Vanity 6

About Vanity 6

Known for their trashy, pornographic image and sexually exploitive lyrics, Vanity 6 were a short-lived female vocal trio that came out of Prince's funk-rock empire in 1982. Vanity 6 were formed in Prince's hometown of Minneapolis, where singer/actress Vanity (whose real name was Denise Matthews) got together with fellow singers Brenda Bennett (a native of Boston) and Susan Moonsie. Backed by the Time, Vanity 6 recorded their self-titled debut album for Warner Bros. in 1982. The single "Nasty Girl" became a major hit, and like Prince's albums, Vanity 6 successfully bridged the gap between R&B/funk and rock/pop/new wave. Vanity 6's first album was also their last; in 1984, Vanity left the group and signed with Motown as a solo artist. Moonsie and Bennett, meanwhile, hooked up with singer Apollonia (another Prince disciple) and formed a new group called Apollonia 6. That trio recorded a self-titled album for Warner Bros. in 1984 and had a hit with "Sex Shooter," which was heard in Prince's film Purple Rain. Apollonia 6 also turned out to be a one-album act, as the group broke up in 1985. As a solo artist, Vanity didn't get very far commercially; none of her Motown albums were big sellers. And when she became a born-again Christian in the 1990s, Vanity gave up secular music for good. After years of battling kidney failure, she died in Fremont, California in February 2016 at the age of 57. ~ Alex Henderson

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