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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Whatever Happened to Exposé?

Okay, so by the time I finish this Sunday Jukebox entry, Sunday will pretty much be almost over.  However, I still want to write one because I had such a good response with the Kim Wilde one I wrote last week.  So, I came to the decision that I would do the same thing for every Sunday in July.  Take a look at a singer or band who hasn't released new music in a while, and find out what they're doing now.

This time around, we're going to take a look at a band that went through many different looks and phases.  When this freestyle girl group first appeared on the scene in 1984, they were just starting out and had recorded a couple of singles.  By 1986, the three original members had all been replaced by three new female singers and they dominated the charts during the late 1980s.  And when the 1990s came, one of those members was sidelined due to an illness and was replaced with yet another member!  You almost needed a score card to keep up with the changes!

Such is the story of the group known as Exposé.

Now, back in 1984, freestyle music was just starting to be played in music clubs.  And in case you don't know what freestyle music is, it is essentially group that relies heavily on keyboard riffs, catchy lyrics, and drum machines.  It was quite popular in the 1980s, and was the genre that included such groups as The Cover Girls, Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam, Sweet Sensation, and Seduction.

But one could say that Exposé was the band that kicked off the freestyle movement.  The early beginnings of the band started in 1984 when a Miami disc jockey named Lewis Martineé wanted to form a band made up of three girls that could sing.

After a lengthy talent search, the three girls that were hired to form the group that would come to be known as Exposé were Sandra Casañas, Alejandra Lorenzo, and Laurie Miller - though they weren't initially known as Exposé at first.  At the time the group was founded, they called themselves X-Posed.  And shortly after the group was founded, they released the single below.

That song was called "Point of No Return", and it did very well on the Billboard Hot Dance Play charts in 1985.  A second single, "Exposed to Love" was released later that year, and anticipation grew as the band was set to cut their first record.

But as the production of the record began to come together, something very odd happened.  All three original members of the group were cut from the band and replaced with three new members!  Reports vary on what really happened, but depending on who you believe, it was either that two girls were fired and one quit, all three were fired, or all three left on their own accord.  Add the fact that Arista Records - the record company that signed the group to a recording contract - felt that the three original members lacked charisma and star power.  Based on that information, I would say that something big must have happened for a band to change all of its members, yet keep the same band name!

At any rate, Sandra Casañas was replaced by California-born Jeanette Jurado.  Alejandra Lorenzo was replaced by Italian-born, Jersey raised Gioia Bruno, and Ann Curless took over Laurie Miller's spot. 

Amusingly, the group remade the single "Point of No Return" in 1987, and it peaked at #5 on the Billboard Charts!

But as sad as it must have been for the original members of the band to be let go, it did seem like it was the right choice as the new Exposé dominated the charts throughout the rest of the 1980s.  Between 1987 and 1989, the group released a total of seven consecutive Top 10 hits on the Billboard Charts, ranging from the freestyle classic "Come Go With Me" to the sultry "Let Me Be The One" to the social commentary song "Tell Me Why".

And of course, the group's biggest hit, peaking at #1 in February 1988.

ARTIST:  Exposé
SONG:  Seasons Change
ALBUM:  Exposure
DATE RELEASED:  November 1987

Yeah, there's something about "Seasons Change" that I find very nice.  Maybe it has to do with the group's perfect singing voices.  Maybe it has to do with the bittersweet video.  Maybe it has to do with the killer saxophone solo played by Euge Groove.  Whatever the case, with songs like this, I can see how Exposé made it big - with the group landing a coveted performing spot on Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve '90, airing on December 31, 1989.

PERSONAL TRIVIA:  Rockin' New Years Eve '90 was the first year I stayed up past midnight, so I likely watched that performance!

But little did the band know that just eight months after that performance, the band would change their line-up yet again, though not as drastically as they had years earlier.

Sadly, the reason why was almost a career ender for one of the girls.  During Exposé's summer tour, Gioia Bruno had developed throat problems which made her unable to reach any high notes, and as the summer progressed, her voice grew hoarser.  It was later determined that Gioia had developed a tumor inside of her throat, which prevented her from singing.  Luckily, the tumour was benign, but it left Gioia unable to sing a note, and it caused her to even have difficulty talking.  With Gioia's singing voice silenced, she was forced to leave the band.  To replace Gioia, singer Kelly Moneymaker was brought in to fill the void.  And in a way, it turned out to be a good thing because by 1992, the band was ready to embark in a new direction with their sound as well.

With singles such as "I Wish The Phone Would Ring" and "I'll Never Get Over You (Getting Over Me)", the new Exposé embarked in a more adult direction, trying to compete with Wilson Phillips.  And for a while, the band did well on the adult contemporary charts.  However, by 1995, the group was let go from Arista Records after three albums, and the members all went their separate ways.

So, whatever happened to Exposé?

Well, as far as the original three members go, they embarked on solo careers - the most successful being that of Alejandra Lorenzo, who had a couple of dance hits.  Tragically, Sandra Casañas was found dead at her home in December 2008 at the age of 46, with the cause of death being linked to an epileptic seizure.

Jeanette Jurado, Ann Curless, and Kelly Moneymaker each recorded some solo singles - in the case of Moneymaker, she released two full length albums - and all three settled down and got married and had children.  In the case of Kelly Moneymaker, she fell in love with former "Days of our Lives" actor Peter Reckell.

And as of 2006, Jurado, Curless, and a fully healed Gioia Bruno reunited as Exposé and continue to sing at festivals and clubs all over the world.  And, just to show that there were no hard feelings, Moneymaker is still a part of the band, subbing for Gioia Bruno whenever she cannot perform.

So, that's the exposé on Exposé!

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