En Vogue 2004
En Vogue 2004: Cindy Herron, Terry Ellis, Rhona Bennett

 

Oakland that's where funk'n'soul is at and where En Vogue's story begins. When Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy were in Club Nouveau (#1 hit single 'Lean On Me' in 1987) they had the idea to form a girls group. Last sight of a good soul act had been the Pointer Sisters - Denny and Tommy wanted to change that. What they needed were four strong female individuals who could not only sing together but also be friends. All the girls within the group were supposed to sing lead and background vocals. Tommy and Denny wanted to write the songs and produce. In addition they wanted to support the group like a good coach supports his team. They only had to find the right team. Terry Ellis, Dawn Robinson, Maxine Jones and Cindy Herron were chosen - each of them with a strong character and a golden voice. En Vogue was born.

The voices of these four girls would not only complement one another, the girls would also become very good friends. Because all of them were featured on each song, trouble was out of reach. En Vogue started to rehearse and recorded the debut album "Born To Sing" which was released in 1990. The album delivered four number one R&B chart singles: "Hold On", "Lies", "You Don't Have To Worry" and "Don't Go". Due to the fact that the album reached platinum status within a short time, the group decided to release "Remix To Sing" in 1991, an EP with remixes of their hit singles.

Thomas McElroy and Denzil Foster
T. McElroy & D. Foster

En VogueEn Vogue's second album "Funky Divas" would make them superstars worldwide. The album went directly to number one of the Billboard charts and would later be certified 4 times platinum and garnered 5 Grammy nominations. "Funky Divas" produced three top ten singles "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)", "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" and "Free Your Mind."

It was at the 1992 MTV Music Awards when En Vogue premiered their hit song "Free Your Mind" and won 6 MTV Video Awards. "My Lovin'..." and "Free Your Mind" were two of the most played videos that year. In 1993, they were honoured with the "Soul Train Entertainer Of The Year" Award and an American Music Award for "Best Soul Album of the Year". In 1993 En Vogue also released the EP "Runaway Love" and the single of the same name won an American Music Award. The EP also included the hit single "Whatta Man" (feat. En Vogue) from Salt'N'Pepa's album 'Very Necessary'. When En Vogue took a break in 1995 Terry Ellis used the time to release her solo album 'Southern Gal'.

Pictured left: Dawn Robinson, Maxine Jones, Terry Ellis, Cindy (Herron) Braggs


In 1996 En Vogue had another hit single with "Don't Let Go (Love) from the "Set It Off" soundtrack. This song was also included on the group's next album "EV3" in 1997. Three singles were released from this album which went platinum again. The title of the album indicated that it was En Vogue's third album and if one looked at the album cover, that only three members remained. Dawn Robinson had left the group to start a solo career. First she would join the group Lucy Pearl though. She released her first solo album "Dawn" in 2002 and supported her husband Dre Allen on his 2003 album and is currently working on her second solo album.

En Vogue took a longer break after their third album and were back with the hit single "Riddle" in 2000. The album "Masterpiece Theatre" followed. Although the album didn't chart like En Vogue's other albums it's one of their finest recordings. There is a very classical approach to most of the songs - "Sad But True" might be the best example. In 2001 Maxine Jones decided to leave the group and was replaced through Amanda Cole. With this new line-up En Vogue recorded the Christmas holiday album "The Gift of Christmas" which was released in 2002. Because the album was released on an independent record label it didn't get the promotion En Vogue once had with the major labels. Nevertheless it's one of the better Christmas albums around.

Pictured right: Cindy Braggs, Terry Ellis, Amanda Cole

En Vogue

A new member was added to En Vogue in 2003 - Rhona Bennett replaced Amanda Cole who decided to leave again. Rhona - whose voice can be compared to Whitney Houston's - already released her solo album "Rhona" in 2001. The album was produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins. Somehow this album is difficult to obtain but is all worth the price and proves that Rhona is a good addition to En Vogue.

