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Area resident reflects on her time in the spotlight

In 1999, the song “Where My Girls At?” exploded over the radio. People came to know 702 not as the Las Vegas area code but as the young R&B trio that dominated the airwaves and television shows.

After approximately 10 years in the music industry, former 702 member and North Las Vegas resident LeMisha Fields recalls the fame she experienced at 15.

“It was a whirlwind,” Fields said. “We toured all over the world and met artists like Whitney Houston and Diana Ross. The life that we lived was almost like a dream.”

Her musician parents guided her and her six brothers and sisters to pursue singing — even if it was as a hobby.

Fields, then 7, and her younger sisters Irish and Orish Grinstead decided to take it one step further.

They sporadically sang at Caesars Palace, where they had the opportunity to meet the actor and comedian Sinbad. He took a liking to members of the group and persuaded them to go to Atlanta for a music convention.

At the convention, the girls met Michael Bivins of New Edition, who signed the group, then known as Sweeta than Suga, to its first record deal.

After going through multiple band changes, the group’s final lineup was formed with Fields, Irish Grinstead and fellow high school friend Kameelah Williams. Bivins then suggested that the group change its name.

“He thought that our named had to be refreshed,” Fields said. “One day, he dialed us with our area code, 702, and the rest was history.”

The group recorded its first album titled, “No Doubt,” which Missy Elliott helped co-write and produce. Their song “Steelo” was altered and used as the theme song to the Nickelodeon show “Cousin Skeeter,” and “All I Want” was featured in the movie “Good Burger.”

“Missy Elliott was a big player in our success. She was quite a big impact for us in terms of getting the right sounds,” Fields said.

In 1997, the album went gold and earned the group a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. It toured with New Edition, Keith Sweat and Blackstreet and made cameos on shows such as “Sister, Sister” and “Moesha.”

Despite her busy and glamorous life, Fields continued going to high school and eventually hired a private tutor during tours so that she could graduate.

“At times, it was overwhelming, but little girls are resilient in that way,” Fields said. “I would go from studio and take a flight back and come home. Then I’d have school the next day.”

In 1999, the group released its self-titled second album, “702.” The first single from the album, “Where My Girls At?”, was written and produced by Missy Elliott and made No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went gold.

Fields gave birth to her son, Tony, later that year at age 21. She said she quickly realized how hard it was to juggle being a young mother while maintaining a full-time music career when she had to leave him home for three months while on tour.

The group collectively decided to part ways after the release of its third album, “Star” in 2003.

“You can look at the glass as half empty or half full, and for a while, I saw it as half empty,” Fields said. “A little depression took place when I attempted to go back to my regular life. It was a challenge.”

Since quitting the music industry, Fields has been working at Treasure Island for the past eight years. More than a year ago, she started working as the wedding chapel manager at the hotel.

She said her job has helped her adapt to the civilian lifestyle.

“You wouldn’t know that she was a famous pop star in the past,” said Joanne Harvey, director of banquet, catering and the wedding chapel at Treasure Island. “She’s very humble, approachable, and our customers love her.”

Although she tries to stay away from the limelight, Fields said she continues to sing for close family members and friends during church services, weddings and funerals.

In 2005 she gave birth to her daughter, Rhythm, who is living up to her name. Fields spends time recording music with her daughter in their home.

“I miss singing, but it’s not my entire life. My life is my family and kids. I had a successful career, and I lived my dream,” Fields said. “Now it’s time for me to stand back and cheer on my kids.”

Contact North View reporter Sandy Lopez at slopez@viewnews.com or 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.

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