Iconic and trendsetting female powerhouse vocal group En Vogue are back with their forthcoming seventh album Electric Cafe which features the current top 10 Adult R&B hit “Rocket”. This is the trio’s first album in 14 years since Soul Flower. I caught up with founding member Terry Ellis to discuss the album, the group’s journey and much more.
Electric Cafe will be available April 6th.
Terrance: Being part of one of the most iconic female groups of our time, what has the journey been like thus far?
Terry Ellis: Well, the journey for En Vogue still to this day has been absolutely amazing. We’ve been blessed with a lot of success and continued success because here we are about to release our forthcoming record titled, Electric Cafe. We’re really looking forward to that and to continue to work. We can now add to this journey one of the monumental achievements thus far our dresses from the “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” and “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” videos inducted into the American Smithsonian Museum and also the African-American Museum Culture in the Smithsonian.
Terrance: Cool. So with that being said you mentioned Electric Cafe, tell me about that project.
Terry Ellis: Electric Cafe is a project initially we started out brainstorming thinking we wanted to go the EDM route which means Electronic Dance Music and then as we were in the process of creating, the record started to morph and kind of take a life of it’s own so you still have the underlying essence of EDM in the record but it’s definitely your classic R&B music and you’re definitely going to get the classic signature En Vogue harmony. It’s very eclectic. Our first single, “Deja Vu” which was basically a release to tell our fans thank you for waiting so patiently for us. It has this bossa nova feel to it. The whole record has this international global R&B vibe to it, that’s what I would call it and we’re really excited about releasing it and we hope you guys like it.
Terrance: You guys performed at the recent CIAA tournament, what was that like?
Terry Ellis: Performing at the CIAA tournament was absolutely so cool because I am proud to say that I am an Alumni of an HBC. I graduated with a degree in Marketing from Prairie View A&M University so it’s really, really cool it took me back to my school days of being at the games and watching all of the HBC schools come together and celebrate you know in the way that we do as black folks. It felt really, really good and I was super excited and we got a chance to sing the National Anthem and we were honored they even asked us to do it so it was a cool experience.
Terrance: Despite line-up changes along the way, En Vogue never disbanded. Why do you think girl groups disappeared?
Terry Ellis: You know I’m not exactly sure why girl groups disappeared because I think we’re all individuals I can only speak for my group. I think at some point in time when you have a group of members together you have different goals and aspirations and you tend to grow apart. It’s unfortunate but it happens and fortunately my group we’ve been able to continue along with continued success and we wish our other group members who will always be my sisters much success in whatever their endeavors are.
Terrance: Do you see a resurgence with girl groups?
Terry Ellis: I think there’s a resurgence because I think girl groups are such a staple in this industry and I don’t think they will ever go away even when you see one girl group go away, you’re going to see another one that’s coming because I think we’re the fabric of music and the music industry and certainly in the African-American culture.
Terrance: The sophomore En Vogue album, Funky Divas, 25 years later. Can you share any interesting stories or fond memory crafting that record?
Terry Ellis: I remember us being so excited that we even had the opportunity to go in the studio and do another record and have a second chance at it, that’s my most fond memory. I remember us sitting down brainstorming and trying to decide you know, what is it that we want to say? How do we want to represent ourselves and how do we want to represent African-American women and what message do we want to put out there and how do we want to uplift? I remember that most that we wanted to be part of uplifting our culture and so that dictated what went into our songs.
Terrance: You then embarked on a solo career with the Southern Gal album. What was that transition like and is that something you would do again?
Terry Ellis: Embarking on a solo career was kind of scary for me actually, not kind of, but really scary because I’m so used to having my support system which are my girls. I mean they still supported me but I just felt weird being out there on my own. But it was cool because once I started to get kind of comfortable I realized, Wow! This is really great being able to make decisions on my own [laughs]. I didn’t have to consult with three other people so that was really cool just being able to say what I had to say and keep it moving. And then I felt like I started to get my sea legs although I love, love, love being with my group that’s really my preference to be honest with you. I just love being in a girl group and maybe it’s because I’m the fifth of five girls so I just love it and maybe one day I will get around to doing another record eventually one of these days but right now En Vogue is my primary focus and it’s enough for me [laughs].
Terrance: With the rise of biopics, will there be one for En Vogue in the near future?
Terry Ellis: Well, never say never. We have been in conversations about that so I’ll just keep it there and we’ll see what happens.
Terrance: Anything you would like to leave for the readers and fans?
Terry Ellis: Everyone who’s tuned into this interview I’m assuming that you’ve been supporters of En Vogue for 28 years and I just want you guys to know how much we really, really appreciate it and that we don’t take it for granted and we’re excited to share new music with you, Electric Cafe. We hope you love it as much as we loved going in the studio to record it and once again thank you so much for all the support.