Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The original members were former Miss Black California Cindy Herron (b. September 26, 1965, California, United States), Maxine Jones (b. January 16, 1966, New Jersey), Dawn Robinson (b. November 28, 1968, Connecticut), and Terry Ellis (b. September 5,1966, Texas). The group was formed in Herron's home state, California, in 1988. Their story began when the production duo brainstormed on the concept of putting together a modern-day, original R&B girl group for the 1990s. After Foster and McElroy studied various girl groups, they chose to experiment with welding the female R&B/soul group heritage with hip-hop/new jack swing rhythms. They were looking for singers who could display lasciviousness and intelligence, as well as vocal anabasis. The two held auditions and resolved on the official membership of Herron, Jones, Robinson, and Ellis. Prior to the group's official name, they were primarily called For You. They shifted to Vogue and ultimately En Vogue after learning of another group having a very similar name.
After they found their women, the new group performed a song or two on Foster and McElroy's FM2 album. The group lived together for a while. Robinson suggested that they enter singing contests to remain active. Before the work and recording of their debut album began, one day, they had a singing session. They were in Foster's car, getting warmed up as they prepared to sing "Who's Lovin' You?" by The Miracles. Suddenly, Foster turned on the drum machine accidentally. The girls liked the catchy, funky beats that it made and thought it would be a great idea to sing the lyrics over them. But Foster had a better idea: to write and produce an original, answer song called "Hold On". That first single became a crossover, pop smash hit, reaching #2 on the pop charts and making #1 on the R&B charts. The single was included on En Vogue's debut album "Born To Sing", released in 1990, in going platinum. A remix album, "Remix To Sing" followed later within the next year.
Some have compared En Vogue to The Supremes. A notable feature of the group is that they all shared in singing lead, purposely designating no particular singer as the "star." Herron appeared in the film Juice (1992) between albums. The 1992 sophomore attempt "Funky Divas" was more successful than the first, going multi-platinum and garnering positive reviews. Though the group is influenced mainly by the genre R&B, other influences include pop, hip-hop, reggae, and rock. The first three singles, "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)", "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" (a cover of one of Aretha Franklin's songs written by Curtis Mayfield), and "Free Your Mind" (using George Clinton's chorus line with permission), all reached the top ten. They returned to the top ten again in 1993, backing the female pop-rap trio Salt-N-Pepa on their hit "Whatta Man". Another LP, Runaway Love, was released out that year.
En Vogue opened doors for future girl groups as the first black female R&B group to appear on the front cover of Vogue magazine. They struck an endorsement deal to be in a Sprite commercial, won awards at the Soul Train and Lady of Soul Awards shows. The group made a television guest appearance on an episode of the series A Different World and played hookers in the 1995 film Batman Forever.
The group took a three-year hiatus from recording as a group before their next LP. Ellis made her solo debut with the release of "Southern Gal" in 1995. Dissatisfied with the treatment of the group and royalties, Robinson left the group for a solo career in 1996, and later joined Tony! Toni! Toné!'s Raphael Saadiq and A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad to form the group Lucy Pearl in 1999. The rest over En Vogue went on to record EV3. Before it was issued in 1997, they contributed one of the CD's tracks, "Don't Let Go (Love)", to the Set It Off soundtrack, which became a #2 single. The group's first greatest hits compilation, The Best Of En Vogue, was issued in 1999. The following year, the new studio LP Masterpiece Theater was released. Meanwhile, Robinson's first solo CD Dawn was released in early 2002. At the end of the year, En Vogue's holiday album The Gift Of Christmas appeared.
- Terry Ellis
- Maxine Jones
- Cindy Herron
- Dawn Robinson
- Amanda Cole
- Rhona Bennett
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