April 14, 1997 12:00 PM

>En Vogue’s Terry Ellis

STILL-FAB FOUR

Pop fans are fickle, and a hiatus can wreak havoc on the sturdiest career. But En Vogue’s decision to take a three-year-plus break—simply, they say, so that Terry Ellis, 30, could do a solo album (1995’s Southern Gal) and Cindy Herron and Maxine Jones, both 31, could start families—hasn’t had any ill effects. The vocal quartet (Dawn Robinson, 28, is the fourth member) remains as au courant commercially as its name implies: “Don’t Let Go (Love),” their million-selling first single since 1993, reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Ellis spoke to reporter Jeremy Helligar from Los Angeles, where En Vogue is recording its third album, due June 17.

Has anything changed?

It’s really funny looking at Maxine and Cindy and thinking, “Wow, you guys have babies.”

You recorded “Don’t Let Go (Love)” for the soundtrack to the girls-in-the-hood film Set It Off. What did you think of it?

I didn’t like the movie. It made me feel sad because I see enough violence depicted amongst black people, black men especially, and now the same thing has been done to women. It made me realize how much I appreciated Waiting to Exhale. The women had more of a positive role.

How did it feel to have a hit from a movie you don’t regard too highly?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to criticize the work. The artistry was incredible, these girls acted their butts off. I’m just expressing how it made me feel.

Why do you think you stand out among female R&B vocal groups?

[Producers] Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy. That’s where the music comes from. They did a great job picking each of us, which created a wonderful blend.

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