En Vogue 2003 In December 2003 En Vogue were touring Europe as one of the Night of the Proms headliners (other headliners: Huey Lewis, Toto). Due to the fact that Cindy Braggs took a little break Maxine Jones joned the group for the European NOTP tour dates. En Vogue's set, backed by a classical orchestra and choir, was very well received on the Proms tour. Especially the songs "Free Your Mind" and "Sad But True". Those who couldn't attend these concerts should get hold of the 2003 Night of the Proms CD. There has also been a TV broadcast of one of the German shows - more info @ www.notp.com.

Pictured left: Rhona Bennett, Terry Ellis, Maxine Jones


En Vogue - Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron and Rhona Bennett - recorded the new album "SoulFlower" at the end of 2003. Although "Losing My Mind" had been released as test single in December 2003 to adult urban contemporary radio stations (and received good airplay), the single to introduce the new album is "Ohh Boy". The single displays a new freshness that En Vogue fans have long been waiting for.

"SoulFlower" is idependently produced by En Vogue and includes several outstanding tracks. Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy once again helped to produce and did a great job. There is a soulful feeling to all of the songs on this album, which justifies the album title. "Ohh Boy" (co-written by Kisha Griffin) is surely the right choice for the first single and songs like "Million Different Ways" or the uplifting "New Day Callin'" underline the albums quality. Rhona Bennett proves to be a good addition. Her vocals go along well with Terry and Cindy's vocals. No need to cry for a return of the old En Vogue and wait for better times to come - "SoulFlower" has it all.

From the press release: Billed as their most soulful release ever, the album features songs laced with sensuality, heartbreak, healing and love. "This album gives a 2000 twist to the R&B and soul of the 70's," says group co-founder and producer Denzil Foster. "The same way music began to manifest itself with the arrival of such groups as Cameo and Atlantic Starr in the late 70s, En Vogue has found a way to bridge that gap between R&B and neo-soul." In addition to Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy, the group also worked with hot new producers such as "Trackheads" -- Rashaun Holiday and Sauce, Tez Morgan and Phillip Scott.

En Vogue

Above: Terry Ellis, Cindy Braggs, Amanda Cole
In winter 2004/05 En Vogue's first ever DVD/CD set has been released in Germany. The DVD/CD features a concert from 2002 originally recorded for the Tom Joyner Morning Show. The concert features Cindy Braggs, Terry Ellis and Amanda Cole and includes such En Vogue classics as "Hold On", "Don't Let Go" and "Free Your Mind". En Vogue also present a medley of their favorite songs by other female artists - one being "Respect" by Aretha Franklin, which is not mentioned in the accompanying booklet though. Then there are two Christmas songs from En Vogue's Christmas album - which they were promoting at that time. "Merry Christmas" and "That's What Christmas Means To Me" do carry a special Christmas feeling - never before have Christmas songs been so soulful. By the way, you will not find "That's What Christmas Means To Me" in the liner notes. Instead the song is identified as "Addictive (Truth Hurts)" - only God knows what was on the mind of the DVD producers here, possibly they didn't know the title. But that's the booklet only and En Vogue's performance cannot be spoiled by that.

Eventhough the concert was recorded in the early morning hours En Vogue present high quality entertainment and it is breathtaking how this earlier (and most times underrated) En Vogue line-up continues to keep the high standards En Vogue set from the beginning of their career.

In addition to the wonderful concert the DVD is filled with special features. There are several interviews with Terry, Cindy and Amanda who give inside information never available before. Most interesting is an interview with En Vogue's manager David Lombard and a snipped from an earlier interview with Thomas McElroy and Denzil Foster. Then there is backstage footage with En Vogue rehearsing in a shower before concert early in the morning or when En Vogue rehearse with their band - a lot of fun stuff indeed. There is also lots of private video footage from several shows En Vogue attended promoting their Christmas album ("Live with Regis & Kelly", "BET Tonight", ...). Last but not least, an up to date discography and a band history complete the package.

This DVD - which is out of print - is all worth the price if you can get it, because the producers also included an extra CD with the whole concert on it. This DVD/CD set is certainly a dream come true for En Vogue fans and highly recommended to everyone who has always liked this outstanding Bay Area group. As a matter of fact the DVD/CD set was released in Germany only. It should still be possible to find copies of this DVD/CD set on the internet.

