Expose has more Top 10 singles than any female group since the Supremes, whose chart reign ended some 20 years ago.

But success has not necessarily equated respect.

The group’s lineup–New Yorker Ann Curless and Angelenos Jeanette Jurado and new member Kelly Moneymaker–still struggles against the notion that they’re a producer’s fantasy, another of the faceless girl groups that pop music seems to demand.

Curless takes issue with that, saying that the vocalists have developed a larger identity, one she expects will fully blossom on the group’s new, self-titled Arista album, which has already spawned the single “I Wish the Phone Would Ring.”

“Perhaps we started out that way,” Curless says. “Initially, we were not expected to take off and have an individual identity. But over the past few years, people are not seeing us as voices behind a producer. We have had so much more input on this record and have spent more time working on our craft as vocalists.”

Grammy-winning songwriter Diane Warren contributed four tracks to the new album, which continues the hook-laden pop stylings found on such past Expose hits as “Point of No Return” and “Tell Me Why.” When vocalist Gioia Bruno had to depart the group because of throat problems, Moneymaker was recruited after a round of tape auditions from varyingly talented wanna-bes.

“There are a lot of singers that perceive themselves to be better than they really are or their tapes reflect,” Curless says, laughing. “We were looking for someone with a deep, dark sound like Gioia had. Kelly embodies that.”

Expose will hit the road in mid-March.

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