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They answered with an album that tackled funk, hip-hop, rap, hard rock, reggae, and a bevy of other styles with aplomb, scoring a Grammy nomination and several hits.
In the wake of Funky Divas the group seemed to be everywhere, achieving the coveted "crossover" audience that has eluded many artists lumped in the R&B category; in January of 1993 they backed up President Bill Clinton's brother Roger on the song "A Change Is Gonna Come" during inaugural festivities, putting their musical stamp on what looked to be a harmonious new era.
En Vogue struck the singers and their manager, David Lombard, as an appealing variation.
Born to Sing appeared on the Atlantic label in 1990; the single "Hold On" reached the top of the charts, uniting R&B, hip-hop, and pop audiences and getting substantial play in dance clubs, where deejays remixed it into numerous configurations.
"We tried to make En Vogue very womanish, with a very sophisticated flair," choreographer Frank Gatson told the New York Times.
"But we didn't want to make them slutty." The finalists for the project were San Franciscan and Miss Black California Cindy Herron, transplanted Californian Maxine Jones, Texan Terry Ellis, and Connecticut native Dawn Robinson.
We love each other." And in her interview with Seventeen, she gave a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes life En Vogue's fans dream about: While on tour, she said, "We hang out, eat junk food, and watch the shows from the night before." In 2004, En Vogue (now composed of Ellis, Herron and Bennett) released Soul Flower on independent label 33rd Street Records.
It seemed a joyous coincidence, then, when the four not only converged at the FM2 auditions, but beat out the competition to become the sought-after stylish vocal quartet. She heard me humming something one day and wanted me to do it again, and I did.
Funky Divas made numerous critics' best lists and garnered a 1993 American Music Award for soul/R&B album of the year.
The group went on to more television appearances, including guest spots on In Living Color and Saturday Night Live.
The next single, "Lies," was also a hit, and by the time "You Don't Have to Worry" entered heavy rotation the album was assured of platinum sales.
Born to Sing also included a contemporary dance version of the swing classic "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company C)" and a reworking of Natalie Cole's "Just Can't Stay Away." Atlantic compounded the album's momentum with creative marketing: A special edition of Born to Sing modeled on a Vogue magazine spread and including promotional materials went out to press, radio, and larger retailers, and University of California, Los Angeles, film student Tarsem was hired to give the video for "Hold On" a more artsy feel than is usually found in conventional dance-diva videos.