Carmen Electra Got Her Name, Career-Start Working with Prince in MN
While playing Name that Celebrity this week during the River Morning show, I learned something I didn't know before -- Carmen Electra, born Tara Leigh Patrick in 1972, has also had a career as a singer, and she has Prince to thank for it!
Carmen Electra has had a broad and successful career. She played the role of Lani McKenzie in the TV series Baywatch. She's featured in countless movies including American Vampire, Starsky & Hutch, Cheaper By the Dozen, the Scary Movie series, Disaster Movie and more. She was briefly married to NBA star Dennis Rodman, has made multiple appearances in Playboy magazine and is widely considered a sex symbol. Between 1997-1999 she hosted the MTV game show Singled Out. From actress to model to media personality and even a singer, Carmen Electra has done it all -- and she owes it in large part to Minnesota's very own Prince.
Electra has shared in multiple interviews that she got her start after being discovered by Prince and working with him in Minneapolis. A VH1 special reveals that -- while out at a club on Sunset Boulevard -- Electra was approached by a stranger and asked if she wanted to audition for an all-female band Prince was putting together. Outside the club a purple BMW was waiting that took her to Prince's Hollywood home where -- sure enough -- she met and auditioned for Prince. According to friends, Prince loved her and insisted they work together. He didn't think she was right for the female group, but thought she could have a successful solo career. True to his word, Prince flew Electra out to Minneapolis where she immediately began recording a solo album. Prince also gave Tara the name we all know her by today, Carmen Electra.
"It was very overwhelming," Electra shared in an interview with Idolator, "coming from a small town. It was just unbelievable." On working with Prince, she said, "There's just something about him. You know, he's such an icon and such a genius. That when you're in his presence, you feel it. You just feel his energy and vibe." Electra went on to release a self-titled debut album with Prince in 1993, which she has called "underground at the time." She also opened for Prince on his Diamonds and Pearls tour, an "unimaginable" experience.
A video dated December 1992 -- just before the release of her debut album in 1993 -- shows Electra performing during a TV special titled The Ryde Dyvine at Paisley Park in Minneapolis.
Ultimate Prince says of her The Ryde Dyvine performance, "While her rapping is underwhelming, her dancing and charisma are exceptional. If given different material, she may have been able to compete in the pop world." Another video on Youtube claims to be Electra's Paisley Park promo reel for her self-titled album.
While Electra has since released a number of singles, she has not released any full albums since her 1993 album Carmen Electra.
Read more about Carmen Electra's career as an artist and work with Prince here.
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