Articles Collected About Denise

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  • #1478
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      Billboard

      Feb 16, 2016

      Prince Pays Tribute to Vanity at Piano and a Microphone Solo Tour Opener

      source billboard.com

      The death of former singer and actress Denise Matthews, better known as Vanity, on Monday coincided with Prince’s Piano and a Microphone solo tour opening show in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday (Feb. 16) and the pop icon was sure to pay his respects to his late protégé and lover. 

      Vanity, Former Prince Protégé & Leader of the Vanity 6, Dies at 57

      Early in his set at the State Theatre, Prince told then audience, “I just found out a little while ago that someone dear to use has passed away, so I’m gonna dedicate this song to her.” He then started into a slow and moving rendition of “Little Red Corvette” that segued in and out of “Dirty Mind” — both songs from the era when they were together.

       

      Prince also reworked his classic track “The Ladder” to replace the name Electra for Vanity’s, singing, “This Prince, he had a subject named Vanity who loved him with a passion, uncontested,” News Corp Australia reports. He also later returned to the stage later for an encore to perform “The Beautiful Ones” from Purple Rain, changing the line “I’m begging down on my knees” to “I’m begging Denise, Denise.”

      “I am new to this playing alone. I thank you all for being so patient,” he said ahead of “The Beautiful Ones.” “I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming … She knows about this one.”

       

      Prince was in an unusually talkative mood Tuesday, as News Corp Australia reports, he continued with some reminiscence, “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. 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.”

      He went on with an anecdote about a fight they had where he had threatened to throw him in the swimming pool but she said he was too little to do it, so he asked his bodyguard Big Chick to do it for him. He said, “I probably shouldn’t be telling this story, but she’d want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her.”

       

      Source: Billboard

       

      #1479
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        Mercury News

        February 25th, 2016

        Union City: Prince protege Vanity funeral closed to public

        By Jim HarringtonMercury News | jharrington@bayareanewsgroup.com

         

        source mercurynews.com

        In this March 22, 1985 file photo, actor Taimak, left, and Vanity arrive at the Century Plitt Theater for the premiere of their film “The Last Dragon,” in Los Angeles. Vanity, a Prince protege who renounced her sexy stage persona to become a Christian minister, has died at age 57. The singer and actress, born Denise Matthews, died Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, at a hospital in Fremont, Calif, said Gisela Hernandez, a spokeswoman for Washington Hospital Health Care System. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing)

         

        The funeral for Denise Matthews — better known as pop vocalist and Prince protege Vanity — is set for Saturday in Union City.

        The funeral was originally “open to the public.” But organizers have changed it to a closed ceremony, due to concerns of too many people showing up in hopes of potentially seeing Prince at the service. Prince announced earlier this week that he is performing two shows on Sunday at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland.

        “After the concerts were announced, we changed (the service) from public to private,” says Roxane Harper, Matthews’ close family friend and co-pastor at Matthews’ church, Jesus Christ for all Nations.

        Harper, who is helping organize the funeral, says she isn’t expecting Prince to show up for the funeral at Union City Apostolic Church.

        “We haven’t heard that he is going to be there,” she says.

        Harper adds, however, how much Prince meant to Matthews.

        “He was the love of Denise’s life,” she says.

        The funeral is held at Union City Apostolic Church, which will accommodate some 1,300 people for the service.

        Matthews died Feb. 15 in Fremont, after a long battle with kidney-related illnesses. The longtime Fremont resident was known for her work in music, which included fronting the band Vanity 6 in the early ’80s, as well as for appearing in such films as “The Last Dragon” and “Action Jackson.”

        She’d leave the entertainment world behind in the ’90s, becoming an ordained minister and devoting her life to serving Jesus Christ.

        In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Jesus Christ for all Nations.

         

        Credit/Source: Mercury News

         

        #1480
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          People.com

          Paul Natkin/Getty; Matt Kent/WireImag

          Vanity and Prince
          Paul Natkin/Getty; Matt Kent/WireImag

           

          Inside Prince’s Love Affair with Vanity, the Inspiration for Purple Rain Who Also Died This Year at 57
          By Kathy Ehrich Dowd•@kathyehrichdowd – People Celebrity – http://www.people.com

          Updated October 5, 2016

           

          [BRIGHTCOVE “21001861” “” “peoplenow” “auto” ]As the world mourns the death of Prince at his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota, fans are also remembering Vanity, the music icon’s onetime protégé and paramour, who died just two months before the music icon.

          Sheila E, who was close to both stars, confirmed Vanity’s death on Twitter on Feb. 15, just before the Grammy Awards. Like Prince, Vanity was 57 when she passed away.

          Prince and Vanity had a sizzling partnership at the height of his fame, with the Minnesota native serving as a mentor for the Canadian-born star.

           

          Vanity’s best-known hit was 1982’s “Nasty Girl,” which was produced by Prince and performed by Vanity 6, the all-girl female pop group she fronted. She later toured with the pop legend, and the pair appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone together in 1983. 

          In 1984, Vanity confirmed to PEOPLE in 1984 that she helped script Purple Rain with the star in Minnesota, and that she was initially slated to play the female lead, a role inspired in part by her own life story.

           

          However, the couple split before filming began, and the role eventually went to Apollonia Kotero. (In the film, her character notably joins an all-girl group named Apollonia 6.)

          “I needed one person to love me, and he needed more,” Vanity told PEOPLE in 1984 of their split.

          The duo met at the American Music Awards in 1980, with Prince later calling her at 3 a.m. The pair dated for several months, and he eventually invited her to Minneapolis to front the racy all-girl group he was forming.

          The pair parted ways in 1983, with the pop star choosing to skip the goodbye party pals threw for her at the famed First Avenue club in Minneapolis. The following year, Vanity said she had no hard feelings.

          “I never thought, ‘Oh God, I’m in Prince’s shadow,’ ” she told PEOPLE. “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.”

          Vanity, whose real name is Denise Matthews, eventually became a born-again Christian and battled health problems for years after 1994 near-fatal overdose severely affected her kidneys.

          Prince paid tribute to his former protégé just one day after her death while performing in Melbourne, Australia, as part of his Piano & a Microphone world tour, dedicated “Little Red Corvette” to Vanity.

          “I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming,” he told the audience, per News Corp Australia Network.

           

          He referenced her frequently throughout the night, with the deeply private star getting uncharacteristically personal.

           

          “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,” Prince reportedly told the crowd. “She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be.

          “She and I would fight,” he continued. “She was very headstrong ’cause she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”

           

          Article credit/source: people.com

           

          #1482
          Archived
          Participant

            This is my honest experience listening to the circling Piano and Microphone tribute show to Vanity, February 16, 2016.

            Track 1- intro

            Track 2- big City/ Ruff enough

            Track 2-3- “LRC/ Dirty mind”- Prince started with the statement  “Someone dare to us has passed away. I would like to dedicate this song to her”. He then gave a heartfelt version of Little Red Corvette and Dirty mind mixed together. You would have thought those songs were love songs the way he sang it. There was such yearning in this rendition. Very touching.

            Track 4- A place in heaven

            Track 5 – Money don’t Matter tonight

            Track 6- wait in vain/ if I was girlfriend

            Track 7- “How come u don’t call me”- At the end of the song you can hear Prince singing “Dear lord bring her back home to me” It was clear he was asking the Lord to bring back Vanity as the lyrics are not a part of the song.

            Track8- The Ladder- “Once upon a time in the land of Sin-aplenty, there lived a king who didn’t deserve to be
            He knew not where he was going, Or where he came from. He had a subject named Vanity
            Who loved him with a passion, uncontested (the rest was a bit muffled, if anyone has his exact words from that part in the song, I would appreciate it. It sounded a little different from the actual lyrics in the song)

            Track 9- 1000 x kisses

            Track 10- When She Comes

            Track 11- satisfied

            Track 12- I love you in me

            Track 13- Sometimes It  Snows In April/ A tease to, “The Beautiful Ones” At the of the song Prince  said,  “I am new to this playing alone. I’m trying to stay focus, its a little heavy for me tonight,— Just keep jamming”

            Track 14- The Beautiful Ones, In the opening of the song Prince states ” She knows about this song” (putting an end to all speculation who that particular song was written about, as he was telling us she knew this song was about her!)  At the end of the song he sings “I’m begging down on my knees, please.. please… Denise” ( I also noticed that he started by saying she knew about this song and ended it by saying her name Denise. It was very emotional. He sang it with such force. He gave it everything.  I hadn’t heard him sing the Beautiful Ones with such meaning in a long time. He then had to leave the stage as he seemed to have been so choked up)

            Track 15- Rasberry beret

            Track 16- Starfish and coffee

            Track 17- paisley park

            Track 18- “Adore” In the middle of Adore, Prince says, “Can I tell you a story about Vanity, or should I tell you a
            story about Denise? Her and I use to love one another deeply.  ( this statement also puts all rumors to rest, for those that ever claimed that Prince didn’t  love Vanity. No one can ever say Prince did not love Vanity again!)  “She loved me for the artist I was, and I loved her for the artist she was trying to be. As much as we loved, we used to fight. ( This is a statement that is widely overlooked and not reported in any article that I came across but he is clearly backing up his statement that they loved each other deeply and shared an intense tumultuous love affair.) “She was very headstrong because she knew she was the finest woman in the world. ( He was clearly aware that she was the finest woman in the world, lol) “She never missed an opportunity to tell u that as well. (He talked about Chick for a bit after that to set up the story) “One day Vanity and I got in a fight. I told her that if she didn’t stop, I was gonna throw her in the pool and she said, you can’t throw me in the pool, you too little, so I said, Chick throw her in the pool! I probably shouldn’t be telling you this story, but I’m sure she would want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her death.”  (Then he went back to Adore. It was telling that he entwined the story about Vanity with the song Adore. It was beautiful and emotional and made me believe that Adore was written about vanity even though I had never thought that before.)  This was just a beautiful tribute and I’m so happy that as fans of Prince and Vanity, we got to hear him express his love for her before he left us..

