When Renée Neufville and Jean Norris met while attending Temple University in Philadelphia, the pair instantly discovered their duel passion for singing, and began performing together at talent shows and other showcase events around the city. In 1991 Neufville and Norris, not yet a duo, met the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff, which lead to recording their first studio song together. “Ring My Bell” was featured on Hip Hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince‘s fourth studio album, Homebase, which also featured the undisputed, classic summer anthem, “Summertime.”
After adhering to advice given by former Warner Bros. executive Benny Medina, the girls officially became a group and adopted the moniker Zhané, a blend of their first names with a French twist, pronounced “Jah-Nay.”
After meeting Kay Gee from New Jersey Hip Hop trio Naughty by Nature, the duo scored a high-profile slot on Queen Latifah‘s Flavor Unit all-star compilation, Roll With Tha Flava. Zhané’s introduction was ground-breaking as their first single, “Hey Mr. DJ” went on to become one of the most recognized party grooves of all time. The song was released as a separate single and peaked at No. 6 on pop charts, earning the former Temple U classmates a record deal with Motown in 1994.
Rocking baldies and slaying vocals, Zhané’s chemistry was undeniable as the group released their debut album, Pronounced Jah-Nay, producing two more classic hits, “Groove Thang” and “Sending My Love.” Eventually their debut album was certified platinum. During 1995-1996, Zhané continued their reign by collaborating on singles with acts like De La Soul and Busta Rhymes. That year the duo was also featured on soundtracks like Higher Learning and A Low Down Dirty Shame, the latter peaking on the R&B charts, giving Zhané their fourth Top 40 hit.
Zhané released their last studio album, Saturday Night in 1997, which featured a rare Queen Latifah verse on the hit single, “Request Line.” Although it’s been two decades since we’ve grooved with Zhané, members Renée and Jean tease fans with the possibility of reuniting one day by simply stating “you never know.”
Join HERSource as we celebrate the ladies of Zhané during Women’s History Month and groove to their classic hit below.