En Vogue

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En Vogue
American Girl Group En Vogue.jpg
En Vogue in 2017: (L-R) Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron and Rhona Bennett
Background information
Origin Oakland, California, U.S.
Genres
Years active 1989–present
Labels
Website envoguemusic.com
Members
Past members

En Vogue is an American R&B/Pop vocal group whose original lineup consisted of singers Terry Ellis, Dawn Robinson, Cindy Herron, and Maxine Jones.[1] Formed in Oakland, California in 1989, En Vogue reached number two on the US Hot 100 with the single "Hold On", which was taken from their 1990 debut album Born To Sing. The group's 1992 follow-up album Funky Divas reached the top 10 in both the US and UK, and included their second US number two hit "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)", plus the US top 10 hits "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" and "Free Your Mind".

In 1996, "Don't Let Go (Love)" became the group's third, and most successful single, to reach number two in the US, and became their sixth number one on the US R&B chart. Robinson left the group in 1997 shortly before the release of their third album EV3, which also reached the US and UK top 10. Jones left the group in 2001 and was replaced with Amanda Cole; however, in 2003, Cole left and was replaced by Rhona Bennett during the recording of their album Soul Flower. In 2005, the original members briefly united before disassembling again; in 2009, the original members once again reunited for their "En Vogue: 20th Anniversary". Shortly after the tour, Robinson and Jones again departed from En Vogue, with Bennett rejoining the group as a trio.

En Vogue has sold more than 20 million records worldwide to date,[2][3][4] and are often considered one of the best female vocal groups of all time,[5] the group has won seven MTV Video Music Awards, three Soul Train Awards, two American Music Awards, and received seven Grammy nominations.[6] In December 1999, Billboard magazine ranked the band as the 19th most successful recording artist of the 1990s;[7] in March 2015, Billboard magazine named the group the ninth most-successful girl group of all-time.[8] Two of the groups singles ranks in Billboard's most successful girl group songs of all-time list, "Don't Let Go (Love)" (#12) and "Hold On" (#23).[9]

Recording history[edit]

1988–91: Early beginnings and Born to Sing[edit]

Assembled in Oakland, California in July 1989, En Vogue launched with original members Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones, Dawn Robinson, and Terry Ellis. The inspiration for the group came when production duo Foster and McElroy envisioned a modern-day girl group in the tradition of the 1950s/1960s female trios, the plan was to recruit singers who possessed strong voices, noticeably good looks, and intelligence. Auditions were held in 1988, with Herron, Jones, and Robinson making the final cut.[10] Like previous girl groups, En Vogue was originally conceived as a trio, but after hearing Ellis audition, Foster and McElroy decided to create a quartet, at first, they selected the name "For You." They shifted to "Vogue," but ultimately settled on En Vogue, upon learning that another group had already claimed the Vogue moniker.

After forming, the group began working with their producers on their debut album. Recording began in August 1989 and wrapped up in December of the same year.[11] Born to Sing was released on April 3, 1990. The album peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard 200 chart and No. 3 on Billboard's R&B Albums Chart. The first single, "Hold On," was released to radio in late February 1990 and became a crossover pop hit, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and No. 1 on both the R&B singles and Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts. It later went to No. 5 in the UK, and became a hit in Europe. The next two singles, "Lies" and "You Don't Have to Worry," each went to No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts, while the fourth and final single, "Don't Go," charted at No. 3 on the Billboard R&B. The album was later certified triple platinum by the RIAA.

"Hold On" was awarded a Billboard Music Award for "#1 R&B Single of the Year," a Soul Train Award for "R&B/Urban Contemporary Single of the Year, Group, Band or Duo" and have been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. In 1990, En Vogue signed an endorsement deal to appear in a Diet Coke commercial directed by Spike Lee.