            #1509
            Admin
            Keymaster

              This is my honest experience listening to the circling Piano and Microphone tribute show to Vanity, February 16, 2016.

              Track 1- intro

              Track 2- big City/ Ruff enough

              Track 2-3- “LRC/ Dirty mind”- Prince started with the statement  “Someone dare to us has passed away. I would like to dedicate this song to her”. He then gave a heartfelt version of Little Red Corvette and Dirty mind mixed together. You would have thought those songs were love songs the way he sang it. There was such yearning in this rendition. Very touching.

              Track 4- A place in heaven

              Track 5 – Money don’t Matter tonight

              Track 6- wait in vain/ if I was girlfriend

              Track 7- “How come u don’t call me”- At the end of the song you can hear Prince singing “Dear lord bring her back home to me” It was clear he was asking the Lord to bring back Vanity as the lyrics are not a part of the song.

              Track8- The Ladder- “Once upon a time in the land of Sin-aplenty, there lived a king who didn’t deserve to be
              He knew not where he was going, Or where he came from. He had a subject named Vanity
              Who loved him with a passion, uncontested (the rest was a bit muffled, if anyone has his exact words from that part in the song, I would appreciate it. It sounded a little different from the actual lyrics in the song)

              Track 9- 1000 x kisses

              Track 10- When She Comes

              Track 11- satisfied

              Track 12- I love you in me

              Track 13- Sometimes It  Snows In April/ A tease to, “The Beautiful Ones” At the of the song Prince  said,  “I am new to this playing alone. I’m trying to stay focus, its a little heavy for me tonight,— Just keep jamming”

              Track 14- The Beautiful Ones, In the opening of the song Prince states ” She knows about this song” (putting an end to all speculation who that particular song was written about, as he was telling us she knew this song was about her!)  At the end of the song he sings “I’m begging down on my knees, please.. please… Denise” ( I also noticed that he started by saying she knew about this song and ended it by saying her name Denise. It was very emotional. He sang it with such force. He gave it everything.  I hadn’t heard him sing the Beautiful Ones with such meaning in a long time. He then had to leave the stage as he seemed to have been so choked up)

              Track 15- Rasberry beret

              Track 16- Starfish and coffee

              Track 17- paisley park

              Track 18- “Adore” In the middle of Adore, Prince says, “Can I tell you a story about Vanity, or should I tell you a
              story about Denise? Her and I use to love one another deeply.  ( this statement also puts all rumors to rest, for those that ever claimed that Prince didn’t  love Vanity. No one can ever say Prince did not love Vanity again!)  “She loved me for the artist I was, and I loved her for the artist she was trying to be. As much as we loved, we used to fight. ( This is a statement that is widely overlooked and not reported in any article that I came across but he is clearly backing up his statement that they loved each other deeply and shared an intense tumultuous love affair.) “She was very headstrong because she knew she was the finest woman in the world. ( He was clearly aware that she was the finest woman in the world, lol) “She never missed an opportunity to tell u that as well. (He talked about Chick for a bit after that to set up the story) “One day Vanity and I got in a fight. I told her that if she didn’t stop, I was gonna throw her in the pool and she said, you can’t throw me in the pool, you too little, so I said, Chick throw her in the pool! I probably shouldn’t be telling you this story, but I’m sure she would want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her death.”  (Then he went back to Adore. It was telling that he entwined the story about Vanity with the song Adore. It was beautiful and emotional and made me believe that Adore was written about vanity even though I had never thought that before.)  This was just a beautiful tribute and I’m so happy that as fans of Prince and Vanity, we got to hear him express his love for her before he left us..

              I don’t have it. Is this on YT? I’d love to listen. And how are you? I am trying to fix some security problems with registration. Hopefully it’s up and ready for public registration before Monday. I read your question about Strange Relationship” on the org but haven’t had time to search it yet. I will look for it later today. I thought I added what she said on my Denise website but didn’t find it. As soon as I do, I will inform you. take care!

              #1510
              Admin
              Keymaster

                I did hear parts from Feb tribute but I think it was about an hour long? I think. I know I heard him talking about the pool and all and yes, the part about the fighting, “as much as we loved we use to fight”. That had to have been something quite intense. I noticed he was looking mad or upset in some of his performances in 82-83.

                #1511
                Archived
                Participant

                  I am doing well, how are you? I hope I didn’t post it in the wrong section. At first I thought this was all the Prince tributes in one place to Denise, that’s why I posted my experience with hearing the tribute here. I don’t think it’s on YouTube. friends online hooked me up with it. I would be happy to send you the link. Where do you want me to send it?

                  #1512
                  Admin
                  Keymaster

                    I am doing well, how are you? I hope I didn’t post it in the wrong section. At first I thought this was all the Prince tributes in one place to Denise, that’s why I posted my experience with hearing the tribute here. I don’t think it’s on YouTube. friends online hooked me up with it. I would be happy to send you the link. Where do you want me to send it?

                     

                    I sent you a “pm” (private message). If you are unsure how to go into the inbox let me know. Oh, and this particular topic is about articles relating to Denise which is still fine since you’re talking about the tribute Prince did regarding Denise. You can always set up a new topic if you wish. As for how I am doing, I’ve been a bit frustrated of late but I’m getting there. :) And thank you for sharing your experience about the tribute. Hugz! I’m going be on and off this site for most of the day today, so I will be able to respond quicker. :)

                    #2313
                    Admin
                    Keymaster

                      News.com


                      Image was obtained from Australia’s News.com website.

                      Prince pays tribute to late girlfriend Vanity in first show on Australian solo tour (February 17, 20166:05am) Source: News.com

                       

                      REMEMBER when musicians became superstars because of their talent?
                      Prince may be the last of his kind.

                      Australia is the surprise first global leg of his Piano and a Microphone solo tour, a tour which didn’t exist a month ago but will be talked about for years.

                      Armed just with a piano and that immense talent, Prince put on the kind of concert you just don’t expect to see from a superstar. It was spontaneous and intimate. It was like a private piano party, just with 2000 people watching. It was pure Prince.

                      His first Melbourne show at the State Theatre was particularly emotionally charged — Prince admitting he’d just found out about the death of Denise Matthews, aka Vanity, his ex-girlfriend from the early ‘80s and protoge when she fronted the band Vanity 6.

                      “Someone dear to us has passed away, I’m gonna dedicate this song to her,” Prince said before playing a touching version of Little Red Corvette with a touch of Dirty Mind — songs from the era when they were together.

                       

                      Prince reworked his classic The Ladder to replace the name ‘Electra’ with ‘Vanity’ — so the lyrics ran “This Prince, he had a subject named Vanity who loved him with a passion, uncontested.”

                      After an encore Prince returned to the stage noting “I am new to this playing alone. I thank you all for being so patient. I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming … She knows about this one.” That introduced a truly incredible version of The Beautiful Ones, another song from the Vanity era (she was the original choice for lead in the Purple Rain movie), the song ending with Prince changing “my knees” for “Denise … Denise”.

                      Unusually chatty and candid, he continued going off script. “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. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong cos she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”

                      Prince then opened up about a fight where he threatened to throw Vanity in the pool. She said “You can’t throw me in the pool, you’re too little”. He then asked his six foot bodyguard Chick to do the dirty work for him.

                      “I probably shouldn’t be telling this story,“ he said, “but she’d want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her.”

                       

                      Image was obtained from Australia’s News.com website.

                      The show mixed hits (Money Don’t Matter 2Nite, If I Was UR Girlfriend, How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore) and covers (Bob Marley’s Waiting in Vain) with deep cuts, including the recently reclaimed 1992 song A 1000 Hugs and Kisses and new tunes Big City, Satisfied and When She Comes.

                      Fan favourite Sometimes It Snows in April had slight touches of Purple Rain in it, while he dusted off I Love U In Me, a b-side from the Batman era — the kind of thing fans dream of hearing.

                      Only Bruce Springsteen puts on these kind of spur-of-the-moment shows where you know every concert will be drastically different.

                      During one song he tapped his feet to make a beat, demonstrating he was wearing shoes that flash and light up, similar to the ones kids have. He may well be the only adult that can pull them off.

                      The show was delightfully loose. “Space is part of the music,” he noted at one point.

                      After an encore Prince asked “Mind if I jam a little?” Not when that jam becomes a medley of Raspberry Beret, Paisley Park, Starfish and Coffee and a jaw-dropping version of Adore, again for Vanity. You really felt you were watching something special, a glimpse into his heart that would never be repeated.

                      The adoring crowd partied like it was 1979 — phones weren’t allowed or used, and there were no media photographers. It lives on only in memory.

                      Prince is obviously a genius, but he’s got another commodity that’s been lost today — mystery. He’s the kind of artist who decides to tour on a whim, then reinvents his catalogue on a piano and blows your mind.

