En Vogue

  • R&B vocal group from Oakland California, formed in 1989. The original members were Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron, Dawn Robinson and Maxine Jones. Today, the group is a trio, with Rhona Bennett as a current member, replacing Robinson and Jones.
  • In the late 80s, production and songwriting duo Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy envisioned the creation of a female vocal group in the tradition of groups from the late 50s/early 60s, with different lead vocalists for the various songs they would perform. They auditioned approximately 3,000 women, and chose Herron, Robinson and Jones. Ellis was unable to attend the audition because her flight from Houston was late. When they finally heard her sing, they added her to the trio. Foster and McElroy originally named the group 4-U, then changed it to Vogue, and finally changed it again to En Vogue when they discovered that another group was already using the Vogue name.
  • Their debut album, Born To Sing, was released in 1990. It became a platinum seller, reaching #21 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and #3 on the R&B chart. Three singles reached #1 on the R&B singles chart – Hold On, Lies and You Don’t Have to Worry. Hold On peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 chart. They received their first of 7 Grammy nominations with the album (though they have never won the award), and they won a Billboard Music award and a Soul Train award for their work.
  • Their follow up album, Funky Divas, was released in 1992. It was their best selling album, selling over 3 million copies in the U.S., and charting in the top 10 in the U.S. and the UK. It had 2 more R&B #1 songs – My Lovin’ (Your Never Gonna Get It) and Giving Him Something He Can Feel), with both songs breaking into the Top 10 of the Hot 100 chart. Another single, Free Your Mind, peaked at #8 on the Hot 100, and the video for the song won 3 MTV Music Video Awards. The following year, a 6 song EP was released – titled Runaway Love, it included the song Whatta Man, performed by Salt-N-Pepa and featuring En Vogue, which reached #3 on the Hot 100 and R&B charts.
  • In 1996, they contributed the song Don’t Let Go (Love) to the soundtrack to the film Set It Off. The song was included in their next album, EV3, released in June 1997. As the album was nearing completion, Robinson abruptly left the band in a contract dispute. The three remaining members re-recorded the songs where Robinson had been the lead vocalist. It was their last album to be certified platinum, and Don’t Let Go (Love) was their final song to be a major hit, reaching #1 on the R&B chart and #2 on the Hot 100.
  • En Vogue’s fourth album, Masterpiece Theater, was released in 2000. It made heavy use of samples from classical music in its songs. Sales were disappointing and only 1 single was released, Riddle, which barely broke into the charts. The following year, Jones left the group to focus on motherhood. She was replaced by Amanda Cole. Cole remained for 1 Christmas album, and left for a solo career in 2004. She was replaced by Bennett.
  • The trio of Herron, Ellis and Bennett released Soul Flower in 2004, but nothing charted from the record. In 2005, Robinson and Jones rejoined, while Bennett withdrew. The original quartet briefly toured, but again Robinson could not agree to contract terms, and she departed again. Bennett rejoined, and this quartet performed occasional concerts.
  • In June 2008, the original quartet performed at the BET Awards. The performance was a highlight of the ceremony, and they considered reforming. After several more performances, they announced that they would do a 20th Anniversary Tour. Following the tour, Robinson departed yet again. Herron, Ellis and Jones signed a new record deal, but before completing an album, Jones left again, and Bennett rejoined. The trio of Herron, Ellis and Bennett have managed to stay together since 2012, releasing their most recent album, Electric Café, in 2018.
  • Throughout the entire career of the group, Foster and McElroy have produced their recordings and have contributed much of the songwriting (along with the women in the group).
  • Here is the award winning video to Free Your Mind – an R&B song with some major rock and roll instrumentation!

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