En Vogue rose to fame not only for its stunning beauty but also for its vocal talents and originality. Unlike most girl groups, no member was marketed as the “leader” and all of the women shared lead vocal responsibility. En Vogue also offered fans an innovative blend of R&B, pop, rock, rap, and reggae that a fan of almost any musical genre could relate to and embrace.
Assembled in 1988 by the production team of Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy, both former members of Club Nouveau, En Vogue became a defining sound of the ’90s. Foster and McElroy hoped to create a group that would not only excel vocally but also sensually. After holding auditions, they chose Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones, Dawn Robinson, and Terry Ellis for their new group. Originally called For You, the group changed its name to En Vogue to create a more stylish, sophisticated, and sexy elegant image. Since their 1990 debut, they’ve released three full-length multiplatinum albums, one best-selling EP, and a slew of history-making videos that have carried the torch for the ever-fashionable look and sound of one of pop’s most venerated and imitated institutions, the girl group.
Their acclaimed debut disc, 1990’s Born To Sing, spawned three consecutive #1 hits, including the memorable “Hold On.” The album sold a breathtaking three million copies, christening the then-foursome as the new female force to be reckoned with. Their 1992 follow-up album, Funky Divas, is considered a pop and R&B classic and featured the unforgettable smash “My Lovin'(Never Gonna Get It)” “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” and the dazzling “Free Your Mind”, with a video that earned three MTV video award nominations. The album went on to sell more than three million copies and was nominated for five Grammy awards. With their audience clamoring for more, En Vogue released a six-song EP in 1993, Runaway Love, which featured a duet with Salt N’ Pepa called “Whatta Man.” They also completed a sold-out tour with superstar Luther Vandross, which included shows in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and France.
In 1997, their contribution to the Set It Off soundtrack, “Don’t Let Go (Love)” garnered them a #2 hit on Billboard’s Top Singles chart. Soon after Dawn Robinson left the group to pursue a solo career, and in May of ’97 the girls released their third full-length album and Elektra debut EV3. They closed out the century with Best Of En Vogue, a greatest hits collection that capped their incredible first decade. In 2000, En Vogue released Masterpiece Theatre, featuring the hit “Riddle.” In September of 2003 a new member, Rhona Bennett made her debut. Bennett had recorded an album as “Simply Rhona” for Sony in 2001 (which included the hit “Satisfied”), and also had a recurring role on the Jamie Foxx Show. The new trio released Soul Flower in early 2004 on 33rd Street Records.
En Vogue has created its own niche in popular music. Blending styles that spoke to fans of all genres, the women’s stylish, sophisticated presence set them apart from their contemporaries.