                      It was only the use of an iPad on top of his piano, with lyrics he constantly scrolled through, that reminded you he’s human and uses modern technology too.

                      “Can’t nobody do it like Prince,” he says at one point. Amen.

                      Prince plays two more shows in Melbourne tonight before moving to Sydney and Perth.

                       

                      Image was obtained from Australia’s News.com website.

                       

                      #2314
                      Admin
                      Keymaster

                        TheMusic.com

                         

                        “Distraught” Prince’s Melbourne Show Features Multiple Vanity Tributes

                        Source: Bryget Chrisfield (themusic.com) Feb 17th, 2016


                        This image was obtained from the News.com website.
                        As we wander down St Kilda Road, it must be noted that the Arts Centre spire is lit purple. This is Prince’s second show for the evening and, as we collect our tickets, we’re told audience members left after his previous 6.30pm session “crying and speechless” then tried to purchase tickets for the next sitting. There’s nervous laughter in the foyers and even seasoned concertgoers experience similar anticipation to how they would’ve felt before their first-ever show. Booze can be taken into State Theatre as long as it’s in plastic receptacles, which is unusual for this venue, and we’re told by the usher that our phones cannot be “open” even though the show is yet to start. But audience members still can’t resist the urge to take selfies to post and boast about how close their pricey seats are to the stage.

                        He’s decided to dedicate a few songs to his late mate Vanity (Denise Matthews), hearing the news of her death mere hours ago obviously shaking up his composure.

                        The stage is bathed in a purple wash. There’s a grand piano surrounded by four low tables, which are placed around the periphery of the stage. Each table holds candles of various heights, some in candlesticks. “Open” phones are policed by ushers. It’s 10pm. The lights dim. Our atmospheric intro tape is an excerpt from the Memoirs Of A Geisha film score. The cyclorama comes alive with kaleidoscopic projections. A doorway shape lights up in the centre of the cyc pattern to reveal Prince’s silhouette in all its ‘fro-ed glory. His Royal Purpleness walks forward wearing his own merch (but modified from what’s available to fans). “He’s a fucking skinny cunt,” observes a charmer behind us as the crowd rise to their feet, cheering and applauding. Sure, Prince is of slight build but mind your language around royalty, mate! “Mel-Bourne!” Prince shouts into the mic, stepping away, leaving echoes of his voice behind. Repeat. He takes a seat on the piano stool and opens with The Love We Make. We’re immediately spellbound. “My father showed me how to play piano,” he shares, adding, “I loved my father.” Prince then tells us “Batman” was one of the first songs he learned on piano. Looking like a shaman, Prince asks us to clap along at various times throughout the show. Prince also plays mean air piano.

                         

                        “The first show I was a little distraught.” Prince apologises to those in the house who are back for seconds. “I got some bad news.” But for this concert Prince tells us he’s decided to dedicate a few songs to his late mate Vanity (Denise Matthews), hearing the news of her death mere hours ago obviously shaking up his composure. Little Red Corvette closes out with Prince performing an instrumental segment from Somewhere Over The Rainbow, each note a prayer for his recently deceased former lover/protege. I Wanna Be Your Lover sees His Royal Purpleness instruct, “Let’s stand up, y’all!” and we oblige. Shortly afterwards he instructs, “Siddown!” with a cheeky glint in his eye. No one gives sexy/coy side-eye quite like Prince. How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore coaxes communal goosebumps.

                        Prince twirls and prances off into the wings in search of a breather on occasion like a mischievous imp. After one such pause in proceedings he returns and we notice the soles of his shoes light up red with each step. Many sing along meaningfully to If I Was Your Girlfriend. During The Ladder, Prince changes some lyrics to pay further tribute to Matthews: “Now this king he had a subject named [Vanity]/Who loved him with a passion, uncontested.” Black Muse becomes Raspberry Beret and how anyone departs the auditorium for toilet breaks we’ll never comprehend. Paisley Park lyrics jump out and we hear them as if for the first time thanks to this piano treatment.

                        We score an encore. And as the melancholy descending melody of Purple Rain’s intro commences we draw our collective breath. Prince pours out raw emotion and his high-pitched cries that close out this song are so agonisingly real that it’s hard to watch. Prince stands, kisses fingertips and extends this arm out to us. “Thank you,” he says simply and leaves the stage. It’s 11.20pm.

                        #2315
                        Admin
                        Keymaster

                          RollingStone

                          Prince Pays Tribute to Vanity at Australia Concert
                          “She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be,” singer says of former protégé and girlfriend


                          Source: Daniel Kreps (rollingstone.com) – February 17, 2016
                          Prince paid tribute to his former protégé Denise “Vanity” Matthews throughout his Melbourne, Australia concert Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty

                           

                          Prince paid tribute to his former protégé Denise “Vanity” Matthews at the Melbourne, Australia concert of his Piano and a Microphone tour on February 16th, the day after it was revealed the Vanity 6 singer and his ex-girlfriend had died at the age of 57. “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,” Prince told the audience before performing a solo take on “Little Red Corvette.”

                           

                          Given the time difference between Melbourne and Los Angeles, Prince learned of his protégé’s death just as he was set to take the stage for the first date of his solo tour. Throughout the evening, Prince admitted he was struggling with the news – “I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming,” he told the audience, news.com.au reports – but frequently referenced Vanity in his set list.

                           

                          On Purple Rain’s “The Beautiful Ones,” a song Vanity helped inspire, Prince transformed the lyric “I’m begging down on my knees,” with “My knees” morphing into “Denise.” Later, in “The Ladder,” he changed the name of the song’s Electra to Vanity.

                           

                          Prince also shared anecdotes about the singer over the course of the evening. “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,” Prince said. “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.”

                           

                          Later, Prince told a story about how, during a fight, he threatened to throw Vanity in a pool, only to have Vanity reply, “You can’t throw me in the pool, you’re too little.” Prince then asked his bodyguard Chick to throw Vanity in the pool. “I probably shouldn’t be telling this story, but she’d want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her,” Prince told the audience.

                          #2316
                          Admin
                          Keymaster

                            Huffington Post

                            Prince Had The Right Philosophy On Life And Death
                            Life is short, so let’s party and dance.
                            Source: By Maxwell Strachan (huffingtonpost.com) 04/21/2016


                            Image © Ghetty

                            Prince Rogers Nelson was a singular talent, a musical genius the likes of which we’d rarely seen before and probably won’t seen again. He wrote consistently and fearlessly, always there and always breaking tired conventions until the end.

                            Like the recently departed David Bowie, Prince seemed above the eras in which he worked, a gender-bending, sexuality-questioning revelation of a human being who simultaneously felt from the future and outside of time altogether. “Time is a mind construct,” he once stated. “It’s not real.”

                            He was beautiful and different, stylish and sexy, powerful and inspiring. But above all, Prince was loving. Or maybe more accurately, Prince was love.

                            Artists in general and musicians in particular can be competitive and jealous people. Success for one artist often and understandably is viewed as a minus for another, a sort of zero-sum popularity contest for the admiration of the public that can tear groups and people apart. But Prince never fell into those games. Throughout his career, he championed artists young and old, his love of music so clearly powerful that he was unable to fall into the same jealous patterns so familiar to many of us.

                            In an interview late last year with Entertainment Weekly, Prince in one fell swoop called Joni Mitchell a “genius,” Erykah Badu “hilarious” and “smart,” Kendrick Lamar “the truth” and Janelle Monáe “brilliant.” Prince could and often did seem like a mystery, but if you pulled back the curtain of ambiguity, it was really quite simple: He loved music, and the people responsible for creating it, too.

                            Certainly, he had many more complex messages to convey to the world. But today, as we remember his life, it’s his more easily digestible thoughts on death and how to live the life that comes before it that sticks with me.

                            “Yeah, everybody’s got a bomb,” Prince sang on “1999.” “We could all die any day. But before I’ll let that happen. I’ll dance my life away.”

                            The line is simple, almost comically famous and on its face not particularly revelatory. But while most of us on our better days talk about making the most of life, Prince actually did it, and that’s the difference. He left us today, but when he did, he left us with more than a lifetime’s worth of memories. Most of us can only hope to do the same, but maybe we should try harder to do so, too.

                            Earlier this year, after the death of his former protégé Denise Matthews, also known as Vanity, Prince told a short story about her during a concert in Melbourne, Australia. He had suggested he was going to throw her in a pool during a fight. She suggested he was too small. Eventually, one of his bodyguards did it for him. “I probably shouldn’t be telling this story,” he said, “But she’d want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her.”

                            Prince was right to approach Vanity’s death that way, and we’d be right to adopt that same approach now. When the people we love die, it’s fine to feel pain. But we should struggle to appreciate who we had when we had them. It’s a cliché idea, and I can’t believe I’m writing it, but hey, sometimes clichés just work. As Prince said himself: “Life is just a party, and parties weren’t meant to last.”

                            So f**k it, in Prince’s honor, turn off the computer and dance.

                            #2317
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                              D Listed

                              Prince Paid Tribute To Vanity At His Show In Australia
                              Michael K (DListed) – February 16, 2016

                              This image was obtained from the dlisted.com website.