1992–94: Funky Divas, Runaway Love and touring[edit]

En Vogue's second album, Funky Divas, was released in the spring of 1992, the album debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Billboard R&B and ultimately doubled the take of its predecessor, going multi-platinum. The album's first two singles: "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" and "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" both went top ten pop, and peaked at No. 1 on the R&B charts. The next single, "Free Your Mind" also went top ten, the final two singles "Give It Up Turn It Loose" and "Love Don't Love You" both were top forty hits.

The album went on to sell more than five million copies, won an American Music Award for "Favorite Soul/R&B Album," and was nominated for five Grammy Awards. The music video for "Free Your Mind" earned the group three MTV Video Music Awards for "Best Choreography," "Best Dance Video," and "Best R&B Video." They were also honored with Soul Train's prestigious "Entertainer of the Year Award." In addition to this, the group were featured in Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Essence among other major publications.

Riding high on the success of Funky Divas, a six-song EP entitled Runaway Love was released in the fall of 1993, spawning the hit "Runaway Love."

The group was signed to an endorsement deal with Converse, and was featured as an opening act on Luther Vandross' 1993 "Never Let Me Go" Tour. England, Germany, the Netherlands and France were among the numerous Countries toured and would confirm the group's live vocal and performing prowess. However, according to an article in Vibe magazine, Vandross (by his own admission in interviews) and his entourage clashed with the members of En Vogue during the tour, and he vowed never to work with them again afterwards.

En Vogue also made numerous television appearances on such series as In Living Color, A Different World, Roc and Hangin' With Mr. Cooper (the latter two in which they also sang the shows' theme songs).

In 1993, En Vogue was featured on Salt-N-Pepa's top ten hit "Whatta Man", from Salt-N-Pepa's Very Necessary album. The track also appeared (slightly edited) on En Vogue's Runaway Love EP.

1994–98: The departure of Robinson and EV3[edit]

In 1995, En Vogue was amongst numerous female vocalists featured on the song "Freedom" for the soundtrack to Panther. Also in 1995, group member Terry Ellis recorded a solo album entitled Southern Gal, which spun off the top ten R&B single "Where Ever You Are" (although "Back Down Memory Lane" also got significant airplay) and the group later made a cameo appearance in the film Batman Forever.

In 1996, En Vogue recorded "Don't Let Go (Love)" for the soundtrack to the motion picture Set It Off. Released in the Autumn, it became the group's biggest hit to date; the single peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100, No. 1 on the R&B singles chart, and was certified platinum by the RIAA. It, inadvertently, would also be the final En Vogue single to feature Robinson. One of Robinson's final performances with her bandmates came in October of that year, when the group sang the final National Anthem rendition in the history of Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, which came in game five of the 1996 World Series.

In response to the large commercial success of "Don't Let Go (Love)," the group steadfastly went to work on its third album, as the album was nearing completion, Robinson chose to leave the group in April 1997 after difficult contractual negotiations reached a stalemate. Despite Robinson's abrupt departure, En Vogue resolved to continue on as a trio (forcing the group to re-record some of the tracks on their forthcoming album that had originally featured her on lead vocals).

EV3, the group's third album, was released in the spring and debuted at No. 8 on both the Billboard 200 and the Billboard R&B charts. The first single, the Babyface-penned and produced "Whatever" went on to become a top-20 pop hit, a top ten R&B hit, while also peaking at No. 5 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. On August 26, 1997, the single was certified gold by the RIAA, the follow-up single "Too Gone, Too Long" (which was produced by David Foster and written by Diane Warren) performed more modestly, managing to only peak in the top forty.[citation needed]

Despite it being certified platinum and the album being nominated for Grammy Award and a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award, sales for EV3 failed to live up to full commercial expectation. A world tour had been planned, but was canceled.

In 1998, En Vogue recorded "No Fool No More"[12] for the soundtrack to the motion picture, Why Do Fools Fall In Love as well as a version of I Want A Monster to Be My Friend for the Elmopalooza special on ABC.

The following year, a greatest hits compilation, The Best of En Vogue, was released.

