This is a group whose singles I must admit passed me by at the time, but in more recent years, I have heard some of them on the radio and really liked them, and I was pleased to have finally caught up with them. Even though they didn’t get particularly huge in the UK compared to similar groups, they did have plenty of hits throughout the 90s.
Zhané (and we’ll get on to the pronunciation of that later) were an American duo consisting of Jean and Reneé (and I do always enjoy a duo). They were in the dance/soul genre, and some of their songs have been favourably compared to the likes of SWV and En Vogue. In September 1993, their debut single “Hey Mr DJ” was released. This reached no. 26 (and this was also their first and only Top Ten hit single in America).
This was followed in March 1994 by “Groove Thang” which reached no. 34 (and was their final single to make the Top 20 in America). Their first two hits are definitely my favourites by them. Around the same time their debut album “Pronounced Jah-Nay” (I do hope that was worth the wait) was released, but this failed to make the Top 75 in the UK.
The singles continued to come though, with varying success. In August 1994 “Vibe” reached no. 67, and in February 1995 “Shame” (which featured in the film A Low Down Dirty Shame) reached no. 66. They had managed to build enough of a reputation to collaborate with some leading rappers though, and this soon returned them to the Top 40. In September 1996, “It’s A Party”, which featured Busta Rhymes, reached no. 23.
And in March 1997 they teamed up with De La Soul for “4 More” which reached no. 52. Then in April 1997 “Request Line” reached no. 22, to become their biggest hit single in the UK. And their album “Saturday Night” just managed to miss making the Top 50. But after this point, they wouldn’t make the Top 40 with any more of their singles.
In August 1997 “Crush” reached no. 44. And in October 1999 “Jamboree”, which featured Naughty By Nature, reached no. 51, and this was their ninth and final hit single in the UK. Zhané split not long after, and I don’t think that they have ever reformed. I don’t recall them making any TV appearances during the 90s either, but keep listening out, because sometimes their songs can turn up rather late at night on BBC 1Xtra, and they’ve still got that funky swing.