                              It was an extra sad day for music yesterday. Taylor Swift won Album of the Year at the Grammys, and much more importantly, we lost the artist us 80s kids know as Vanity. Before Denise “Vanity” Matthews made heaven a much more glamorous place, she hadn’t talked to her one-time mentor and piece Prince for a while because she went solo and later went all born again Christian. Even though Vanity and Jehovah’s Sexiest Witness haven’t talked to each other in a while, her death hit him hard in the heart and he spoke about her a few times last night at his show in Melbourne.

                              The Herald Sun says that the hummingbird juice-dipped purple dandelion dedicated “Little Red Corvette” to her. Also, while performing “The Ladder,” he changed the name “Electra” to her name so the lyric went: “This Prince, he had a subject named Vanity who loved him with a passion, uncontested.” And after his encore, he sang “The Beautiful Ones” for her.

                              After an encore Prince returned to the stage noting “I am new to this playing alone. I thank you all for being so patient. I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming … She knows about this one.” That introduced a truly incredible version of The Beautiful Ones, another song from the Vanity era (she was the original choice for lead in the Purple Rain movie), the song ending with Prince changing “my knees” for “Denise … Denise”.

                              Prince also called her the finest woman in the world and told the audience about the time he made his bodyguard throw her in the pool since he’s the size of a butterfly’s clit and couldn’t do it:

                              “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. 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.”

                              Prince then opened up about a fight where he threatened to throw Vanity in the pool. She said “You can’t throw me in the pool, you’re too little”. He then asked his six foot bodyguard Chick to do the dirty work for him.

                              “I probably shouldn’t be telling this story,“ he said, “but she’d want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her.”

                              Prince just couldn’t help himself and had to squirt out a touch of bitchiness with that “never missed an opportunity to tell you that” line. Prince is probably still mad over the fact that anytime he and Vanity were together, she’d be the most beautiful woman in the room instead of him! But Prince usually comes off as cold as the tip of January Jones’ heart in an ice storm, so that was a sweet tribute. I just wish he would’ve went all the way by performing Vanity 6’s greatest unreleased masterpiece “Vibrator.” Eat your heart out:

                              It’s a shame that Prince and Vanity never reunited to turn their skit at the 4:00 mark into a full-on TV show. They were lovahs, partners in musical artistry and the comedy duo of 1983.

                              Note added from princeandvanity.net: The audio content above was posted in the article from dlisted.com. If the content posted is illegal content, please notify us. Thank you in advance.

                              #2318
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                                StarTribune

                                Prince pays tribute to Vanity in emotional Australia tour opener

                                By Chris Riemenschneider (startribune.com) – February 16, 2016


                                This image was obtained from startribune.com

                                 

                                Just as he did in his first of two solo piano shows last month at Paisley Park, Prince got very personal and emotional on the first night of his Piano & Microphone tour in Australia on Monday. In this case, though, the wounds were fresh as he found out before showtime that his ex-girlfriend and early collaborator Vanity had just died at age 57.

                                “I’m trying to stay focused, [but] it’s a little heavy for me tonight,” Prince said to the crowd at the State Theatre in Melbourne, according to a review by News Corp Australia. The Minnesota legend paid tribute to the real-life Denise Matthews throughout the performance, picking out several early-‘80s tunes in dedication to his time with her and at one point changing the dramatic “down on my knees” lyric at the end of “Beautiful Ones” to, “Denise… Denise.”

                                 


                                Image © RollingStone

                                 

                                A native of Niagra Falls, Ontario, Matthews was a model when Prince picked her up in 1981 to lead the all-female, lingerie-clad trio Vanity 6. The group landed the hit “Nasty Girl” and opened the 1999 Tour but would only last as long as her romantic relationship with Prince.

                                In a lighter moment in Monday’s concert, Prince recounted a somewhat self-deprecating story about one of their heated arguments before they broke up in 1983, when he threatened to throw Vanity in the pool. “You can’t throw me in the pool, you’re too little,” she retorted. So Prince asked his 6-foot bodyguard Chick to toss her in for him.

                                “I probably shouldn’t be telling this story, but she’d want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her,” he said. “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. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong, ‘cuz she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”

                                Beyond the Vanity-inspired moments, the show drew the kind of rave review that his Paisley Park gigs also earned last month. He plays two more nights in Melbourne and then goes on to multiple nights in Sydney and Perth.

                                Here’s the full set list from Monday’s show:

                                ·  Big City
                                ·  Ruff Enuff
                                ·  Little Red Corvette
                                ·  Dirty Mind
                                ·  Money Don’t Matter 2 Night
                                ·  Waiting in Vain (Bob Marley cover)
                                ·  If I Was Your Girlfriend
                                ·  How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
                                ·  The Ladder
                                ·  1000 X’S & 0’S
                                ·  When She Comes
                                ·  Satisfied
                                ·  I Love U in Me
                                ·  Sometimes It Snows in April
                                ·  Automatic
                                ·  The Beautiful Ones
                                ·  Encore:
                                ·  Raspberry Beret
                                ·  Starfish and Coffee
                                ·  Paisley Park
                                ·  Adore

                                #2319
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                                  JamBase

                                  Prince Dedicates Piano & A Microphone Tour Opener To Vanity
                                  By Scott Bernstein (jambase.com) – Feb 16, 2016

                                  Last night Prince played his first Piano & A Microphone show away from his home base of Paisley Park at The Arts Center Playhouse in Melbourne, Australia. Prince took the stage for his intimate performance just hours after learning of the death of Denise “Vanity” Matthews-Smith, the vocalist whom was a muse for The Purple One and a long-time protege. As such, Prince dedicated the show to Vanity and filled the setlist with songs and stories about the Vanity 6 front woman.

                                  According to reports Prince was very emotional throughout the show. “I am new to this playing alone. I thank you all for being so patient. I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming … She knows about this one,” the singer said in introducing “The Beautiful Ones” and changed the name Electra to Vanity during “The Ladder.” Prince also worked a cover of Bob Marley’s “Waiting In Vain” into his first of two Melbourne performances last night.

                                  Prince took a number of opportunities to talk about Vanity, “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. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong cos she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”

                                  All told, Prince played 20 songs at the early show on Monday night in Melbourne. He mixed hits such as “Little Red Corvette,” “Raspberry Beret” and “If I Was Your Girlfriend” with deep cuts and the Marley cover. The Purple One has two more shows scheduled for Melbourne on Tuesday night.

                                  Setlist
                                  Prince at State Theatre, The Arts Centre
                                  Feb 16, 2016
                                  Melbourne, VIC
                                  Piano & a Microphone
                                  Big City
                                  Ruff Enuff
                                  Little Red Corvette / Dirty Mind
                                  A Place in Heaven
                                  Money Don’t Matter 2 Night
                                  Waiting in Vain
                                  If I Was Your Girlfriend
                                  How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
                                  The Ladder
                                  1000 X’S & 0’S
                                  When She Comes
                                  Satisfied
                                  I Love U in Me
                                  Sometimes It Snows in April
                                  The Beautiful Ones
                                  Encore
                                  Raspberry Beret
                                  Starfish and Coffee
                                  Paisley Park
                                  Adore

                                   

                                  Setlist info via setlist.fm.

                                  #2320
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                                    Singers Room

                                    Prince Reflects On Relationship With Vanity During Australian Concert
                                    By: Elle Breezy (singersroom.com) – February 16, 2016

                                    This image was obtained from singersroom.com

                                     

                                    Prince is a private guy, but he gave fans a glimpse into his life last night (Feb. 15) when he opened up to an Australian audience about his relationship with ex-girlfriend and former protegee’ singer, Denise “Vanity” Matthews, who passed away yesterday morning.

                                    Upon hearing the news before taking the stage in Melbourne, Prince switched his set to include a tribute to Vanity. He even opened up and shared a memory he had with her with the audience.

                                    The Herald Sun reports Prince as saying to the audience before playing a touching version of “Little Red Corvette,” “Someone dear to us has passed away, I’m gonna dedicate this song to her.” He then performed “The Ladder” to replace the name in the song “Electra” with “Vanity.”

                                    The Herald noted that the Purple One was more chatty than usual, and at one point, he reflected on a specific memory with Matthews.

                                    “Can I tell you a story about Vanity? Or should I tell you a story about Denise?,” he asked the crowd. “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. 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. I probably shouldn’t be telling this story,” he said, “but she’d want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her.”

                                    He then told the audience about a fight the couple once had that where he threatened to throw her in the pool, to which she replied, “You can’t throw me in the pool, you’re too little.” He then asked his six-foot bodyguard to do it for him.

                                    It’s clear Prince had a lot of love for Matthew, so much so, that he altered his show to show her some love.

                                     

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                                      Live For Live Music
                                      Prince Opens ‘Piano & A Microphone’ Tour With Emotional Dedication To Vanity
                                      By: liveforlivemusic.com – February 16th, 2016

                                      Last night’s Piano & A Microphone shows opened at The Arts Center Playhouse in Melbourne, Australia with an emotional performance from Prince. The Purple One led his first solo exhibition just hours after learning that Denise “Vanity” Matthews-Smith had died. Vanity is known as Prince’s protege, but their relationship goes much deeper than musical influence. Naturally, the show proceeded in dedication to the late Vanity 6 leader.

                                      Reports indicate Prince’s emotional reaction to this news as having major influence on the set. As he entered the performance, he started: “I am new to this playing alone. I thank you all for being so patient. I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming … She knows about this one,” which led straight into “Beautiful Ones.”

