Singer Prince reportedly paid tribute to the late singer Vanity during a concert in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday.
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) February 18, 2016
According to Us Weekly, the 57-year-old singer opened up to his audience from the stage about his former protege, making it clear to them that dealing with her death was difficult for him.
“I’m trying to stay focused. It’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming.”
Instead of pushing through with his performance without speaking directly about Vanity from the stage, Prince opened up about the intense bond that he shared with Vanity, referring to her as “Denise.”
“Can I tell you a story about Vanity? Or should I tell you a story about Denise? Her and I used to love each other deeply. She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be.”
Prince further opened up about the downside of their relationship as well, including his feelings about the late singer’s overall bold attitude.
“She and I would fight. She was very headstrong ’cause she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”
Nearly three decades ago, in the early 1980s, Prince discovered Vanity and essentially built a girl group around her known as Vanity 6.
Prince dedicates several songs to Denise Matthews, known as Vanity, who died Monday https://t.co/fIIPynMKhA pic.twitter.com/2vWrEoo23t
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) February 16, 2016
How did the story of Prince and Vanity begin?
According to an article published by People in October 1984, the pair’s relationship transitioned from pleasure to business. She reportedly met Prince at the 1980 American Music Awards in Los Angeles. The report states that the “Kiss” singer then called Vanity at 3 a.m. and the couple started dating for several months.
After Prince learned that Vanity could sing, he reportedly invited her to become the main star of a brand new racy all-girl group that he was developing. Vanity 6 quickly became known for such songs as “Nasty Girls” and “Drive Me Wild” with Denise “Vanity” Matthews at center-stage.
— Rick G. Rosner (@dumbassgenius) February 13, 2016
— Metropolitist Online (@Metropolitist) February 17, 2016
According to the People magazine article, Vanity even helped Prince to write the screenplay for the 1984 hit film Purple Rain. The female lead role was apparently based in part on Vanity’s life story, and she was initially slated to play the role instead of actress Apollonia Kotero.
However, things apparently did not end well between Prince and Vanity at that time, so she focused on her careers as a solo singer and blossoming movie actress while Prince moved forward with Apollonia even to the point of changing Vanity 6 into Apollonia 6.
In her interview with People, Vanity claimed that she “needed one person to love” her, but Prince “needed more.” However, she still spoke highly of her former mentor and lover during the same interview.
“I never thought, ‘Oh God, I’m in Prince’s shadow.’ He’d been performing for years and he was my teacher. I miss his humor. I always felt we’d be like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor over the years. I can honestly say I love the kid.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the 57-year-old actress passed away Monday from an abdominal illness and kidney failure.
In addition to his emotional comments, Prince also paid tribute to his former protege and real-life love interest by dedicating his performance of “Little Red Corvette” to her.
According to Entertainment Weekly, when performing his 1985 hit “The Ladder,” Prince replaced the word “Elektra” with “Vanity” in the lyric “Now this king, he had a subject named Electra, who loved him with a passion uncontested.”
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]