Remember “Don’t Let Go”? How about “Hold On”? Or “Free Your Mind”? We sometimes need reminding that En Vogue is the girl group behind all those ’90s anthems, and 30 years after their debut album Born to Sing, the band is still going strong. Named one of the top 10 girl groups of all time by Billboard, En Vogue released their latest album Electric Café in 2018 and have been performing across the country ever since. SheKnows recently caught up with En Vogue about how recording is different now than it was in the ’90s, and to find out what’s next for these powerhouse ladies.
While the original four members of En Vogue were Terry Ellis, Dawn Robinson, Cindy Herron, and Maxine Jones, SheKnows exclusively spoke to Ellis, Herron, and Rhona Bennett (who joined the group in 2003) at the Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Coca-Cola hosted Marquee Moments Home for the Holidays Concert. The women reflected on their 30+ years in the music industry: what’s changed, and what’s stayed the same.
Herron started simply: “The process is shorter now,” she told SheKnows. “We didn’t go to a studio [for our last album]. We recorded in his [producer Denzel Foster’s] house. He set a microphone up in a bedroom and he would sit in another room with his computer. We also didn’t have to spend as much time doing takes because so many producers want to use autotune.”
“To be honest, I kind of like it when they nudge us into perfection,” Herron admitted. That being said: “If you rely on autotune too much, it can make you lazy…It doesn’t keep your ears as sharp and when you sing live, you gotta be able to sing in pitch.”
From the screaming reaction of the audience at the Atlanta show, we can confirm that Herron and the other ladies have no problem singing on pitch in a live setting. And while the technology may have changed over the years, En Vogue was always about more than perfect pitch — it was the energy of their songs that grabbed us (though of course, the stunning vocals were a bonus).
Creatively speaking, then, we were curious how much En Vogue’s process had changed. According to Herron, the heart of how they write their songs has stayed more or less the same since the ’90s: “We’ve always been very involved in the creative process. We spend a lot of time together kicking around ideas and writing.”
As for life outside of their world on-stage: What does that look like? Ellis is apparently an avid crafter, while Bennett is focusing on a new venture: her life-coaching school Personal Power University. “Building my [life coaching] school and being there for the students that are a part of it is a major thing for me,” Bennett told us, adding: “I write books as well.”
While En Vogue hasn’t released new music for a few years they have remained in the spotlight and are happily plotting their next move. “Next year is our 30th [anniversary], so we are in the process of planning something for that,” Ellis shared (tragically, she couldn’t give us any details).
Like all ’90s stars, Ellis, Bennett, and Herron are figuring out their new identity and feeling out who they are now, decades after they burst onto the scene. Ellis gave the best description of En Vogue’s current status: “We are seasoned but not finished,” she told SheKnows. In other words: Stay tuned.