                                      He continued on with a totaling 20-song set, which included both songs and stories dedicated to his fallen idol, “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. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong cos she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”

                                      The set included a cover of Bob Marley‘s “Waiting In Vain,” hits like “If I Was Your Girlfriend” and “Raspberry Beret,” and title-specific dedications like “When She Comes,” “I Love U in Me,” “The Beautiful Ones,” and “Adore.”

                                      Setlist: Prince at The Arts Center Playhouse in Melbourne, Australia – 2/15/16

                                      Set: Big City, Ruff Enuff, Little Red Corvette, Dirty Mind, Money Don’t Matter 2 Night, Waiting in Vain, If I Was Your Girlfriend, How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore, The Ladder, 1000 X’S & 0’S, When She Comes, Satisfied, I Love U in Me, Sometimes It Snows in April, Automatic, The Beautiful Ones
                                      Encore: Raspberry Beret, Starfish and Coffee, Paisley Park, Adore

                                      #2322
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                                        Daily Review
                                        Prince’s final tour reviewed (State Theatre, Melbourne)
                                        By: Alex Dean (dailyreview.com) – April 22, 2016

                                         


                                        This is a screen-capture of the image posted in this article on the dailyreview.com website.

                                        The pop music world was shocked this morning to learn that singer-songwriter Prince has died at age 57 at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota. Prince played the final show of his Piano & a Microphone tour just over a week ago in Atlanta and had wowed Australian audiences with his performances in February this year.

                                        This review is of Prince’s second Melbourne show on February 16. It was a tough night for the singer who had just learnt of the death of his friend and muse Vanity (Denise Matthews-Smith) earlier that day. In many ways the Piano & a Microphone tour was a fitting farewell to his fans: intimate and very personal.

                                         

                                        Prince took to the stage at 10pm for the second of his two solo shows last night at Melbourne’s State Theatre. He sat at a grand piano with simple prop candelabras either side. A massive kaleidoscope of colour was his backdrop.

                                        At first it seemed his show would take an autobographical tone — Prince spoke of his upbringing and the role his musician father played in introducing him to the piano. But family history was soon jettisoned. An emotional Prince instead addressed the recent death of his friend and muse, Vanity, (Denise Matthews-Smith) aged 57 who fronted the ’80s trio Vanity 6. Prince had apparently only learnt of her death earlier that day and dedicated a rousing version of Little Red Corvette and Dirty Mind to her.

                                         

                                        But narrative wasn’t a big feature last night. Instead, Prince worked his way through stripped-back hits and album tracks including Dorothy Parker/The Max, I Wanna Be Your Lover, Do Me Baby, If I Was Your Girlfriend, The Beautiful Ones, The Ladder, Black Muse, Raspberry Beret, Starfish & Coffee, Paisley Park, and of course, Purple Rain.

                                        In many regards the show was breathtaking. Prince’s showmanship (honed over four decades) had the audience eating out of his hand every second he was on stage. The clarity, quality and range of his vocals was superb and benefited from the sparse piano accompaniment — in other performances his vocals have often been somewhat drowned out by a live backing band.

                                        As much as it was thrilling for this Prince fan to see him up close and in such an intimate setting, the brevity of the show was disappointing. The show was advertised as two hours with no interval — but the capacity State Theatre audience was given a one hour and 20 minute performance. For a show that had so many ‘pinch me’ moments, this ending was premature and anti-climactic.

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                                          News.com

                                          Another Article
                                          Aussie fans defend Prince after some label shorter than anticipated Melbourne show a ‘rip-off’
                                          Cameron AdamsNews Corp Australia Network – February 17, 2016


                                          This image was obtained from news.com
                                          Australia is the first global leg of Prince’s Piano and Microphone solo tour, but not everyone left impressed after his first shows in Melbourne.

                                          PRINCE fans have defended the grieving musician after a shorter than anticipated concert in Melbourne.
                                          Prince played two shows at the State Theatre, one at 6.30pm, one at 10pm.

                                          They are the first of his solo Piano and a Microphone shows in Australia, and also two of the first in the world after just two performances at Paisley Park studio in January.

                                          Some fans who paid around $400 for tickets (and up to $1000 for VIP tickets) believed the show was going to run for at least two hours.

                                          However the superstar musician was visibly shaken after hearing of the death of his ex-girlfriend Vanity before his first performance.

                                          The first show went for around 80 minutes, in line with the length of his US shows in January.

                                          The second clocked in at around 70 minutes.

                                           


                                          screen-capture
                                          Fans waited for up to 20 minutes after Prince left the stage, hoping he would return — as he had in previous tours with his full band.

                                          Some started to boo, others were grumbling loudly about a ‘rip off’ on the way out. Someone else was heard saying “I didn’t pay $400 to hear Prince being sad.”

                                          Others were happy he hadn’t cancelled and instead opened his heart to play a deeply personal show that would never be repeated.

                                          A rumoured after-show concert, which Prince had tweeted about last week, also failed to occur.

                                          No confirmed running time for the Piano and a Microphone shows had been determined. Like announcing the tour a few weeks ago, Prince operates on his own time frame.

                                          Prince dedicated his first State Theatre show to Vanity, the intensely private star opening up about their time together in a candid manner that shocked hardcore fans.

                                           


                                          This image was obtained from news.com
                                          Prince fans are divided over Prince’s first shows in Australia.

                                          “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. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong cos she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”

                                          He dedicated a Little Red Corvette/Dirty Mind mashup to Vanity (born Denise Matthews) as well as Purple Rain’s epic The Beautiful Ones, stating “she knows about this one.”

                                          Prince also changed the lyrics to The Ladder to reference his ex by name.

                                          At the second show Prince apologized to anyone who had been at the early show, claiming her death had left him “distraught”.

                                           


                                          This image was obtained from news.com

                                          This image was obtained from news.com

                                           

                                          He again played Little Red Corvette and Dirty Mind for Vanity, as well as The Beautiful Ones and the reworked The Ladder.

                                          Some fans had complained about not getting a ‘greatest hits’ show, despite a quick Google showing that the solo shows were more about an intimate experience for true fans.

                                          Prince’s official Twitter page posted a picture of the State Theatre with ‘Thank U’ and retweeted some fans who sent messages of support.

                                          Unexpectedly, there was a lot of crossover between the first and second shows, with some fans feeling Prince was a little rattled by the day’s events.

                                          The second show did see him play snippets of Over the Rainbow (he said he learnt to play all the songs from The Wizard of Oz on piano by watching it on TV) and also early songs Do Me Baby and I Wanna Be Your Lover.

                                          The final show got arguably his biggest hit, Purple Rain, as an encore.

                                           


                                          screen-capture

                                           

                                          No media photographers were allowed at the concert, and use of mobile phones was monitored by security guards. However some fans defied Prince’s wishes and recorded photos and videos which have been uploaded onto social media.

                                          Prince plays two more Melbourne shows tonight before shows in Sydney and Perth.

                                          6.30pm Prince Melbourne show setlist

                                          Big City (from HitnRun Phase Two, 2015)

                                          Ruff Enuff (new song)

                                          Little Red Corvette (from 1999, 1982)

                                          Dirty Mind (Dirty Mind, 1980)

                                          Money Don’t Matter 2 Night (from Diamonds and Pearls, 1991)

                                          Waiting In Vain (Bob Marley cover)

                                          If I Was Your Girlfriend (from Sign `O The Times, 1987)

                                          How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore (b-side 1999 single, 1982)

                                          The Ladder (from Around The World In A Day, 1985)

                                          1000 X’s & O’s (from HitnRun Phase One, 2015)

                                          When She Comes (from HitnRun Phase Two, 2015)

                                          Satisfied (from 3121, 2006)

                                          I Love U In Me (from The Hits The B-sides, 1993)

                                          Sometimes It Snows In April (from Parade, 1986)

                                          Automatic (from 1999, 1982)

                                          The Beautiful Ones (from Purple Rain, 1984)

                                          Raspberry Beret (from Around The World In A Day, 1985)

                                          Starfish and Coffee (from Sign O The Times, 1987)

                                          Paisley Park (from Around The World In A Day, 1985)

                                          Adore (from Sign O The Times, 1987)

                                          10pm Prince Melbourne show setlist

                                          The Love We Make (from Emancipation, 1986)

                                          Big City (from HitnRun Phase Two, 2015)

                                          Batman (TV theme cover)

                                          Over The Rainbow (Judy Garland cover)

                                          The Max (from The Symbol Album, 1992)

                                          Little Red Corvette/Dirty Mind (from 1999, 1982/Dirty Mind, 1980)

                                          The Beautiful Ones (from Purple Rain, 1984)

                                          How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore (b-side 1999 single, 1982)

                                          Sweet Thing (Chaka Khan cover)

                                          Do Me Baby (from Controversy, 1981)

                                          Waiting In Vain (Bob Marley cover)

                                          If I Was You Girlfriend (from Sign O The Times, 1987)

                                          The Ballad of Dorothy Parker (from Sign O The Times, 1987)

                                          Four (from Madhouse album 8, 1987)

                                          I Wanna Be Your Lover (from Prince, 1979)

                                          1000 X’s & O’s (from HitnRun Phase One, 2015)

                                          Black Muse (from HitnRun Phase Two, 2015)

                                          The Ladder (from Around The World In A Day, 1985)

                                          Raspberry Beret (from Around The World In A Day, 1985)

                                          Starfish and Coffee (from Sign O The Times, 1987)

                                          Paisley Park (from Around The World In A Day, 1985)

                                          Purple Rain (from Purple Rain, 1984)

                                          #2324
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                                            Maxim
                                            Prince Protégé Vanity Dies at the Age of 57
                                            Prince dedicated songs to her during his show in Australia last night.
                                            By: Kelly McClure (maxim.com) – Feb 16, 2016

                                             


                                            Image © Ghetty

                                            On Monday evening, word spread that Denise Matthews, who went by the stage name Vanity, had passed away at the too-soon age of 57. Vanity was best known as the singer of the eighties hit “Nasty Girl,” and for being a beloved protégé of Prince. He was also responsible for the name Vanity, giving it to her after they met for the first time at the 1980 American Music Award because he supposedly saw his female reflection when he looked at her.

