“I Really Owe Prince Everything”
Vanity is great as the star of the movie Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon and her album from the soundtrack is a hit.
Vanity is on her own. Now she’s a star in her own right. But when Vanity first started out in the music business, it was Prince who gave her her start. “I really owe Prince everything,” she says. “It’s because of him that I’m where I am today.” And today, Vanity is not only a singing star, but a famous actress as well. She has two hit record albums at the same time. They are Wild Animal and the soundtrack from Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon. The movie in which Vanity stars.
Denise Matthews, later to become Vanity, was born in Niagara Falls, Canada. She was a happy little girl. “My mother says that as a child, I’d run around the house in my diaper pretending that I was singing,” Vanity says. She was into exercise too. “By the time I was 15 years old, I wanted to go into either martial arts or modeling,” she says. “I decided to be a model, and I went to modeling school. I always wanted to prove that I could be a model because I’m not that tall.”
Next came a few small parts in Canadian TV ads and movies. Then Vanity decided to try becoming a singer. In 1983 she met Prince backstage at the American Music Awards. Prince thought that Vanity could be a star. He named her Vanity, moved her to Minneapolis, and helped her rehearse and get an act together. Prince named Vanity’s three-woman singing group Vanity 6. Vanity, Brenda, and Susan, the three members of Vanity 6, made one album and traveled on one tour with Prince. Then Vanity decided to try becoming a star on her own. She left Vanity 6 and started working on her own record album, without Prince’s help.
“Being in a group was wonderful for me,” Vanity explains. “I couldn’t go on all by myself at that time. I needed Brenda and Susan. I needed the backup. I needed that energy to hold me up. But all the time, I had my dream of going solo. And when I decided to do it, the people that understood it the most were my group. They were behind me all the way. Really, being with Prince and Vanity 6 was a great learning experience for me. We parted on good terms and I’m still friends with all of them.” Now that Berry G0rdy’s The Last Dragon is out, Vanity is hard at work on another movie. She’s starring in Never Too Young To Die with actor John Stamos. Vanity will probably make more records, but she’s excited about acting.
“I’m not that great a singer,” she says. “But I think I’m going to be a great actress one day.”