2000–03: Masterpiece Theatre and new member[edit]

Masterpiece Theatre, the group's fourth studio album, was released in May 2000. The album's title was inspired by the "Love Suite," which is a collection of songs on Masterpiece Theatre sampling notable classical music compositions, the album debuted at No. 67 and 33 on the Billboard 200 and R&B Albums Charts respectively. While the album's "Love Suite" would garner praise from the group's following, "Riddle" was the first (and only) single to be released and peaked at No. 92 and 95 on the Hot 100 and R&B charts. As a result of poor sales, En Vogue was dropped from the Elektra Record label.

In 2001, Amanda Cole was added as a fourth member but soon after original member Maxine Jones announced her desire to spend more time with her young daughter and departed. Ellis, Herron, and Cole released a holiday album, The Gift of Christmas, they also recorded and released their live album Live in the USA in December 2002. Soon after the holiday album, Cole too left the group and was replaced with actress Rhona Bennett. Meanwhile, Robinson's first solo CD Dawn was released on January 29, 2002.

2004–07: Soul Flower and impromptu reunion[edit]

In 2004, En Vogue (now composed of Ellis, Herron, and Bennett) released Soul Flower on independent label 33rd Street Records. While the album failed to chart on the Billboard 200, it managed to peak at No. 47 on the R&B charts. The album's two singles: "Losin' My Mind" and "Ooh Boy", however, failed to chart, the group teamed with Boyz II Men for select concert dates during the summer of 2004. That same year En Vogue appeared on the cover of R&B Showcase magazine.[13] During the latter part of 2004, En Vogue toured Europe with Maxine Jones rejoining the group to fill the place of Cindy Herron, who was on maternity leave.

In 2005, Herron and Robinson rejoined En Vogue, the original four went on to sign with one of the industry's largest management firms, The Firm Management Group. That September, they joined Salt N Pepa for the girl groups' first-ever joint public performance of their 1994 hit, "Whatta Man" at VH-1's Hip Hop Honors, and briefly toured, they also earned another Grammy nomination for the single "So What the Fuss", which featured Stevie Wonder and Prince (on guitar). The group also appeared in the single's music video, after failing to agree on business terms, Robinson once again chose to defect from En Vogue and Bennett returned. As a result, En Vogue was let go from The Firm. En Vogue continued to perform spot dates in North America with Terry Ellis, Maxine Jones, Cindy Herron and Rhona Bennett, this line-up also saw the group return to Europe and Japan for select concert dates. During this time, En Vogue teamed up with Belgian singer Natalia for a song called "Glamorous" where Rhona Bennett's vocals are featured, the single reached No. 2 in the Belgian charts and was followed by a DVD release of the concert, which went double platinum.

2008–11: Robinson's return and departure[edit]

En Vogue performing during their reunion tour (2009)

On June 24, 2008, the original lineup of En Vogue appeared on the BET Awards, performing with Alicia Keys, SWV and TLC as a tribute to girl groups of the 1990s. With speculation abuzz, En Vogue received the twenty-eighth highest number of hits on the Rock on the Net website for the month of June 2008, the following month, the group ascended to the twelfth position. As of June 30, Robinson stated via an En Vogue Yahoo! fan site that she had indeed returned to En Vogue. On August 6, the original members appeared on Los Angeles' KTLA television station and announced that they have reunited and would do spot dates around the country during the latter part of 2008, the foursome kicked off the Americana at Brand Concert Series in Glendale, California that same evening.[14] Furthermore, En Vogue performed at the 2009 Essence Music Festival, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, they continue to tour throughout the United States. In October 2010, the band performed their first UK show in 18 years in London.

On September 26, 2011, a new single called "I'll Cry Later" was sent to select urban adult contemporary radio stations;[15] in December 2011, Dawn Robinson left En Vogue once again.