                                            After meeting Prince, and being given the opportunity to front his handcrafted group, Vanity 6, she released one self-titled album with them — which contained the before-mentioned hit “Nasty Girl.” She then departed from the group to sign with Motown and release two solo albums, Wild Animal and Skin on Skin.

                                             


                                            Image © Ghetty
                                            In 1994, after an overdose of crack cocaine that nearly killed her, Vanity claims to have been visited by Jesus Christ who told her that if she gave up being Vanity, he would spare her life. She did just that, returning home from recovery and throwing out any last trace of her music career, even going so far as refuse any incoming payment for her work.

                                            According to Billboard, her death on Monday in Fremont, California was the result of kidney failure presumed to have occurred from her years of drug use.

                                            During his show in Melbourne, Australia last night Prince announced “Someone dear to us has passed away, I’m gonna dedicate this song to her,” before playing a mashup of “Little Red Corvette” and “Dirty Mind.”

                                            Here’s a video of Vanity 6 performing “Nasty Girl” on Soul Train, with a brief interview at the end. We’ll miss you, Vanity.

                                            #2325
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                                              AXS
                                              Prince pays tribute to Vanity at Piano & a Microphone tour opener in Melbourne
                                              By: Nathan Todd (axs.com) – Feb 18, 2016


                                              wochit Entertainment/YouTube

                                              Prince opened up his highly anticipated Piano & a Microphone tour—the tour was postponed twice due to ticketing issues and the Paris attacks—in Melbourne on February 16 just hours after learning that his longtime friend, muse, and fellow artist Denise “Vanity” Matthews-Smith had passed away from kidney failure and abdominal illness. Matthews-Smith fronted the Prince assembled Vanity Six group. While he could have postponed once again, Prince took the stage at the State Theatre for the first of two performances. It was an intimate, emotional night.

                                              According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Prince dedicated “Little Red Corvette” to his dearly departed one time protégé. Prince evoked Matthews-Smith’s name throughout the night, changing the name Electra to Vanity in “The Ladder.” He also told intimate anecdotes about her during the 20-song set. At times the gravity of it all seemed to overwhelm him. Right before the encore and during the intro to “The Beautiful Ones,” Prince thanked the audience. “I am new to this playing alone. I thank you all for being so patient. I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming…she knows about this one.”

                                              While Prince soldiered through the first performances, something was amiss at the second as he left the stage early after performing “Purple Rain” (Vanity was originally cast as the female lead in the 80s smash hit film) according to Musicfeeds via PedestrainTV. Some fans got a bit unruly as the two-hour show was only 80 minutes long, but honestly, can you blame the guy? A full setlist from the first performance is below.

                                              Thanks to Jambase

                                              Prince at the State Theater, Melbourne, Australia February 16, First Performance

                                              Big City
                                              Ruff Enuff
                                              Little Red Corvette
                                              Dirty Mind
                                              Money Don’t Matter 2 Night
                                              Waiting in Vain
                                              If I Was Your Girlfriend
                                              How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
                                              The Ladder
                                              1000 X’S & 0’S
                                              When She Comes
                                              Satisfied
                                              I Love U in Me
                                              Sometimes It Snows in April
                                              Automatic
                                              The Beautiful Ones

                                              Encore:
                                              Raspberry Beret
                                              Starfish and Coffee
                                              Paisley Park
                                              Adore

                                              #2326
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                                                NY Times
                                                ‘Prince Was Our True Artist’: Readers Share Their Memories
                                                By: Lindsey Underwood (nytimes.com) – April 22, 2016


                                                A makeshift Prince memorial outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Credit Andrew Kelly/Reuters

                                                Note from princeandvanity.net: Below is a quote from a fan that attended the concert in Melbourne, Australia

                                                I saw Prince perform live earlier this year in Melbourne, Australia. The night I saw him, he had just found out that his ex-girlfriend Vanity had passed away. He bravely continued with his show and had us in awe with his stage presence. He was a diminutive performer, with charisma that could fill 10 stadiums.

                                                —Carolyn Burge, Melbourne, Australia

                                                Read more on the NY Times website

                                                #2327
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                                                  RockSubCulture
                                                  “Prince: Piano and a Microphone” at Paramount Theatre – Oakland, California – 2/28/2016
                                                  By: Jason DeBord (rocksubculture) – March 1, 2016


                                                  This is a screen-capture of the image posted in this article on the rocksubculture.com website.

                                                  “We need a new story, Oakland. Sometimes, you just gotta make it up. It’s called self-preservation.” It was a show that ran a full gamut of emotions, as the ever reclusive Prince opened up to a crowd of what felt like dedicated fans of the iconic artist. The show at Paramount Theatre in Oakland was put up for sale just a few days prior and sold out instantly, so it was likely that those sorts of fans with their ear to the ground were the only ones who had a shot at getting them. Though pricey, it was well worth the price of admission as Prince put up a “fan service” setlist that included many hits as well as favorites that you might not expect from The Purple One. Bathed in a digital kaleidoscope of light throughout the show, Prince (with ginormous afro and shoes with flashing red lights) sat, stood at, danced around, and at one point even lay on top of a grand piano painted an appropriate shade of his signature color. Billed as “Prince: Piano and a Microphone”, he started this concept at his own Paisley Park in Minnesota last month. But it was so much more than that… I think Prince stripped down inspires him to open up so much more, both with his emotions and his music. Truly an unforgettable experience.

                                                  Who: Prince (“Prince: Piano and a Microphone”)
                                                  Venue: Paramount Theatre
                                                  Where: Oakland, California
                                                  Promoter: Live Nation
                                                  When: February 28, 2016
                                                  Seating: Section ORCH, Row GG, Seats 2-4


                                                  This is a screen-capture of the image posted in this article on the rocksubculture.com website.

                                                  So tickets for this show went on sale Wednesday for the Sunday show, with less than 24 hours notice (much like Prince’s last two visits to the Bay Area in recent years). I knew I would be lucky to get any tickets, and that sell out would be instantaneous. I had sessions prepped for three different web browsers (different web browsers mean different tracking cookies, so you have independent searching sessions) as well as the Ticketmaster iPhone app… It seemed like nothing was available until about 10 minutes after the on sale time (likely to curb opportunities for scalpers). With all of my frantic attempts with my laptop, only one time did an option come up and it was the interactive map, which promptly crashed. About 15 minutes after the on sale time, I was able to secure a pair of tickets for my wife Shelley and I toward the back of the floor, and I bought them.

                                                  There were two shows, back-to-back, one at 7:00 and one at 10:00. The show was at the beautiful Paramount Theatre in Oakland. Funny enough, the last show I saw there was also a solo artist, piano, and microphone – Tori Amos.

                                                  Thankfully these was a credit card entry type of show… you needed to have the credit card used to purchase the tickets through Ticketmaster in hand to get through the door, so hopefully this helped to mitigate the scalper issues.

                                                  NO PHOTO / VIDEO POLICY

                                                  Knowing that Prince rarely allows professional press photography at his shows, I didn’t even bother to put in an inquiry this time around… I was just thrilled to have an opportunity to attend the show. Prince is the only artist for whom I publish reviews with no photos. I did snap one photo with my iPhone as he walked off stage at the close of his fourth encore (see bottom of article).

                                                  I last saw Prince with 3RDEYEGIRL at the Fox Theater in Oakland in 2014 about two blocks away from Saturday night’s show, and at a pair of the DNA Lounge shows in San Francisco in 2013. These shows were all about the guitar-driven band experience, with some solo work by Prince on his synthesizers for an encore. The shows in the past few years were focused on his newer work, which was in contrast to Saturday night’s show which spanned his entire catalog (with a sprinkling of covers).

                                                  This show differed from the others in recent years in many different ways – it was a completely different sort of show.

                                                  Built on the foundation of the regal and elegant Paramount Theatre, with assigned seats and ushers, it had a completely different vibe from the mostly standing, general admission shows with his full band. People in attendance were just beaming with excitement before Prince even took the stage, and once he did, I think the excitement about it all could not be contained. I’ve never heard so much screaming, cheering, clapping, and singing at a Prince show. I think there was a bit of making up for the inability to dance and jump around. And Prince took control of this energy, at times like a conductor (“clap!”, “double time!”, “sing!”) and other times like a pastor (“sit down…”).

                                                  It all kicked off pretty much on time at 7:00, with Prince strolling out and starting things with a mix of swagger and humility. I can only speculate, but I got a sense that Vanity (Denise Katrina Matthews) was on his mind during the first half of the show. One of Prince’s protege’s, famous as the lead in Vanity 6 and known as a singer, songwriter, actress and model, she tragically passed away this month and her funeral service was held the day before the concert.

