Denise Matthews, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Aspiring actress and model Denise Matthews broke into the music business when she gave a set of lyrics to the manager of Prince, who immediately offered her a role in his stable of artists. Prince renamed her Vanity and built a group around her called Vanity 6, whose sexually explicit stage act formed part of his touring revue. Anxious to forge a solo career, Vanity turned down a part in the Purple Rain movie and signed to Motown Records, who promoted her as Miss Audio-Visual 1984 to capitalize on her physical appearance. Her debut Wild Animal successfully mixed rock and funk styles, and produced two hits, Pretty Mess and Mechanical Emotion. On the 1986 follow-up, Skin On Skin, more prominence was given to her vocal abilities, as evidenced on the hit single Under The Influence.
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