Exposé

Exposé is an American  vocal group. Primarily consisting of lead vocalists Ann Curless, Jeanette Jurado, and Gioia Bruno, the group achieved much of their success in the late 1980s and early 1990s, becoming the first group to have four top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from their debut album, including their 1988 #1 hit “Seasons Change”.

The group was popular in dance clubs, mainstream Top 40 and adult contemporary charts in the United States. The group actively toured and recorded music from 1985 to 1995, then retired from recording and public performances until 2003, and currently tour today.

History
Formation of the group and original members (1984–1986)

Exposé was initially formed in 1984 when Lewis Martineé, a Miami disc jockey and producer, decided to form a dance-based group. Working with his partners Ismael Garcia and Frank Diaz at Pantera Productions, talent scouts hired Sandra Casañas (Sandeé), Alejandra Lorenzo (Alé), and Laurie Miller as the group’s lineup, under the title X-Posed. The next year, the trio recorded “Point of No Return” for Pantera Records as a 12-inch vinyl single, which became a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. The song helped to introduce a still-popular genre of music that became known as freestyle, which often features keyboard riffs, a sing-along chorus, and electro funk drum-machine patterns in the music arrangement. The success of “Point of No Return” quickly led Exposé to sign with Arista/BMG Records, which promptly assumed distribution of the 12-inch vinyl single. A year later, Exposé recorded and released its second club-dance Latin freestyle 12-inch single, titled “Exposed to Love”. These songs were released during the period when radio began airing continuous mixes of House/Club/Dance songs in major markets. As such, Exposé realized continued success, including a club tour to key cities. Impressed with the performance of the two singles and its sound, Arista granted approval for the group to record an album.

Personnel changes (1986)

Shortly thereafter, Casañas left the group to pursue a solo career, and Lorenzo quit to pursue other ambitions; they were replaced by Jeanette Jurado and Gioia Bruno. Before the completion of the group’s debut album, Miller left the group due to personal and business problems and began a solo career; she was replaced by Ann Curless.

Lorenzo returned to the dance charts with the Vendetta Records releases “I Wanna Know” in 1988, and “Stop Me if I Fall in Love” in 1990, while Miller evolved into a headling performer frequently showcasing her talents on luxury cruises with a more intimate jazz style, and formed her own entertainment company called Xica productions. Casañas later resurfaced as a solo artist (Sandeé) and released a solo album, Only Time Will Tell, which garnered the club hits “You’re The One”, “Love Desire”, and the Clivilles & Cole-produced bassline-heavy hit “Notice Me”. She continued to tour actively in dance clubs and Freestyle shows, until her death on December 15, 2008 of a brain seizure at the age of 46. All three original members later contributed vocals for songs on the Miami group Will to Power’s 1988 album of the same name.

Exposure (1986–1988)

In February 1987, the new lineup of Exposé released its debut album, Exposure, on Arista Records. Notably, unlike many classic girl groups, Exposé alternated lead vocals among its members.

Led by the huge pop/dance hit “Come Go with Me”, which reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the group solidified its freestyle music connection. During the summer of 1987, a re-recorded version of “Point of No Return” was released, with Jurado performing lead vocals, and it too topped out at #5 on the Hot 100. While the initial distribution of Exposure to suppliers contained the original 1984 version of that song, subsequent pressings contained the new vocal version; this has led to the original pressings of the album being considered a collector’s item.[3] “Let Me Be the One”, a mid-tempo R&B track with Bruno on lead vocal, garnered significant R&B support and reached #7 on the Hot 100. The group’s biggest hit occurred in February 1988 with the #1 Hot 100 single, “Seasons Change”. Along with that came a Soul Train Award nomination for Best New Artist; television appearances on American Bandstand, Solid Gold, Showtime at the Apollo, and The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers; and the group was tapped to be the opening act for Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam during its national tour. Exposure remains one of the most successful dance albums ever released, reaching triple platinum status.