                                                  The theme throughout the show, “we need a new story”, was on Prince’s mind from the start.

                                                  He started the show saying, “let me introduce myself”, and went into a heartfelt and soft version of “I Would Die 4 U”, though it was more of a tease as he didn’t get very deep into it before talking about another solid theme, talking about how as a child he wanted to be like his father.

                                                  Giving the audience sort of impressionistic glimpses into his life, he captured a child-like optimism, transitioning into “Over The Rainbow” as he brought us quickly through his youth, talking about the assassination of JFK and the American Dream, then took a sharp turn into the Batman theme song from the 60’s hit show (funny enough he did a soundtrack for the first Tim Burton film so many years later).

                                                  Then he jumped to the present, with a jumping rendition of newer track, “Big City”, then taking us back around to “I Would Die 4 You”.

                                                  This was all in just the first 10 minutes, so it was pretty riveting moment to moment as he opened up to his fans and put on quite a performance. Also an interesting glimpse into how his mind puts music and emotion together.

                                                  One of just a few covers in the night, Sly and the Family Stone’s “Stand!” seemed relevant to things on his mind… “There ain’t no justice no where… talk to me Flint” (there was a #JusticeForFlint concert happening in Flint, Michigan concurrently).

                                                  The rest of the main set was hit after hit after hit… definitely a dream setlist for most Prince fans.

                                                  Setlist:

                                                  I Would Die 4 U
                                                  Over The Rainbow (Harold Arlen cover)
                                                  Batman ’60s TV Show Theme (Neal Hefti cover)
                                                  Big City
                                                  I Would Die 4 U (reprise)
                                                  Stand! (Sly and the Family Stone cover)
                                                  Take Me With U
                                                  Little Red Corvette
                                                  Dirty Mind
                                                  Little Red Corvette (reprise)
                                                  Controversy
                                                  I Feel For You
                                                  The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
                                                  Pop Life
                                                  The Max
                                                  The Ballad of Dorothy Parker
                                                  Black Muse
                                                  Cream
                                                  Diamonds and Pearls
                                                  The Beautiful Ones
                                                  Thieves in the Temple
                                                  Unchain My Heart (Ray Charles cover)
                                                  It
                                                  The Question of U
                                                  Under the Cherry Moon
                                                  The Question of U (reprise)

                                                  Encore 1:

                                                  Raspberry Beret
                                                  Starfish and Coffee
                                                  Paisley Park
                                                  How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore

                                                  Encore 2:

                                                  Nothing Compares to U
                                                  Purple Rain

                                                  Encore 3:

                                                  Kiss
                                                  Black Sweat
                                                  Purple Music

                                                  Encore 4:

                                                  Venus de Milo

                                                  Prince got a little playful as he plotted out “Take Me With U”, playing with plunky keys as he found the right combo to get the song bouncing, then started stomping a little, prompting the crowd to clap along. Then asking, “you wanna sing with me?” All those emotions swirling around like the kaleidoscope with a rainbow of colors projected behind the stage. This was one of the more joyful stretches. A complicated man taking us on a complicated journey…

                                                  Probably my all-time favorite Prince song is “Little Red Corvette”, which boldly came next, to ear shattering screams. This was his most emotional point in the entire show, both celebratory and sad, filled with humor and then raw pain. As the keys got softer, “there was this one girl in particular…” then faster as he twisted it into “Dirty Mind”, then slowed it back down to “Little Red Corvette”, speeding it up and slowing it down, shifting from serious to playful to serious… then somber, eventually just lightly touching the keys and softly singing “girl, your moving too fast, too fast now, too fast… just recently, we lost a dear sister that was moving too fast – too fast, too fast, too fast…” bridging to a flutter of keys that sounded like angel wings… “I may be a bit to wrong, I might be a bit too blue, baby you know what I want. I want you. Ohhh… You can be with those others if you want to… that’s cool….” He gave a shout out to Oakland and then closed it with “slow down, yeah… you got to… Ohhh… Slow down… oh yeah…”

                                                  “My heavenly father gave me rhythm…” Another transition, into a poppy, clap along rendition of “Controversy”… Most songs were not played “in full”, but were more organic and part of an overall megamix of hit after hit. But “Controversy” seemed to get special play, going end to end. I think this helped to shift his mood upward after the cathartic version of “Little Red Corvette”.

                                                  Next up was “I Feel For You”, which many would associate with the Chaka Khan cover (for which Prince earned the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1985.

                                                  “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” showcased yet another side of Prince, as he brought out his inner-crooner.

                                                  “You take care of me; I’ll take care of you too…” A preface to another one of my favorites, “Pop Life”. It had a different, more contemplative pacing and more optimistic bent, falling apart in a cascade of keys that twisted it into “The Max” for an immediate contrast.

                                                  At this point, it was like sensory overload – all this fantastic music.

                                                  After “Black Muse”, Prince went into his longest narrative about his father, while staring at his own giant shadow cast on the far wall… “We gotta tell ourselves a new story… the only story I had was the one I made up. I wanna be just like that dude right there… my father. My father. How’d he get so cool?”

                                                  Then he went into maybe the most joyful and playful song of the night, “Cream”, while busting on the audience for not chiming in strong enough with “time”, with the backing vocals… “when you hear the cue for singin’ that would be – the cue – for you to sing…” Right behind was a short visit with companion piece “Diamond and Pearls”.

                                                  “The Beautiful Ones” seemed to bring Prince back around to feeling internally and having a moment on stage. “Bring to life a vision, in one’s mind. The beautiful ones always smash the picture. Always, every time”.

                                                  I think the most surprising part of the setlist was the inclusion of “Thieves in the Temple” from Graffiti Bridge, an album that wasn’t a huge hit commercially but that I totally love. A really special version “Thieves in the Temple” that gave the song a totally different feel and vibe. A similar tone carried through his cover of Ray Charles’ “Unchain My Heart” and “It” from his own Sign of the Times…

                                                  He ended the main set with piano-only riffs of “The Question of U” and a flourish of “Under a Cherry Moon” in the middle.

                                                  He left the stage and returned for his first encore to thunderous applause, keeping the crowd on it’s feet with fuller versions of “Raspberry Beret”, “Starfish and Coffee”, “Paisley Park” and “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore”.

                                                  Another exit, return, and the second encore featured a churchy “Nothing Compares To U” (which he wrote for Sinéad O’Connor) and a softer “Purple Rain”.

                                                  You’d think that would do it, but the fans were going crazy and he came out for two more encores – “Kiss”, “Black Sweat” and “Purple Music” and then “Venus de Milo”. I think people most lost their minds during his rendition of Kiss, with the sound of the crowd screaming downing out the speakers… “Ya’ll can’t blame me – I got too many hits!”

                                                  Unbelievably, he did another full show afterwards for the 10:00 show. I didn’t manage to get tickets for that one, but I have to imagine that there was something special about the first, his emotions, and his state of mind. But I’ll never really know.

                                                  In any event, what an incredible concert. Prince and his guitar would seem inseparable, in terms of live music. But this format was more a showcase of his soul, which shines so brightly.

                                                  Though his refrain throughout the night was “we need a new story”, maybe just as powerful was his closing remarks: “Those assuming the role of God need to listen to every voice. When someone says that their lives matter, they’re trying to get your attention.”


                                                  This is a screen-capture of the image posted in this article on the rocksubculture.com website.

                                                  #2328
                                                  Admin
                                                  Keymaster

                                                    The Sidney Morning Herald

                                                    Review: Prince’s Piano & A Microphone tour
                                                    By: George Palathingal (smh.com) – Feb 21, 2016

                                                    Opera House Concert Hall, February 20 (6.30pm show)


                                                    Obscenely talented … Prince teased and thrilled his Sydney audience. Photo: Nandy McLean

                                                    You’ve seen him play the guitar like Jimi Hendrix, dance like James Brown and, if you’re getting on a bit, do everything from shoot basketball hoops to (ahem) hump his microphone during his spectacular full-band shows.

                                                    What you probably haven’t seen is Prince, the last musical genius of his enigmatic, obscenely talented kind, sing to you while playing a piano for a couple of hours, brilliantly reinventing selections popular and otherwise from his vast catalogue and showing why he caused a national incident for music fans when this brief Australian tour was announced a mere three weeks ago.

                                                    Selections popular and otherwise? With the exception of Sign “O” the Times-era bootleg Joy in Repetition and the first of several heart-swelling instances of beloved tunes dancing into and out of each other – at this point Little Red Corvette and Dirty Mind – the first 20 minutes weren’t easy for everyone.

                                                    As a (gulp) proto-Kanye of sorts, Prince had a period of making it difficult for any but the most hard-core fans to get hold of his music (you had to subscribe to his website for the privilege, for a while), alienating some and thus making this show’s early sojourns into relatively recent material testing.

                                                    But after he found his way into Strange Relationship, and then The Ballad of Dorothy Parker, the only complaints were about the songs he merely teased – a few bars of Condition of the Heart here, a few more of The Question of U there – rather than got properly stuck into. And even then it’s hard to explain the joy even those fleeting glimpses brought.

                                                    If the first 20 minutes felt mainly for him, the next hour and a half was emphatically for the audience. He’s a virtuoso on piano, to be sure, as adept at getting you on your feet to the irresistible funk of Girls & Boys (yes, on only a piano), as at playfully seducing you (How Come U Don’t Call Me Any More) or even just playing beautifully (Venus de Milo).