The original four members of En Vogue reunited at the end of 2005 to perform at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors Awards - performing "Whatta Man" together with Salt-N-Pepa. For some time it looked like the old En Vogue would reunite and record a new album. There was even a new website that announced this event. In the end it didn't happen though and Dawn Robinson left again. Eventually the newly build website disappeared also.

Nevertheless En Vogue are still going strong. The four members - see picture on the right - kept on touring throughout 2006/2007. They also recorded a single with the Belgian singer Natalie which is entitled "Glamorous" and has been quite successful so far. In addition En Vogue are also working on a new album which is hopefully available this year.


Cindy Herron, Rhona Bennett, Terry Ellis, and Maxine Jones

 

Discography

  • 1990 Born To Sing (Atlantic)
  • 1991 Remix To Sing EP (EastWest Records)
  • 1992 Funky Divas (EastWest Records)
  • 1993 Runaway Love EP (EastWest Records)
  • 1997 EV3 (EastWest Records)
  • 2000 Masterpiece Theatre (Elektra Entertainment)
  • 2002 The Gift Of Christmas (Discretion Entertainment)
  • 2004 Soul Flower (33rd Street Records)

    Born To SingEn Vogue
    Born To Sing

    (Atlantic 1990)
    Party -- Strange -- Lies -- Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy -- Hold On -- Part Of Me -- You Don't Have To Worry -- Time Goes On -- Just Can't Stay Away -- Don't Go -- Luv Lines -- Waitin' On You

    En Vogue: Dawn Robinson, Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones

    Remix To Sing EPEn Vogue
    Remix To Sing - EP

    (EastWest Records 1991)
    Hold On (Hip Hop Remix) -- Lies (New Jack Remix) -- You Don't Have To Worry (Club Mix) -- Strange (House Remix) -- Time Goes On (Dance Remix) -- Silent Nite (Happy Holiday Mix)

    En Vogue: Terry Ellis, Dawn Robinson, Maxine Jones, Cindy Herron

    Funky DivasEn Vogue
    Funky Divas

    (East West Records 1992)
    This Is Your Life -- My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get it) -- Hip Hop Lover -- Free Your Mind -- Desire -- Giving Him Something He Can Feel -- It' Ain't Over Till The Fat Lady Sings -- Give It Up, Turn It Loose -- Yesterday -- Hooked On Your Love -- Love Don't Love You -- What Is Love -- Thanks/Prayer

    Later editions of the CD have Runaway Love and Whatta Man as bonus tracks.

    En Vogue: Cindy Herron, Terry Ellis, Dawn Robinson, Maxine Jones

    Runaway Love EPEn Vogue
    Runaway Love - EP

    (EastWest Records 1993)
    Runaway Love (E.P. Version feat. FMob) -- Whatta Man (Salt-N-Pepa feat. En Vogue) -- Hip Hop Lover (Hip Hop Remix) -- Desire (Dancehall Remix) -- What Is Love (Club Mix) -- Runaway Love (Extended Version feat. FMob)

    En Vogue: Dawn Robinson, Terry Ellis, Maxine Jones, Cindy Herron;
    Salt-N-Pepa: Cheryl 'Salt' James, Sandy 'Pepa' Denton, DeDe 'Spinderella' Roper

    EV3En Vogue
    EV3

    (EastWest Records 1997)
    Whatever -- Don't Let Go (Love) -- Right Direction -- Damn I Wanna Be Your Lover -- Too Gone, Too Long -- You're All I Need -- Let It Flow -- Sitting By Heaven's Door -- Love Makes You Do Thangs -- What A Difference A Day Makes -- Eyes Of A Child -- Does Anybody Hear Me -- I've Got Your Gun

