If a tangible fountain of youth actually exists, Carmen Electra has to know where it is. At 41 years old, she’s not only somehow curved the aging process, but continued to blaze new trails in a 20+ year career in entertainment. In addition to becoming FHM’s “oldest” cover star (see: above), Lady C has also catapulted herself back to the top of the dance charts with new music, including the hit single “Werq.”
Armed with the stage presence of an old pro, undeniable sex appeal and years of support from “The Artist Formerly Known As…,” fans will finally see that Carmen’s talent is more than skin deep.
Keep reading to see what it’s really like working alongside Prince and tips for owning your confidence.
Photo Credit: FHM
VIBE Vixen: What made you want to jump back into music?
Carmen: Well, I never really wanted to stop doing it. I felt really blessed early on in my career to have met Prince and to audition for a girl group he was putting together. I remember receiving a call from him saying, “I think you should try to do your own thing and I want to help you.” It felt like a dream. I was thinking, “Is this really happening?” and next thing you know, I was living in Minneapolis at Paisley Park Studios everyday and that to me was sort of like the Willy Wonka of music. There’s studios, there’s musicians, wardrobe departments so clothes are being made for shows and just everything you can imagine in that world. It was a magical time and I think in the beginning, having somebody like Prince believe in me really helped give me a little bit more self-confidence because I really am more of a shy, insecure kind of person.
Did you catch Prince on New Girl?
I did! It was so good. It was amazing, Oh, my God. I heard he had a lot of input ,too and I could tell.
I agree. He obviously comes off as a very serious person, but he was surprisingly hilarious.
I think that that’s one thing about this business you learn; that people might see you in a video or see you during a photo shoot or in a picture where you look a certain way, but unless you do a lot of interviews or really show your personality, you know people would never know what a silly side he has to him. It was brilliant.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from him as an artist?
I would have to say his work ethic because he was non-stop, completely motivated; constantly rehearsing or making music or writing, directing his videos. He was hands-on with everything and he really has a vision of what he wants during a certain time and really wouldn’t let anyone stray him away from him doing what he wants to do. I respected that a lot because I think in this business a lot of times, people want to change you and he’s always sort of stood up and said, “No, I’m not going to change. This is what I want to do–take it or leave it.”
What has been most difficult for you as a musician?
Just sort of getting over little things. I feel so comfortable dancing and performing on stage; that really comes more naturally to me and dance is what I’ve studied my whole life. To me, the most challenging part has been how everything happened so fast–and I’m assuming that a lot of people record a lot first and then kind of have a plan. We had no plan at all. I met the right people at the right time and them saying just come in the studio. It was very small and we just started playing around and literally the first single was put out immediately and the next thing, we’re flying to New York going to perform at all these different venues and on Wendy Williams. That made me the most nervous because a lot people get a lot of time in small clubs to figure out all the kinks and we just jumped right into it so it’s been a learning experience.
If you had to sing another genre of music, which would it be?
I think it would be cool to have a band. Back in the day, Prince was all about live music. I opened up for him at the European tour of “Diamonds and Pearls” and I had my own band for like a second (laughs).
Tell us more about creating “Werq.”
I was sent a bunch of tracks and I listened to all of them obviously and the music really stood out to me. When I hear the music, I automatically am trying to think of how it would fit in the show we are trying to put together and it automatically made me feel like dancing. That’s kind of what we need– high energy. It’s just about sitting down with everybody to change some things to make it my own, even when we’re doing vocals, having someone there that pushes me a little is really important. The next thing I’m going to do is sit down with my journals and a writer.
What is one thing we’ll learn about you that we haven’t already?
I am a fighter and I’ve been through a lot in my life. I just have something inside of that has to fight and wants to never give up.But I would like people to also see the other side of me, which is a more vulnerable side. Last year, my goal was I want to have fun and made a lot of changes in my life. I feel like there is a lot more I could say. What I do like about “Werq” is that it is a positive message and is just about getting out there and empowering yourself and making it work. I do like that message because from certain past projects I’ve worked on like Aerobic Strip Tease, felt like that to me. I also wrote a book on how to be sexy and I talked a lot about my insecurities and little things and tricks that I do to boost my confidence. I think it’s important for people to see not only the fantasy of everything but the realness of who you are. I respect that in other artists, whether they’re actors, singers, performers– that’s what I love and I want to bring as much of that as I can.
What is the key to owning your confidence as a woman?
I think for me it’s up and down, but when I’m not feeling like I’m on the right path whether it’s in relationships or work, I write lists of things that I could change or make better. Figure out what makes you feel good, laugh a lot, laugh at yourself– which I’ve learned early on in my career. That’s why I love being a part of the Scary Movie franchise and silly stuff, too because certain things in life we have to take serious but then there’s so much that we worry about that really means nothing. Accept your flaws and differences and just own them. If you have a big scar on your forehead, just rock that shit (laughs). People can sense when you’re not feeling confident.