                                                    And then, of course, there were the encores: each demanding the question, “how do you top that?”, each effortlessly answering it. How do you follow Nothing Compares 2 U? How about with Raspberry Beret and Starfish & Coffee before a swift change of mind ditches Paisley Park for a version of Kiss you never imagined?

                                                    Think that’s it? Not when our maestro from Minneapolis – who has by now rechristened this room “Sydney-apolis” – feels inclined to play an emotionally charged Purple Rain (dedicated, as it was at one of the Melbourne shows, to his late, erstwhile muse Vanity).

                                                    It’s a truly special show, on an extraordinary tour.

                                                    Prince’s Piano & A Microphone tour continues at the State Theatre on Sunday at 6.30pm and at 10.30pm. Both shows are sold out.

                                                    #2329
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                                                      The Daily Beast

                                                      RIP

                                                      The Sexy, Holy Saga of Vanity: Prince’s Muse Who Found God
                                                      Vanity, aka Denise Matthews, passed away this week. She led a fascinating life, from inspiring the legendary musician Prince to becoming born again.

                                                      By: Stereo Williams (thedailybeast.com) – February 20, 2016

                                                       


                                                      Jonathan Larsen/Diadem Images/Alamy

                                                      “She was the most beautiful woman in the world and she had no problem letting you know that.”

                                                      That was what Prince shared about his former love and onetime protégé Vanity, born Denise Matthews, who died this week after battling kidney ailments for several years. She was a stunning former model who’d become a singer and actress in the 1980s, as well as one of many muses for His Royal Badness’s esoteric freakiness. For most Prince fans, Vanity is probably only second to Apollonia in the canon of “Prince girls,” but she was more than just an accessory to his legendary libido.

                                                      Matthews had grown up in Canada without her mother, who’d abandoned the family, and under the hand of an abusive father. She’d come to New York to pursue a career in modeling and music. First, she found herself on the arm of “Superfreak” funk legend Rick James, but after meeting The Purple One at the American Music Awards, Denise and Prince became an item.

                                                      It was Prince who christened her “Vanity” (after initially daring her to go by the much more provocative “Vagina”) before building the girl group Vanity 6 around her. This was early ‘80s, Dirty Mind-era Prince at his most sex-driven, so his new girl group was a hypersexual take on James’ own Mary Jane Girls, and they were given some of Prince’s most salacious songs—including the hit single “Nasty Girl.” The song would go on to influence later tracks from starlets like Kelis and Britney Spears; and it made stars of the group and of Vanity, who would become Prince’s muse for the next two years. She later said that the image Prince crafted for her made her uncomfortable and she felt coerced into it, but came to accept it. “I did it because [Prince] told me I had to do it,” she told Aldore Colier in a 1993 interview with Jet. “If I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t get paid. I got into it. I wanted the old Diana Ross image.”

                                                      After splitting from Vanity 6 and Prince prior to his leap into megastardom with Purple Rain (she was originally the film’s expected love interest, a role that eventually went to former Rams cheerleader and then-unknown TV actress Apollonia Kotero), Vanity signed with Motown. Her first solo album built on the sex kitten image she’d cultivated under Prince, but without his songwriting and production, the project underperformed. Nonetheless, she was cast as the female lead in a martial arts fantasy film from Motown Productions, 1985s The Last Dragon. Grossing under $26 million at the box office, The Last Dragon wasn’t exactly a hit, but the movie introduced Vanity as a prominent leading lady and would go on to become a celebrated slice of campy ‘80s cinema.


                                                      This image was obtained from thedailybeast.com website.

                                                      She would follow up her appearance in Dragon with another album for Motown, but outside of the moderate dance hit “Under the Influence,” Skin On Skin also underwhelmed, and aside from a song on the Action Jackson soundtrack, Vanity’s years as a pop star were behind her. She’d begun dating Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx that year and in 1987, they became engaged. The couple was heavy into ‘80s rock star excesses and enabled each others’ drug abuse. According to Sixx’s biography, the two were compulsive crack addicts. “I can’t believe I did freebase with Vanity all night,” Sixx writes in one anecdote. “I threw her out at about 8 a.m. She was getting crazy and telling me about God.” Sixx famously also had a near-death overdose in 1987, and in 1994, Vanity overdosed on crack cocaine. The experience almost killed her, profoundly affecting her health and forever changing her outlook. “My blood pressure was 250 over 190. I lost both kidneys,” she told Jet writer Margena Christian in 2007. “I had internal bleeding with blood clots on the brain. I was completely blind and deaf. I had a heart attack and a stroke.”

                                                      The experience led to her religious conversion, as she said that she’d received a vision from Jesus as she lay dying. She said that God wanted her to metaphorically “kill” Vanity and she did, reportedly discarding every interview or recording of herself as the sexed-up pop star, distancing herself from the entertainment world, and going by her given name only: Denise Matthews.

                                                      She would marry former L.A. Rams player Anthony Smith the following year, who once playfully complained about his wife’s newfound zest for life and helping others.

                                                      “If I don’t watch out she will even hand out the furniture in our house. She is constantly giving out her number and offering meals and showers to people,” Smith said.

                                                      By 1996, the marriage was over—Smith is now serving three life sentences for the 1999 double-murder of brothers Ricky and Kevin Nettles and the 2001 death of Dennis Henderson—but Matthews’ convictions as a Christian had only grown. She would become an evangelist in the late ‘90s, speaking and writing about her faith, her past, and hoping to offer some clarity to other lost souls.

                                                      She would later write in her book about her time as Vanity: “With each new, methodical, despicable movement of my being, I closed my fists around a wretched lie which sought to eradicate my life at an impromptu time and I had built no stomach for the fight. With each new bitterness dispelled formulated by this cruel cold world of which I had become its strange kind, I shut my eyes and with deep complaint muttered words of death and despair, while the hot flames seeped, boiled and burned ablaze under my bottle. I was molding to the likes of mediocrity, vulnerability, having had all the experience of a trained seal, being pushed to the brink of hopelessness, and helpless to perpetuate a flawless, ruinous end.”

                                                      She admitted to Vibe in 2008 that it wasn’t easy to get people to forget Vanity.

                                                      “Getting past my past…was a process, a very serious process indeed. My God. As a person, [I’m] constantly changing, trying to be better. Back when I was Vanity, it was all about being sexy, getting slimmer, and getting cuter. Things have changed. Now it’s not the outward appearance, it’s the inward man that I’m trying to change. And that’s the message I bring to the people.”

                                                      The death of Denise Matthews was heartbreaking for anyone who grew up a fan of R&B and black pop culture in the 1980s. Granted, in her heyday, Vanity was a mainstream star with pop hits and movie and TV credits. But for me, as a black kid growing up heavily immersed in the uber-whiteness of John Hughes movies, with Heartland rock on MTV and under the gaze of President Ronald Reagan and his conservative-minded administration, seeing Vanity as Laura Charles in The Last Dragon was profoundly important.

                                                      Even if I only recognized that importance in hindsight.

                                                      We got The Last Dragon on VHS when I was a kid and I would watch it whenever it aired on channel 46, one of our local TV stations. When I think back, it was one of the few black films I had in my collection circa the mid-‘80s, alongside movies like The Goonies, the Star Wars films and the aforementioned John Hughes classics that featured white ‘80s teen stars like Molly Ringwald. I knew almost every word of that movie and was entranced by Vanity as Laura Charles. I’d obviously been too young to catch “Nasty Girl” and Vanity 6 at their height, so my strongest firsthand memories of Vanity are of her exchanging flirty glances with Bruce Leroy (Taimak) while coyly uttering phrases like, “You sure look like a master to me.”

                                                      She was perhaps my earliest on-screen crush, and it was rare for me to see beautiful black women presented as the desirable female lead in movies. Even on TV, I’d only seen Thelma from Good Times and Denise from The Cosby Show and a young Janet Jackson as Charlene on Diff’rent Strokes up to that point. I’d missed the years of Diahann Carroll and Pam Grier; as ‘80s kids, we were mostly exposed to the Ringwalds, Phoebe Cateses, and Kerri Greens, and only beginning to see Jennifer Beals and Rae Dawn Chong. Vanity was as glamorous and as gorgeous as any iconic beauty of that generation. And I was so enamored with her. I’m sure a lot of young boys that grew up around that time felt the same way. I’m sure a lot of us who grew up around that time felt the same way.

                                                      But Vanity wasn’t who Denise Matthews was in the last two decades of her life. Maybe she was never Vanity. Maybe the drugs and recklessness was how she helped Denise cope with Vanity. Regardless, what’s beautiful to anyone who loved her as a friend or as a fan is that she found her peace on her own terms and never looked back. She didn’t belong to us.

                                                      “I think it’s important to understand the title of my book,” she told Vibe in 2008, when she was planning a follow-up to her autobiography Blame It On Vanity called The Black Box. “The black box is the only thing that survives a plane crash, and I want people to know that I’m a survivor. I go to wherever God calls me, wherever the church calls me to come to minister and preach the word of God. God told me, ‘Speak the kingdom of God with all your heart, mind, body, soul, and strength. . . seek the kingdom of God first.’ In the beginning I was planning on naming it Blame It On Vanity. . . Denise, but I wanted to separate myself from the sinful name that made me famous. ‘Vanity’ means worthlessness, and that’s the last thing I want to be known for. And I’m not worthless anymore. My name is Denise.”

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