    En Vogue: Maxine Jones, Cindy Herron Braggs, Terry Ellis

    Masterpiece TheatreEn Vogue
    Masterpiece Theatre

    (Elektra Entertainment 2000)
    Riddle -- No No No (Can't Come Back) -- Falling In Love -- Suite Intro -- Love U Crazay -- Sad But True -- Love Won't Take Me Out -- Whatever Will Be Will Be -- Suite Outro -- Beat Of Love -- Latin Soul -- Work It Out -- Those Dogs -- Number One Man

    En Vogue: Maxine Jones, Cindy Braggs, Terry Ellis

    The Gift of ChristmasEn Vogue
    The Gift of Christmas

    (Descretion Entertainment 2002)
    Oh Christmas Tree Greeting Listen -- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus -- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas -- Jingle Bells (Euro Mix) -- Snowy Nights -- My Christmas -- Merry Christmas Baby -- This Christmas -- That's What Christmas Means to Me -- With My Honey -- Oh Holy Night -- What Child Is This -- What Child Is This (Vocal Version) -- Jingle Bells (Rock Version) -- Jingle Bells (Instrumental Version)

    En Vogue: Cindy Braggs, Terry Ellis, Amanda Cole

    Soul FlowerEn Vogue
    Soul Flower

    (33rd Street Records 2004)
    Losin' My Mind -- Ez-A-Lee -- Ooh Boy -- All You See -- Dissed Him -- Ooh La La -- Piece Of My Love -- Stop -- Heaven -- Everyday -- Nearly Lost -- Million Different Ways -- Careful -- How Do I Get Over -- New Day Callin'

    En Vogue: Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron, Rhona Bennett

     

    DVD

    Live in Birmingham, AlabamaEn Vogue
    Live in Brimingham, Alabama
    DVD + Audio CD

    (SPV 2004)
    DVD:
    My Lovin' (Never Gonna Get It) -- Whatta Man -- Free Your Mind -- Merry Christmas -- Medley: Best Of My Love/I Heard It Through The Grapevine/Respect/Lady Marmalade/Tell Me Something Good/Free/Square Biz -- Giving Him Something He Can Feel -- That's What Christmas Means To Me -- Just Can't Stay Away -- Don't Let Go -- Hold On

    Recorded live at the Alabama Fairgrounds, Fairplex Arena, Birmingham, Alabama on December 6, 2002; running time: 61'34

    Special features: Backstage (16'24) -- Interviews (54'50) -- Privacy (34'28) -- History -- Discography -- DVD Credits -- German subtitles (can be switched off)

    DVD released in Germany - NO Region Code (plays worldwide!!!), Total Duration: 167 minutes, PAL 4:3, Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Stereo

    Audio CD:
    My Lovin' (Never Gonna Get It) -- Whatta Man -- Free Your Mind -- Merry Christmas -- Medley: Best Of My Love/I Heard It Through The Grapevine/Respect/Lady Marmalade/Tell Me Something Good/Free/Square Biz -- Giving Him Something He Can Feel -- That's What Christmas Means To Me -- Just Can't Stay Away -- Don't Let Go -- Hold On

    En Vogue: Cindy Braggs, Terry Ellis, Amanda Cole
    En Vogue's band: Roman Johnson (keyboards), Fred Clark (guitar), Walter Minko (keyboards), James Strong (bass), Clarence Ross (programmer), Jerohn Garnett (drums)

    Out of print!
    Try
    eBay
    GEMM
    ...

     

    PersonnelYears with En VogueAdditional Information
    Terry Ellis1990-2007released solo album in 1995
    Maxine Jones1990-2001; 2003-2007Left the group in 2001 but re-joined for Night Of The Proms in 2003
    Cindy (Herron) Braggs1990-2007 
    Dawn Robinson1990-1996; returned for a few appearances in 2005recorded with Lucy Pearl (2000), released solo album afterwards (2002)
    Amanda Cole2002/03replaced Maxine Jones
    Rhona Bennett2003-2007replaced Amanda Cole

     

    Further Links:

  • En Vogue @ MySpace
         All the latest En Vogue news and updates.

  • En Vogue @ Wikipedia
         En Vogue's entry @ Wikipedia.

  • En Vogue @ Christmas
         Website to promote En Vogue's Christmas album.

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