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Born to Sing (En Vogue album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Born to Sing
Studio album by En Vogue
Released April 3, 1990
Recorded August—December 1989
Genre R&B[1]
Length 50:59
Label Atlantic
En Vogue chronology
Born to Sing
Remix to Sing
Singles from Born to Sing
  1. "Hold On"
    Released: February 23, 1990
  2. "Lies"
    Released: June 27, 1990
  3. "You Don't Have to Worry"
    Released: October 31, 1990
  4. "Don't Go"
    Released: March 21, 1991

Born to Sing is the debut studio album by American vocal group En Vogue. It was released by Atlantic Records on April 3, 1990 in the United States. Conceived after their contribution to band founders Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy's 1988 compilation project FM2 for Atlantic,[2] it was chiefly produced by Foster and McElroy, with additional contribution coming from Hughie Prince, Don Raye, and former The Independents members Marvin Yancy and Chuck Jackson. Musically, Born to Sing contains a range of contemporary genres, blending a mix of soft hip hop soul, pop, contemporary early-1990s R&B, rap, and new jack swing.

Upon release, the album received generally positive reviews from music critics, who complimented the band's vocal performances and their commercial appeal as well as Foster and McElroy's modern production. It became a commercial success as well. While initial sales were slow, the album reached the top thirty of the US Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling over 1.7 million copies in the United States. Born to Sing experienced similar success in the United Kingdom and Canada, where it was certified silver and gold respectively.

The album produced four major single releases, including "Lies", "You Don't Have to Worry", and their debut song "Hold On", all of which peaked to number-one on Billboard's Hot R&B Songs chart. At the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards, the full album earned a nomination in the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals category. Born to Sing also garnered a Best R&B/Soul Album – Group, Band or Duo at the 1991 Soul Train Music Awards, while "Hold On" received the award in the Best R&B/Soul Album – Group, Band or Duo category, and won the Billboard Music Awards for Top R&B Single.


In the late-1980s, Oakland-based production and songwriting duo Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy were looking for singers to sing on their 1988 compilation project FM2 for Atlantic Records.[2] During the audition process, they conceived the idea of a modern-day girl trio in the tradition of The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, The Ronettes and other commercially successful female bands which had flourished in the late 1950s and early 1960s.[3] Foster and McElroy envisioned an entertainment unit with interchangeable but not identical parts in which every member would qualify to take the lead on any given number.[2] Thus, their plan was to recruit singers who possessed strong voices, noticeably good looks, and intelligence.[4] Approximately 3000 women attended the auditions held in 1988,[2] with Dawn Robinson, Cindy Herron, and Maxine Jones making the final cut.[5] Originally conceived as a trio, Foster and McElroy decided to create a quartet after hearing Terry Ellis audition whose plane had been late from Houston, Texas.[6] At first, they selected the band name 4-U but soon shifted to Vogue, ultimately settling on En Vogue, upon learning that another group had already claimed the Vogue moniker.[7]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune2.5/4 stars[8]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[9]
Robert Christgau(neither)[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[11]

Born to Sing received generally positive reviews from music critics. In his review for AllMusic, Jose F. Promis rated the album four stars out five, calling the work "a winner" though remarking that he felt tracks such as "Just Can't Stay Away" and "Part of Me" were duds.[1] Los Angeles Times writer Dennis Hunt found that "unlike most female groups, these four R&B singers can really sing– and do some passable rapping too [...] En Vogue admirably performs a batch of mostly well-crafted ballads and medium-tempo songs. Grating, dissonant vocal blends do spoil a few otherwise strong songs."[9] BBC Music's Daryl Easlea called Born to Sing "immediate and infectious. The group’s vocal blend and succulent choice of songs was designed for maximum commerciality, a silky antidote to the gangsta rap that was then so prevalent in the US."[12]

Spin magazine writer Kevin Westenberg felt that "those girls are some of the bad-dest things around; they are phenomenal in harmonizing. That's the kind of stuff you don't even hear anymore. You used to hear it in the Moonglows or the Five Keys. As a matter of fact, I can't think of a girl group of that era that could sing that perfect."[13] Jan DeKnock, writing for The Chicago Tribune, found that "throughout the ups and downs of this promising but ultimately frustrating album, it's evident that each voice in the new four-woman group was clearly born to sing. And at times, [...] En Vogue's tasty harmonies are supported by an equally intoxicating groove. But then there are such wasted offerings as "Hip Hop Bugle Boy," a silly 54-second "updating" of the `40s classic "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"; and "Party," a one-minute rap that goes nowhere."[8] The Rolling Stone Album Guide wrote that, "what carried Born to Sing wasn't the vocalizing so much as Foster and McElroy's slick New Jack grooves."[11]

