If you grew up in early ‘00s (aka the era of pop princesses and boy bands) then you are probably familiar with pop girl group Dream. The ladies, who also happened to be signed to P. Diddy’s iconic label, Bad Boy, were a staple on pop radio and TRL, thanks to their top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit “He Loves U Not.” The group disbanded in 2003, but the ladies recently reunited to not only work on new music, but also to participate in the ultimate 2000s kids dream tour, the MY2K Tour, alongside 98 Degrees, O-Town, and Ryan Cabrera.
We recently got a chance to sit down with Holly Blake-Arnstein, Diana Ortiz, Ashley Poole, and Melissa Schuman before they hit the road, and they talked to us about everything from what it was like to be on the MTV's TRL tour, to answering the questions that you asked!
1. What inspired you girls to get back together? —Alan Leon Thomas, Facebook
Ashley: It really came about when we all decided to get together and we ended up just singing, because that’s just what happens when we get together, and it just felt so different from any time that we’ve seen each other throughout the years. It just felt, like, magical. We all just felt in our hearts that we wanted to do something. We didn’t know what level that would be; we weren’t sure if it would just be, like, we’re gonna go sing at a little club somewhere. And the opportunity came to us, literally fell in our laps, for the MY2K Tour like a year later and we were like “OK — I guess we’re doing this!"
2. Jumping back to the early '00s, what was it like working for Sean Combs and being on his label, Bad Boy Records, as a pop group? —breelightyear
3. Did you feel Dream in some way led to the idea and formation of Diddy's Making the Band/Danity Kane? —Kenneth Huang, Facebook
Melissa: It was 1,000% the reason why [Diddy] made Danity Kane.
Ashley: I think that we were four young girls from California and we couldn’t be more different. And I think what Puffy relates to is more urban and I think that he, after having a girl group and seeing that it was successful and whatnot, he decided to create his version of what I think he wanted, which is totally fine. And they’re an amazing talent as well — all love!
4. What was your favorite part about being on MTV's TRL? —Jessica Saltin, Facebook
Diana: Carson Daly! He made it.
Holly: But it was a blast, like, all the time! You were literally in there with the fans. You were looking out at Times Square — I mean it was just the perfect place and everything was high energy!
Ashley: And it felt like home! Back then we obviously didn’t have social media, so TRL was really the hub of getting to connect with the fans.
5. What’s your greatest memory about touring with Destiny’s Child? Does any one moment or story stick out in particular? —BuzzFeed
6. Beyoncé is certainly an icon. Did she ever give you advice? Is there anything you all learned from her? —BuzzFeed
Holly: It’s hard to remember specifically what she said but I always remember when we did have interactions with her, she was always really encouraging and really positive. I mean, just the way that she comes across to the general public is, like, a wise owl. She had that wisdom. Whatever she said, we were like, “OK! We got it!”
Diana: I specifically remember her taking a moment and looking at us, and she goes, “Girls, you gotta remember to make time to have fun.” I remember her promoting the “you gotta have fun while you do it.”
7. What was the best thing about touring with Jessica Simpson? —Leslie Troyt, Facebook
8. How much control of your sound did you have when you were starting out? —BuzzFeed
Holly: You know initially, I would say like this much (pinches fingers) and then that started to grow and grow. We were super excited as we were beginning to work on things for the second album and doing more writing and really getting involved in the creative direction. I think we did, like, 50 songs for the second album and it got narrowed down to whatever number that they came up with. And some of those were still songs that we felt strongly about that had our sound. Unfortunately, we never really a got chance to release that to the world officially so this is like that opportunity for us to now do it 100% us.
Melissa: But as kids we did write “Pain” on the first album and we also produced the vocals for the “This Is Me (Remix).” A lot people don’t know that. With a lot of Red Bull…
9. Did you have a favorite matching group outfit? Least favorite? Were those plastic-y looking light pink ones really uncomfortable? They're so cute but they look like they would feel weird! —Kalen Stockton, Facebook
10. Did you all get to choose your outfits? Where did the inspiration come from? —BuzzFeed
11. What early ‘00s fashion would you erase from the past, if you could? —BuzzFeed
Melissa: For me it was the bedazzling. We were bedazzling far too many things at that time! There was something being sold on TV — that’s why everyone was bedazzling.
12. What early ‘00s fashion style do you wish you could bring back? —BuzzFeed
Melissa: Hm, I don’t know. I was all about the glitter...eyeshadow glitter.
13. Who were your early ‘00s crushes and did you get to meet any of them? —Joey Posentia, Facebook
Holly: I’m gonna sit this one out…
Melissa: YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM!
Holly: I feel like it’s already gonna haunt me severely because of the fact that we’re in close association with them. But the truth is, that I was like totally hands-down in love with Jeff Timmons from 98 Degrees. It’s fine now. I’m married. My husband looks a little similar…nothing to worry about.
Ashley: Everybody knows mine — mine was Hanson.
BuzzFeed: Did you ever get to meet them?
