En Vogue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the American R&B group. For a definition of the term "en vogue", see the Wiktionary entry en vogue.
En Vogue
Origin Oakland, California, United States
Genres
Years active 1989–present
Labels Atlantic, EastWest, Discretion, 33rd Street, Rufftown, Pyramid
Members Terry Ellis
Cindy Herron
Rhona Bennett
Past members Dawn Robinson
Maxine Jones
Amanda Cole

En Vogue is an American R&B girl group whose original line-up consisted of Terry Ellis, Dawn Robinson, Cindy Herron, and Maxine Jones.[1] Formed in Oakland, California in 1989, they 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 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 by 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 departing again. In 2009, the original members once again reunited for their "En Vogue: 20th Anniversary". Shortly after the tour, Robinson and Jones departed from En Vogue to pursue solo careers, with Bennett rejoining the group as a trio.

En Vogue has sold more than 20 million records worldwide to date, and are ranked as the 18th most successful artist/band of the 1990s by Billboard magazine.[2] The group has won seven MTV Video Music Awards, three Soul Train Awards, two American Music Awards, and received seven Grammy nominations.[3]

Recording history[edit]

1989–91: 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 of Foster and Mc Elroy envisioned a modern-day girl group in the tradition of the 1950s/1960s female trios. The blueprint was based on the plan of recruiting singers who possessed strong voices, noticeably good looks, and intelligence. Auditions were held in 1988, with Herron, Jones and Robinson making the final cut.[4] 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.[5] 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 being one of the best selling albums of the year, 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 were featured as an opening act on Luther Vandross' 1993 tour. Among the numerous countries toured were England, Germany, the Netherlands and France which confirmed 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 were featured vocalists 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."

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.

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

In 1998, En Vogue recorded "No Fool No More" 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 debuted at No. 67 and 33 on the Billboard 200 and R&B Albums Charts respectively. The first (and only) single, "Riddle," 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, original member Maxine Jones left the group to focus on her family. As a result, Amanda Cole joined the group. Ellis, Herron and Cole released a holiday album, The Gift of Christmas. Soon after the holiday album, Cole too left the group and was replaced with Rhona Bennett. Meanwhile, Robinson's first solo CD Dawn was released on January 29, 2002. During the latter part of 2003, En Vogue toured Europe with Maxine Jones rejoining the group to fill the place of Cindy Herron, who was on maternity leave.

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 albums two singles: "Losin' My Mind" and "Ooh Boy", however, failed to chart. Soon after promotion had finished on this album, Maxine Jones returned to En Vogue, turning the group back into a quartet for the first time since 1996. The group teamed with Boyz II Men for select concert dates during the summer of 2004. That same year En Vogue graced the cover of R&B Showcase magazine.[6]

In 2005, after an eight-year absence, 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]

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.[7] 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.[8] In December 2011, Dawn Robinson left En Vogue once again.

2012–2014: 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 begin their own En Vogue with two new members and would be touring, releasing solo albums and potentially another group album. During this time, they added new member Shaunté Usual to their lineup and shot a photoshoot.[9][10] 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).[11]

In late 2012, Robinson and Jones announced that they would be starting a new group called "Heirs to the Throne".[12][13] 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.".[14] In early 2013, Jones began a touring with Alison Carney and Maria Freeman as her new line-up of En Vogue, entitled En Vogue to the Max.[15][16][17] Jones later lost the right to use the "En Vogue" name[18] and embarked on a solo career with her debut single "Didn't I" premiering in 2014.[19] She later had to file for bankruptcy due to the lawsuit and debt.[20]

2014: Recent projects and lawsuit[edit]

In July 2014, En Vogue signed to Pyramid Records and began recording a new studio album entitled "Electric Cafe".[21][22] 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".[23] 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

In February 2015, Rufftown Entertainment filed a lawsuit against En Vogue for breach of contract. Rufftown owner Rene Moore is seeking $310 million from the group.[24]

Discography[edit]

Main article: En Vogue discography

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1992 Themselves Cameo appearance
1995 Tank Girl Model Cameo appearance
Batman Forever Girls on the corner / prostitutes Cameo appearance
2014 An En Vogue Christmas Themselves Main role

TV appearances[edit]

Year Title Role Episode
1993 In Living Color Themselves "Stacy Koon's Police Academy"
A Different World Charity, Faith, Henrietta, Hope "Mind Your Own Business"
Roc The Downtown Divas "Joey in Love"
"To Love and Die on Emerson Street: Part 1"
"To Love and Die on Emerson Street: Part 2"
1994 Sesame Street Themselves "Sesame Street's 25th Birthday: A Musical Celebration"
1995 Sesame Street Themselves "Elmopalooza"
1997 The Wayans Bros. Themselves "I Was En Vogue's Love Slave "

Tours[edit]

  • Funky Divas Tour (1992)
  • EV3 Tour (1997)
  • En Vogue Live! (2005)
  • En Vogue: 20th Anniversary Tour (2008–09)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biography - En Vogue Billboard.com. Retrieved on February 17, 2015
  2. ^ En Vogue | Charts. Billboard.com
  3. ^ En Vogue | Music Artist | Videos, News, Photos & Ringtones | MTV. MTV.com
  4. ^ Real.com - Article - En Vogue
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ - Reference - En Vogue in R&B Showcase Magazine
  7. ^ "En Vogue My Lovin' You're Never Gonna Get It on KTLA". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  8. ^ "New Music: En Vogue – "I’ll Cry Later" (Radio Rip) « Pop Addicts". Popaddicts.com. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  9. ^ https://twitter.com/dawnrobinson_/status/249178864088129536
  10. ^ http://twitpic.com/awewjv
  11. ^ TMZ Staff (1 April 2013). "Celebrity Justice: En Vogue Legal War Settled... Losers Stripped of Name". TMZ.com. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  12. ^ En Vogue Performs at B.B. King's in NYC Parle Magazine Online. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  13. ^ Heirs to the Throne Official Twitter Page Twitter.com. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  14. ^ Kelly Price, Chante Moore, En Vogue's Dawn Robinson Among 'R&B Divas: LA' Cast Billboard. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  15. ^ CANCELLED: En Vogue to the Max starring Maxine Jones Seven Venues. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  16. ^ Maxine Jones Appeals En Vogue Decision BET News. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  17. ^ EnVogue performs half-time at the Detroit Piston's game on Monday March 18th Twitter.com. Retrieved on May 11, 2013
  18. ^ http://rumorfix.com/2014/09/maxine-jones-en-vogue-broke-up-and-why-shell-never-work-with-them-again/
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ Maxine Jones I Gotta Have 'En Vogue' Again 'Cause I'm Broke As a Joke. TMZ. Retrieved on September 9, 2014
  21. ^ En Vogue | Pyramid Records. Pyramid Records. Retrieved on September 1, 2014.
  22. ^ En Vogue Vocal Outtakes for New Album "Electric Cafe". Youtube.com. Retrieved on December 25, 2014
  23. ^ Dawn Robinson threatens to sue Lifetime over En Vogue movie. The Grio. Retrieved on November 23, 2014
  24. ^ En Vogue Sued for Millions After Label Flip. Billboard.com. Retrieved on February 17, 2015

External links[edit]