3LW (short for 3 Little Women) were an R&B trio that originally consisted of Adrienne Bailon (born Adrienne Eliza Bailon on October 24, 1983 in the Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York), Kiely Williams (born Kiely Alexis Williams on July 9, 1986 in Alexandria, Virginia) and Naturi Naughton (born Naturi Cora Maria Naughton on May 20, 1984 in East Orange, New Jersey). The trio was formed by Kiely’s older half-sister Michelle in 1999.
Adrienne was discovered by Ricky Martin while performing with a church choir at Madison Square Garden and was selected by him to be a back-up singer for his “Livin’ La Vida Loca Tour” concert show. After the performance, she was discovered by a producer during a field trip to Beth Israel and was offered to join 3LW. Naturi joined the trio when she was 15 years old.
In October of 2000, 3LW released their debut single “No More (Baby I’ma Do Right)” peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100, #15 on Billboard’s Top 40 Tracks chart, #10 on Billboard’s Rhythmic Top 40 chart and #22 on Billboard’s Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for 23 weeks. The song became their only highest chart appearance on the Billboard Hot 100.
In November of that same year, the trio released their self-titled debut album which peaked at #29 on the Billboard 200 and #19 on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart. The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA.
In May of 2001, the follow-up single from the album “Playas Gon’ Play” was released. The song peaked at #81 on the Billboard Hot 100, #17 on Billboard’s Top 40 chart and #56 on Billboard’s Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for 12 weeks. The song fared better in the U.K., peaking at #21 on the U.K. Singles chart.
A third single “Is You Feelin’ Me” was supposed to be released as the third single, but it was cancelled due to 3LW working on their sophomore album.
During 2001, 3LW went on the MTV TRL (Total Request Live) tour along with artists Jessica Simpson, Eve, Nelly, Dream and Destiny’s Child. They were also featured on the single “What More Can I Give” (which was released in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks) which also featured various artists such as Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson & Luther Vandross.
In late 2001, the trio was featured on the soundtrack to the Nickelodeon animated film “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” along with Nick Cannon & Lil Romeo, singing a cover version of the Fresh Prince & DJ Jazzy Jeff’s song “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”
For the first half of 2002, 3LW were working on their second album (which was originally called “Same Game, Different Rules”). The song “Uh Oh” was supposed to be the lead single from the album, but their record label felt that the song didn’t have enough urban radio appeal.
The songs from the “Same Game, Different Rules” album were leaked as MP3s online. Epic Records considered dropping 3LW from the label, but a fan support campaign called “Never Let Go of 3LW” (named after the trio’s song “Never Let Go”) reached the radio and 3LW stayed with Epic Records.
The “Same Game, Different Rules” album was scrapped and 3LW began recording new tracks for their sophomore album. They were also featured on Naughty By Nature’s single “Feels Good (Don’t Worry Bout a Thing)” and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s song “Get Up & Get It” during that same year.
In June of 2002, 3LW released the single “I Do (Wanna Get Close to You)” which featured P. Diddy (who also produced the song) and rapper Loon. The song peaked at #58 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #50 on Billboard’s Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for 18 weeks.
Before the release of their second album, Naturi announced that she was no longer a part of the trio with allegations that she had numerous conflicts & arguments with not just Adrienne & Kiely, but their management as well.
In August of 2002, there was an argument that involved an altercation with food from KFC. Naturi later stated that she was forced out of 3LW.
In October of 2002, 3LW released their sophomore album “A Girl Can Mack” which peaked at #15 on the Billboard 200 and only sold 176,000 copies.
The follow-up single from the album “Neva Get Enuf” (featuring rapper Lil Wayne) failed to make any impact on the charts at all.
Kiely and Adrienne continued to perform under the “3LW” name as a duo which lead to the press to jokingly refer to them as “2LW.”
According to a cover story with Sister2Sister magazine, the girls stated that they got death threats which forced them to beef up security & Naturi leaving affected the album sales & popularity of 3LW.
In November of 2002, 3LW released their third and only Christmas holiday album “Naughty or Nice” which flopped, failing to making any impact on the Billboard charts at all.
After the flop of “Neva Get Enough,” auditions were held to find a third member and Jessica Benson (born on October 4, 1988 in Washington, DC) was chosen, joining 3LW in early 2003. It was said without Jessica, 3LW would have had to disband due to bankruptcy.
During 2003, Adrienne and Kiely starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie “The Cheetah Girls” which also starred Raven-Symone and Sabrina Bryan. In the fall of that same year, 3LW left Epic Records and signed with So So Def Records.
The trio began working on their next album “Point of No Return” (which was originally called “Phoenix Rising”).
In 2006, the single “Feelin’ You” (featuring Jermaine Dupri) was released to radio, but didn’t appear to chart at all. During that same year, they were featured on the soundtrack to the film “Step Up” on Yung Joc’s song ” ‘Bout It.”
The “Point of No Return” album was supposed to be released in 2006, but due to Kiely and Adrienne’s involvement with The Cheetah Girls franchise along image conflicts between the franchise & 3LW, the album’s release date was pushed back to 2007 and it was eventually shelved (although some tracks appear on the Internet).
In early 2007, Adrienne stated in Girls’ Life magazine that the album was on hold due to her & Kiely working on the Cheetah Girls franchise. During that same year, 3LW broke up after they were dropped from So So Def Records (which was confirmed in 2008).
After the disbandment of 3LW, Kiely and Adrienne focused on the Cheetah Girls until the franchise ended in 2008. These days, the girls of 3LW have gone on to pursue separate careers.
Adrienne Bailon has appeared in various films & television shows along working on her solo music career. In 2012, she and actress Julissa Bermudez had their own reality show on the Style Network called “Empire Girls: Julissa and Adrienne.” These days, she is currently one of the hosts of the talk show “The Real.”
Kiely Williams continues to still be active in music and has appeared in films such as “The House Bunny,” “Elle: A Modern Cinderella Story” and “Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming.” On her official website, she runs an advice column called “Dear Kiely.”
Naturi Naughton has been very active as an actress, starring in the films “Fame” & “Notorious” and on television shows such as “The Playboy Club” & “The Client List.” She starred in the Broadway musical “Hairspray” as Little Inez from 2005 to 2008. These days, Naturi currently stars on the Starz Network drama series “Empire.”
As for Jessica Benson, she appeared in music videos by artists such as O’Ryan and Jarvis. According to research, she joined a new music group called Chocolate.
To see the music video for “No More (Baby I’ma Do Right),” go to:
To see the music video for “Playas Gon Play,” go to:
To see the music video for “I Do (Wanna Get Close to You),” go to:
To see the music video for “Neva Get Enuf,” go to:
To see the music video for “Feelin’ You,” go to: