisp on 3LW's 'No More' (Exclusive)
By Desiree Murphy
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Kiely Williams is taking a trip down memory lane, to her days with 3LW.
While speaking to ET via Zoom on Wednesday, the 34-year-old singer reflected on what it was like founding the girl group with Adrienne Bailon and Naturi Naughton in 1999 (Jessica Benson later replaced Naughton in 2003). She also opened up about why it sounds like she's singing with a lisp on their 2000 hit, "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)."
As 3LW fans who can't help themselves from singing along to the iconic song know, Williams kicks off the track by singing, "I'm getting a little tired of your broken promises, promises. Looking at your pager seeing different numbers and numbers." While it sounds like Williams has a lisp, she told ET that she doesn't have one in real life -- and didn't intentionally sing it that way.
"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 explained to ET's Deidre Behar. "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?'"
"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," she continued. "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."
After 3LW disbanded in 2008, Williams spent some time working toward a solo career, eventually moving to a more private life outside of the spotlight. While she doesn't plan on releasing any solo tracks anytime soon, Williams told ET that fans will get to hear music from her on BET Presents The Encore. The show focuses on former artists and girl group singers who live in the same house, write new music, learn choreography, record an album and put on a live performance, all within 30 days.
"I hope you guys enjoy it, but it is definitely nerve-wracking to just put yourself back out there," Williams teased. "When you've kind of just lived a pretty relatively normal life for 10 or so years, to get back into that kind of element where you're opening yourself up to public scrutiny, that's just what it is. People are going to talk about it. It's a show, it's on television."
"So that is very nerve-wracking, but I am really excited to be a part of this project," she added. "I think that regardless of whatever comments or whatever happens in the blogs and the media, the music is absolutely worth it."
Alongside Kiely are Nivea, Aubrey O'Day (Danity Kane), Shamari DeVoe (Blaque), Irish Grinstead and LeMisha Grinstead (702), Felisha King and Fallon King (Cherish), and Pamela Long (Total).
"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 said, of why she signed on to the show. "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."
"It just seems like girl groups, it's like, something always happens and there's drama and fighting and all that stuff," she continued. "I just wanted to dispel that myth, because I don't believe it's true. I really do think that if women come together, working towards a common goal, we can do absolutely anything."
BET Presents The Encore premiered Wednesday on BET. Watch highlights from the first trailer below: