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“Legendary” – it’s a status very few groups ever attain. But for 30 years and counting, En Vogue has achieved this pinnacle on nothing but pure talent. And they are not letting up now. Still riding high off the global release of 2018’s Electric Café, their first album in 14 years, En Vogue is literally soaring as Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron-Braggs and Rhona Bennett take the group to even greater heights.
Formed in 1989 in the Bay Area, En Vogue, comprised then of Ellis, Herron, Dawn Robinson and Maxine Jones, began their official takeover in 1990 with their hit single, “Hold On” from their critically-acclaimed debut album, Born To Sing, which reached number one on both the dance and R&B/Hip-Hop charts. Since then, they have sold over 20 million physical albums. More impressively, they have transitioned effortlessly into the digital age, garnering over 30 million streams and 26 million plus YouTube views for their Top 6 hit singles alone, which, in addition to “Hold On,” includes “Free Your Mind,” “Never Gonna Get It,” “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” “Don’t Let Go” and “Whatta Man” (feat. Salt N Pepa).
Doubling down on their En Vogue legacy has yielded tremendous fruit. “Rocket,” their Ne-Yo-penned, Curtis “Sauce” Wilson-produced, lead radio single from Electric Café, which blends the group’s signature harmonies with a futuristic language for romance, became their first Top 10 single in 20 years. To date, the video, playing up the intergalactic love vibe, has nearly 2 million YouTube views.
Their second single, “Reach 4 Me,” a catchy song instructing a lover how to keep the relationship alive, hit the Top 20. The album itself on En Vogue Records, the label formed by Herron and Ellis in 2016 and distributed by eOne Music, reached the Top 20 on Billboard’s independent album chart.
Keeping their sound fresh hasn’t been hard for the trio. “We were just looking for a vibe,” says Herron of their first studio album since 2004. “In the beginning, we were feeling that electronic dance sound, but then the music started to evolve creatively.” Barrett chimes in that “we love the authenticity of hip-hop and the fusion of old school rhythm with a contemporary sound.”
The result has been stunning. In addition to “Rocket,” other standouts include “I’m Good,” written and produced by Raphael Saadiq, as well as “Déjà vu” and “Blue Skies” from the group’s original production duo, Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy and “Have a Seat” featuring Snoop Dogg. Not only sonically pleasing, the album overflows with key messaging about women’s empowerment, self-love and healthy relationships.
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