2012–15: Lawsuit, Maxine Jones' departure and Rhona Bennett[edit]

In March 2012, a lawsuit was filed by Wells Fargo Bank against Rufftown, Inc. for breach of contract. On May 8, Cindy Herron announced on their official En Vogue Facebook page that no new album was coming out.[citation needed] En Vogue toured in 2012; in June 2012 Rhona Bennett, who was filling in for Robinson's absence, announced on her Facebook page that she was in rehearsals with the group, hinting that she was once again filling in for Robinson.

In August 2012, Maxine Jones, as well as Dawn Robinson, left the group and would potentially record a group album together, during this time, they added new member Shaunté Usual to their lineup and shot a photoshoot.[16][17] Herron and Ellis would continue to tour as En Vogue with Rhona Bennett, it was also soon announced that the members would take each other to court for use of the En Vogue name; a judge ruled that Herron and Ellis, as holders of the group's LLC, had exclusive rights to the group's name. Herron and Ellis filed suit against Jones and Robinson, demanding $1 million for unauthorized use of the name, though the damages request was ultimately determined to be without merit, as Herron and Ellis could not demonstrate harm done to the company from Jones's use of the name (although Robinson was named in the suit, she was not directly involved in the dispute, as she had surrendered her rights to use the name herself when she departed from the LLC years earlier).[18]

In late 2012, Robinson and Jones announced that they would be starting a new group called "Heirs to the Throne."[19][20] In 2013, Robinson chose not to begin a new group with Jones and joined the cast of the reality show "R&B Divas: L.A.".[21] In early 2013, Jones began a touring with Alison Carney and Maria Freeman as her new lineup of En Vogue, entitled En Vogue to the Max.[22][23][24] Jones later lost the right to use the "En Vogue" name[25] and embarked on a solo career, with her debut single "Didn't I" premiering in 2014,[26] she later had to file for bankruptcy due to the lawsuit and debt.[27]

In July 2014, En Vogue signed to Pyramid Records;[28][29] in November 2014, they released An En Vogue Christmas. In the same month, Robinson threatened to sue Lifetime if they aired An En Vogue Christmas;[30] in December 2014, En Vogue released three singles: "Emotions", "A Thousand Times", and "O Holy Night", which were featured in the Lifetime movie An En Vogue Christmas

2017: Electric Café and touring[edit]

En Vogue's seventh full-length studio album, Electric Café,[31] will be released during the fourth quarter of 2017[32] and include contributions from Raphael Saadiq, Dem Jointz as well as the production team Foster & McElroy.[33] Electric Café will be an eOne Music release[34] and have a Worldwide physical and digital release on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify,[35] the promotional single, "Deja Vu", was released on April 4, 2016 [36] followed by the May 2, 2017 release of the buzz-single "I'm Good".

For the Love of Music Tour was the sixth concert tour by En Vogue and was announced on February 8, 2017.[37] The European tour launched on April 6, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland and concluded in Bremen, Germany on April 25.[38]

Members[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Discography[edit]

Tours[edit]

  • Born To Sing Tour (1990)
  • Funky Divas Tour (1992)
  • EV3 Tour (1997)
  • En Vogue Live! (2005)
  • En Vogue: 20th Anniversary Tour (2010–11)
  • For The Love of Music (2017)

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Tank Girl Model Cameo appearance
Batman Forever Girls on the corner Cameo appearance
2014 An En Vogue Christmas Themselves Main role

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Episode
1993 In Living Color Themselves Episode: "Stacy Koon's Police Academy"
A Different World Charity, Faith, Henrietta, Hope Episode: "Mind Your Own Business"
Roc The Downtown Divas 3 episodes
Sesame Street Themselves "Sesame Street's 25th Birthday: A Musical Celebration"
1995 Sesame Street Themselves Episode: "Elmopalooza"
1997 The Wayans Bros. Themselves Episode: "I Was En Vogue's Love Slave "

