Vanity, a former protégé of Prince and the frontwoman of Vanity 6, has died aged 57.

Vanity 6 courted controversy with their sexually charged R&B and funk in the ‘80s, attracting the wrath of the Parents Music Resource Center for their song ‘Strap on ‘Robbie Baby”. The trio scored their biggest hit with the Prince-composed single ‘Nasty Girl’.

Their frontwoman, born Denise Katrina Matthews, began her career as a model before meeting Prince at an awards show in 1980. The pair entered into a romantic and creative relationship, with Prince treating her as his protégé (he initially wanted her to take the stage name ‘Vagina’) and writing songs for the group formed around her, Vanity 6.

Vanity went on to score solo hits in the mid-80s, including ‘Pretty Mess’, ‘Mechanical Emotion’ and ‘Under the Influence’, and later acted in movies and TV shows. In the ‘90s she became a born again Christian following an overdose, and wrote a memoir, Blame It On Vanity.

Vanity died in hospital in Fremont, California, on Monday after suffering from kidney failure and abdominal illness. [TMZ, Rolling Stone]

Update, February 17: Prince paid tribute to the singer at a gig in Melbourne last night, dedicating ‘Little Red Corvette’ to her. 

“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,” he told the audience.

“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.”

Watch fan-shot video of his performance below. [via News Corp Australia]



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