Prince paid tribute to late singer Vanity at his gig in Melbourne last night (February 16).
As reported, former Prince protégé Denise Matthews passed away at a hospital in Fremont, California on Monday. The Canadian-born singer was better known as Vanity, a member of girl group Vanity 6. She died aged 57 from kidney failure.
Prince is currently touring Australia and playing a series of solo concerts where he performs with nothing more than his piano. He made repeat references to Vanity during Tuesday night’s gig at the Prince at State Theatre, and said “I just found out a little while ago that someone dear to us has passed away, so I’m going to dedicate this song to her” before ‘Little Red Corvette’.
News Corp Australia reports that he acknowledged that “it’s a little heavy for me tonight” while talking to the audience and also told a story about how he once ordered a bodyguard to throw Vanity in a swimming pool.
“Her and I used to love each other deeply,” he is quoted as saying. “She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be. 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.”
Vanity 6’s 1982 hit ‘Nasty Girl’ was written and produced by Prince, who mentored Matthews during her early career. The song topped the Billboard dance charts.
Following one album with Vanity 6, Matthews released two solo albums (1984’s ‘Wild Animal’ and 1986’s ‘Skin On Skin’) on Motown before retiring from music after becoming a born-again Christian.
Matthews published her autobiography Blame It On Vanity in 2010.