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biography – En Vogue Billboard.com. Retrieved on February 17, 2015
  2. ^ "Who Run The World? The Top 10 Best Selling Girl Groups Of All Time". MadameNoire. 27 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Remember En Vogue? Well they’re BACK!". Metro. 17 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Ring in 2016 with En Vogue". Fox10tv.com. 20 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Hickson, Ally. "Why Aren't These Women In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?". 
  6. ^ En Vogue | Music Artist | Videos, News, Photos & Ringtones | MTV. MTV.com
  7. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (25 December 1999). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. – via Google Books. 
  8. ^ "Top 10 Girl Groups Of All Time". Billboard. 
  9. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/pop-shop/girl-group-week/6070107/top-40-girl-group-songs-of-all-time
  10. ^ Inc, RealNetworks,. "RealPlayer with RealTimes – Download RealPlayer Free". 
  11. ^ "Don't think I can make it. By Denzil Foster, Thomas McElroy, Will Townsend, Pharoah Davis, Warren Robinson & Andre Zachary part 2 – song, music – Copyright Info". Faqs.org. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  12. ^ "En Vogue – No Fool, No More". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  13. ^ "2005 Issue of R&B Showcase Magazine features article on Gil www.rhythmandbluesshowcase.com to order". heartfeltshowbiz.com. 
  14. ^ "En Vogue My Lovin' You're Never Gonna Get It on KTLA". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  15. ^ "New Music: En Vogue – "I’ll Cry Later" (Radio Rip) « Pop Addicts". Popaddicts.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-21. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  16. ^ "Dawn Robinson on Twitter". Twitter. 
  17. ^ "Twitpic – Share photos and videos on Twitter". TwitPic. 
  18. ^ TMZ Staff (1 April 2013). "Celebrity Justice: En Vogue Legal War Settled... Losers Stripped of Name". TMZ.com. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  19. ^ En Vogue Performs at B.B. Kings in NYC Parlé Mag Online. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  20. ^ Heirs to the Throne Official Twitter Page Twitter.com. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  21. ^ Kelly Price, Chante Moore, En Vogue's Dawn Robinson Among 'R&B Divas: LA' Cast Billboard. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  22. ^ CANCELLED: En Vogue to the Max starring Maxine Jones Archived 2013-05-03 at the Wayback Machine. Seven Venues. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  23. ^ Maxine Jones Appeals En Vogue Decision BET News. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  24. ^ EnVogue performs half-time at the Detroit Piston's game on Monday March 18th Twitter.com. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  25. ^ "Maxine Jones: Why En Vogue Broke Up & Why She'll Never Work With Them Again – RumorFix – The Anti Tabloid". RumorFix – The Anti Tabloid. 
  26. ^ Maxine Jones: Why En Vogue Broke Up & Why She’ll Never Work With Them Again. You Know I Got Soul. Retrieved on February 17, 2015
  27. ^ Maxine Jones I Gotta Have 'En Vogue' Again 'Cause I'm Broke As a Joke. TMZ. Retrieved on September 9, 2014
  28. ^ En Vogue | Pyramid Records. Pyramid Records. Retrieved on September 1, 2014.
  29. ^ En Vogue Vocal Outtakes for New Album "Electric Café". Youtube.com. Retrieved on December 25, 2014
  30. ^ Dawn Robinson threatens to sue Lifetime over En Vogue movie. The Grio. Retrieved on November 23, 2014
  31. ^ Editor, Brennan Williams Pop Culture; Post, The Huffington (2016-12-02). "En Vogue Dish On Their Music Comeback And Female Empowerment". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-12-28. 
  32. ^ "Electric Cafe Update". 
  33. ^ "En Vogue Interview on WGN TV". 
  34. ^ "Platinum-Selling Trio En Vogue Signs Worldwide Deal with Entertainment One". 
  35. ^ "En Vogue’s Cindy Herron-Braggs, Forever a Funky Diva". 
  36. ^ "En Vogue Grammy nominated R&B/Pop vocal group". www.envoguemusic.com. 
  37. ^ "For the Love of Music Tour release" (PDF). 
  38. ^ "En Vogue announce For the Love of Music Tour". 

External links[edit]