Exposé also performed backing vocals on Kashif’s 1987 Arista/BMG Records album, Love Changes, on the track, “Who’s Getting Serious?”

During the group’s peak, Exposé endured legal issues behind the scenes. Similar to the girl groups of the 1960s, the members of Exposé had a restrictive contract, and there were reports in the media of backstage battles. According to Bruno, they were only paid $200 (US) per show. Reportedly, the record label intervened to keep peace between the members and the producers. Despite this intervention, the members filed a lawsuit and ultimately settled their legal case for a renegotiated contract.

What You Don’t Know (1989–1990)

The group’s second album, What You Don’t Know (1989), was certified Gold. The success of Exposé in the U.S. led to similar girl groups being created by producers and existing ones being signed to major labels, such as Company B, The Cover Girls, Sweet Sensation and Seduction. Shortly after the success of the singles “What You Don’t Know” (#8) and “When I Looked at Him” (#10), the release of the single “Tell Me Why” made music history for the group when they became the first girl group to have 7 back-to-back Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. “Tell Me Why” addressed the issue of street gangs and youth and rewarded the group with additional praise for its socially-conscious lyrics. “Your Baby Never Looked Good in Blue” and “Stop, Listen, Look & Think” followed soon afterwards. “Stop, Listen, Look & Think” was also included in the movie The Forbidden Dance (1990), a theatrical film released during the Lambada dance craze of that period.

Their continued success granted Exposé their first headlining tour and continued television appearances on Soul Train, The Pat Sajak Show, The Byron Allen Show, and the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve broadcast on December 31, 1989, among others.

The popularity of the group also increased overseas to countries such as Japan, where Bruno, Curless and Jurado appeared in a few music video-style television commercials in 1989 for Takara, a Japanese soft drink. The music used in the Japanese commercials was the song “What You Don’t Know” with slightly different lyrics in the chorus than the regular version.

With the commercial appeal of Exposé’s first two albums, Arista Records released the music-video compilation, Video Exposure, on VHS and laser disc formats in 1990. It contained music videos for the first eight singles released by Bruno, Curless and Jurado—from “Come Go with Me” through “Your Baby Never Looked Good in Blue.”

Exposé performed backing vocals on Barry Manilow’s 1990 Arista album Because It’s Christmas on the track “Jingle Bells” and also appeared in Manilow’s long-form music video of “Because It’s Christmas.” This version of “Jingle Bells” was patterned after the 1943 Bing Crosby/Andrews Sisters version.

In August 1990, while touring with Exposé, Bruno began having throat problems—later linked to a benign tumor on her vocal cords—and which caused the group to cut the tour short. The group took time off from their schedule in hopes that she would recover. Ultimately, Bruno lost her voice, and could not sing at all for several years—she also had to keep talking to a minimum. She was replaced by Kelly Moneymaker in 1992.

Exposé (1992–1995)

After Kelly Moneymaker joined Exposé, the group released their self-titled, third album Exposé, which integrated more adult contemporary material in addition to their established freestyle, house, R&B, pop, and love ballad repertoire. It was the first album to use producers besides Martineé, with Clive Davis taking over as Executive Producer and Martineé only doing four songs. The album was aimed to demonstrate musical growth for the group as well as to compete with the success of Wilson Phillips, who had great success in 1990 with their debut album.

The third album was not as commercially successful as their previous two, but still achieved Gold status, and several singles fared better on the adult-contemporary charts. They did manage to crack the U.S. Top 40 pop chart with “I Wish the Phone Would Ring” and “I’ll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me”, a top ten pop single which also reached #1 on the adult contemporary chart. Subsequent releases “As Long as I Can Dream” and “In Walked Love” featured Curless in the lead vocal spotlight. A final, club-marketed single in 1995 saw the release of the group’s first remake. “I Specialize in Love” featured Curless and Jurado on lead with Moneymaker supporting lead vocals towards the song’s conclusion. The original version was performed by Sharon Brown and was a top ten hit on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in 1982. Among their television appearances during this period include Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Les Brown Show, and the Brazilian actress/singer children’s show Xuxa.

