This writer was stationed at a military base hidden within the decrepit, depressing Southern California desert. And, let me tell you, only En Vogue could make a desolate and dismal desert look like an enticing vacation destination, as this triumvirate of bronze beauties did in the sizzling and seductive video to their single “Rocket,” the first cut from their new album, Electric Cafe, which was released April 6.
You could sit all day and drink in the striking images the trio cut inside the Georgia Terrace in Midtown Atlanta. The same titillating ingredients that made the En Vogue act a powerful musical cocktail that nourished the soul in the 1990s (and kept this writer sane at Edwards Air Force Base) are still present today: displaying strength (“Hold On”); being seductive and naughty (“Give Him Something He Can Feel”); being champions of men (“Whatta Man” feat. Salt-N-Pepa); illustrating social consciousness (“Free Your Mind” and “Lies.”); being out-of-reach vixens (“My Lovin’/You’re Never Gonna Get It”) and yearning for more from her love (“Don’t Let Go”).
The multifaceted mavens with the killer vocals have always presented a composite of sexiness and classiness, mixed with being fashion forward and topped off with a dash of swag has served them well and enabled them to thrive for nearly three decades. One of the bestselling girl groups of all time returned to the studio and churned out a new album for the first time in 14 years.
The $20M-selling girl group has been performing and touring nonstop for 27 years — a testament to the power of their songs and soothing harmonies that bathes the soul and massages the mind.
“We’ve been touring for 27 years consistently, thanks to the fans, and it’s truly been a blessing,” said Terry Ellis.
The composite of the group has been altered slightly. Gone are original members Dawn Robinson and Maxine Jones. In is the lovely and lithe Rhona Bennett, who’s been with the group for the last 14 years and was a former Mouseketeer alongside Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears.
Cindy Herron, who almost gives you a religious experience with her vocal acrobatics on their first blockbuster hit “Hold On” and most particularly in the soul-searing single “Don’t Let Go,” has changed since she first decorated our TV screens with her beauty. She has a full tribe to contend with in between tourinng.
“I have four children and a husband,” said Herron, who played Omar Epps’ lover in the classic film Juice, opposite Tupac Shakur, also in the 1990s. “I was pregnant on the road. Everytime it was time to go back on the road or do another album, I was pregnant again. So I didn’t want to seem like an absentee mom. I always wanted to balance things, and today I balance. And my husband helps me.”
Ellis, who belted out some super sonic gymnastics on that hit single “Hold On,” said the new international tour, which commences this spring to accompany the new album, Electric Cafe, is the natural evolution of a girl group.
“Life happens …. People don’t understand the anatomy of a girl group,” Ellis said. “What’s most important is that, when you are in a group, but you’re still individuals, you grow. You get older; you get wiser; you have more life experiences. And you have to respect everyone’s desires and life aspirations. And if they want to leave gracefully, then allow them to do that.”
Ellis, blessed with large, hypnotic eyes that can seemingly stare into your soul, said she won’t rule out the original group members returning one day.
“Never say never,” Ellis said with a wink.
She also said the same thing when the subject of a reality show was broached. Herron was steadfast and resolute when she said the group is careful about projects: “It’s not that we haven’t been approached multiple times. But it has to be on our terms. We don’t fit into the typical reality box.”
For now, fans can enjoy the trio and the new, sizzling single “Rocket,” a song reminiscent of their vintage love songs that makes you want to slow dance the night away.