Chart performance

In the United States, the album peaked at twenty-one on the Billboard 200 and reached the third spot on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.[14] It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in June 1990 and platinum by October that same year.[15] Born to Sing was ranked 53rd on the Billboard 200 year-end chart,[16] and also ranked eleventh on the R&B Albums year-end chart.[17] Within its first two years of release, it sold 1.7 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[18] In Canada, the album peaked at number 30 on the Canadian RPM Singles Chart during the week of September 1, 1990.[19] On March 28, 1991, Born to Sing was certified gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), denoting shipments of over 50,000 copies.[20]

Track listing

  • Denzil Foster
  • Thomas McElroy
  • Foster
  • McElroy
  • En Vogue
  • Foster
  • McElroy
3."Lies" (featuring Debbie T.)
  • Foster
  • McElroy
4."Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"
  • Don Raye
  • Hughie Prince
5."Hold On"
  • Foster
  • McElroy
  • En Vogue
  • Foster
  • McElroy
6."Part of Me"
  • Foster
  • McElroy
  • En Vogue
  • En Vogue
  • Foster
  • McElroy
7."You Don't Have to Worry"
  • Foster
  • McElroy
  • Foster
  • McElroy
8."Time Goes On"
  • Foster
  • McElroy
  • En Vogue
  • Foster
  • McElroy
9."Just Can't Stay Away"
  • Chuck Jackson
  • Marvin Yancy
10."Don't Go"
  • Foster
  • McElroy
  • Foster
  • McElroy
11."Luv Lines"
  • Foster
  • McElroy
  • En Vogue
  • Foster
  • McElroy
12."Waitin' on You" (Bonus track on CD only)
  • Foster
  • McElroy
  • Foster
  • McElroy


Credits are taken from the album's liner notes.[21]

Managerial and imagery
Instruments and performances
Technical and production
  • Produced and arranged – Denzil Foster, Thomas McElroy
  • Assistant engineers – Bob Fudjinski, John Jackson, Lynn Levy, James Williamson, Erik Wolf
  • Composer – Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones, Dawn Robinson
  • Engineers – Steve Counter, Dale Everingham, Brian Gardner, Ken Kessie, Jeff Poe
  • MasteringBernie Grundman



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[20] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[27] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[15] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c Promis, Jose F. "allmusic ((( Born to Sing > Review )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  2. ^ a b c d Szabo, Julia (January 31, 1993). "Sound of Style". The New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  3. ^ Considine, J.D. (April 12, 1991). "Harmony comes easily to En Vogue". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  4. ^ Berkman, Meredith (June 5, 1992). "En Vogue rise to the top". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Trebay, Guy (April 1, 1994). "Pillow Talk". Vibe. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  6. ^ "Holding On". Vibe. October 1, 1997. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  7. ^ Capretto, Lisa (September 9, 2016). "En Vogue Are 'So Glad' They Didn't Use Their Original Name". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  8. ^ a b DeKnock, Jan. "Review: Born to Sing". Chicago Tribune (June 28, 1990): pg. 7
  9. ^ a b Hunt, Dennis (1990-06-17). "In Brief: : *** EN VOGUE, "Born to Sing," Atlantic.: Albums are rated from five stars (a classic) to one star (poor)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: En Vogue". Retrieved 2012-06-16.
  11. ^ a b The new Rolling Stone album guide - Google Books. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
  12. ^ Easlea, Daryl. "BBC Review". BBC Music. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  13. ^ Westenberg, Kevin (September 1, 1990). "Neo-Soul Review". Spin. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  14. ^ "allmusic ((( Born to Sing > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  15. ^ a b "American album  certifications – En Vogue – Born to Sing". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2018-02-03. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  16. ^ a b "Billboard 200: Year End 2000". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  17. ^ a b "R&B/Hip-Hop Albums: Best of 1990". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  18. ^ Hunt, Dennis (June 21, 1992). "Off to a Fast Start and Making a Supreme Effort". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Top RPM Albums: Issue 1326". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Canadian album  certifications – En Vogue – Born to Sing". Music Canada. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  21. ^ "allmusic ((( Born to Sing > Credits )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  22. ^ " – En Vogue – Born to Sing" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  23. ^ " – En Vogue – Born to Sing". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  24. ^ "En Vogue | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  25. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  26. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  27. ^ "British album  certifications – En Vogue – Born to Sing". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2018-02-03. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Enter Born to Sing in the search field and then press Enter.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 July 2018, at 22:10
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