Holly: Not just meet them...
Ashley: It was kind of a big deal. For my sweet 16 we went back to my hometown of Blythe, California — middle of nowhere. We had this new management and somehow they got Hanson to fly in on a private jet to my hometown. All the girls and I were there, we were having a good time, I didn’t know they were coming, and then they open and they started singing to me. I lost my mind — I was in complete shock.
Holly: The cake was in the pool — it was just crazy.
Ashley: Yeah, it ended up being on MTV News and we ended up throwing cake and jumping in the pool with them and stuff. Yeah, they definitely came to my birthday and surprised me. It was pretty crazy.
14. What was your favorite Dream merchandise that was sold? —Lauren Tyler, Facebook
Diana: There’s the Hit Clip! I love the Hit Clip! To this day, that’s one thing everybody keeps telling me! Like, “I had your Hit Clip! I had your Hit Clip!” You would put it in a mini, tiny stereo and it played “This Is Me.”Holly: I saw the picture of it but I was like, “What did this do?” It was like looking at a Gigapet.Ashley: I mean, our dolls were a big deal!Holly: Yeah, I kind of love that we had dolls because now that’s the one thing that I can show my kids.
15. What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you when you were teen pop stars? —thewackyalishaproductions
Diana: Beside from the outfits we were photographed wearing?
Melissa: Pants were just constantly ripping!
Diana: Keep in mind, we weren’t doing sexy moves; we were doing “we gotta go full-out" moves! We gotta "Janet Jackson to the floor and back up" kind of stuff. So, there was a lot of that going on so we had a lot of ripped things. Dancers holding tops on us sometimes!
Holly: Especially during the early days, we weren’t dancing in costumes made for dancing. We would do these special shows where we were like “Oh, Nordstrom!” And so you go in, pick an outfit from the rack, and then you perform in that later on a stage that’s not meant to perform on. So then when you went to go do like your deep squat it was like, RIPPPP!
16. Do you think it was more difficult to be young stars in the early ‘00s, or is it harder in today’s time? —BuzzFeed
Melissa: Oh, I think it's more difficult today for sure. Hands down! First of all, social media can be dangerous for young kids. I feel like whereas before, like with Britney Spears at the turn of all the paparazzi craziness, you know, she really got picked on. Whereas now, I feel like these young kids are almost putting it out there without really thinking about the repercussions of it. So I think for that, it’s a bit dangerous and a bit harder.
Ashley: The flip side though is that kids nowadays have a lot more freedom to be creative. So, there’s a lot less stifling. So it’s like nobody can tell you that you’re bad because what if you’re the next YouTube sensation? You know what I’m saying? So there’s a lot more freedom where, when we were younger, it was all manufactured groups. They’re gonna pick and select you so the power is not within you — it’s within the label. So they’re gonna pick your sound, they’re gonna pick your look. “You’re the sexy one! You’re the boy!” We didn’t get to really explore what our decisions were. So I feel that yes, it has to be managed now but I don’t know... I kind of feel like there’s a lot more damage done [back] then because it wasn’t always your decision.
Holly: You had to have a showcase for labels, and then somebody had to choose you and put their money behind you and make it happen so that meant you basically had to sell your soul to that person. Now it’s like, you can just be an artist and then you just let some people know, and then that goes viral.
17. Obviously, you’ve grown up a lot since the 2000s. How do you guys feel about performing some of your older pop songs at a more mature age? —Yadira Acuña, Facebook
Holly: We’re super excited about it! These songs are near and dear to our hearts, just like they are to our fans. That period of life… there’s so much nostalgia around that. Even watching 98 Degrees or things like that… seeing the other artists that are gonna be on the tour — we were fans of theirs growing up and we toured with them before, so it's all really awesome.
BuzzFeed: Was that cool seeing the guys of 98 Degrees again?
Holly: Yeah, it really was! It was interesting. And it also allowed us to kind of realize that a lot of time has passed and yet in some ways, things are very similar.
18. If you guys were to do it all over again, would you do anything differently? —Jessie Mulhouse, Facebook
All: We are doing it differently!
Melissa: Come see the show on MY2K! It’s Dream 2.0. I mean we’re all about the nostalgia; we’ll be singing all of our old stuff and some new stuff actually, but it’s gonna be done our way now.
Holly: I think the thing is we’re very considerate and thoughtful of our fans. Like, we think about our fans and what’s gonna make them excited when they see us onstage, so definitely bringing the nostalgia for sure. But you know, we never really got to say the message we wanted. We had a message as a group which was “women empowerment,” but we also wanted to take that to another level. We want to show women how to love themselves — your body, your mind, whatever. That’s what we really, really want to inspire! It’s bigger than just singing. So, we’re doing a new song called “I Have a Dream” that we wrote and that’s basically our heart on the table — it’s the beginning of us giving our hearts to the fans. And we are going to rock this show! No joke, I’m not even playing. It’s four divas up there, we’re coming! It’s happening! Dream 2016!