In 1995, Exposé recorded the Diane Warren-penned song “I’ll Say Good-Bye for the Two of Us,” which appeared on the soundtrack of the film Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home with Jurado performing lead vocals; that same year, the song was issued on its Greatest Hits. The song is distinctive for the group as Jurado performs solo without backing vocals.

Label inactivity and solo projects

Toward the end of 1995, Arista dropped the group, and the members disbanded at the beginning of 1996 to pursue their own projects. However, over time, labels licensing music from the Sony/BMG group have released two other variations of greatest hits collections, as well as a collection of popular remixes from their 12-inch singles, including the extended version of the original 1985 “Point of No Return”.

After the group broke up, Jurado performed in the stage play Mad Hattan and supplied vocals for contemporary jazz guitartist Nils and Safe Sax; Moneymaker married soap opera actor Peter Reckell and released two solo albums (Like a Blackbird and Through These Basement Walls); Curless engaged in song writing, supplying vocals to several club/dance projects and also provided academic instruction on music and the music business. Eventually, both Jurado and Curless married and had children, temporarily retiring from performing.

In 1997, Bruno fully recovered from her throat tumor and began singing again. After a small stint with the band Wet, she worked on a solo career focused mostly on dance-oriented material. Her first album, Expose This, was released in the spring of 2004.

The reuniting of Exposé

After a long hiatus, on August 1, 2003, the lineup of Curless, Jurado, and Moneymaker, reunited briefly for a reunion concert at the Mid State Fair in Paso Robles, California. Members of Safe Sax, including music director/guitarist Steve Fansler, were part of the live band Exposé used. While there was a desire to do more shows, according to Moneymaker they were unable to gets things active at that time.

In 2006, Jurado announced on MySpace they had signed with a major booking agency, and Bruno announced she was back with Exposé for the first time in 15 years Moneymaker has stated she might fill in for any member who may not be available, or to appear with the full lineup on special occasions.

On October 21, 2006, Exposé kicked off its tour at the American Airlines Arena in Miami for the Freestyle Explosion concert, with the lineup of Curless, Jurado, and Bruno. On November 29, 2006, at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino Northern Lights Theater in Milwaukee, Exposé performed a 16-song show with a full band led by Steve Fansler, marking their first full concert together with Bruno since 1990. The group performed sets at freestyle concerts and gay pride events throughout the country. The group continues to perform at special events throughout the United States, including venues such as Epcot and Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den. Gioia Bruno, Ann Curless and Jeanette Jurado during a live concert in Palmdale, CA on July 14, 2007

In December 2007, Jurado, Bruno, Curless, Moneymaker, Paradise Artists, and Walking Distance Entertainment were named as defendants in a lawsuit by Crystal Entertainment & Filmworks (I & II). At issue was the trademark licensing agreement for the rights to use the name Exposé. The first case was dismissed without prejudice. The second one went to trial. During the process both Paradise Artists and Moneymaker were dismissed as defendants, and a counter suit was filed against the plaintiffs. On May 26, 2009, the court ruled in favor of the defendants on most counts, finding them only guilty of a contractual breach with the plaintiffs. The court also ruled that the plaintiffs did not prove ownership of the mark, and established that due to the line-up being the same since 1986 (with Moneymaker only replacing Bruno because of her illness) and clear identification of the group members on the albums and with touring, the defendants showed common-law proof of ownership and the “[consumer] goodwill associated with Exposé was with the members”. The court awarded Jurado, Bruno, and Curless exclusive rights to the trademark.

Exposé mentioned this victory, and performed for the first time with Moneymaker as a guest at the LA Gay Pride Festival on June 14, 2009, making it the first time all four core members appeared on stage together.

Discography

* Exposure (1987)
* What You Don’t Know (1989)
* Exposé (1992)

Be Sociable, Share!

Previous post:

Next post:



Powered by Your Love of Freestyle Music
Designed by MGDfx Media Corporation.