It’s been almost 20 years since Prince first discovered Carmen Electra, but the actress, dancer and TV personality still thinks of her time as the Purple One’s protege fondly.
“It was the most unreal, amazing experience of my life,” Electra said about being in the studio and on the road with him. “Just to be around someone that’s so brilliant. I mean, obviously he’s a genius, and just seeing his work ethic and what he does and how creative he is. It’s so inspiring.”
It’s even become something of a personal self-affirmation for her.
“To this day, if I’m not feeling inspired, I think of those moments. Or if I’m feeling insecure sometimes, I’ll think to myself, ‘Well, Prince believed in me! I can do this!'” she giggles.
In a way, though, Prince was also responsible for her two decade-long disappearance from the music scene. Although she’s often thought of returning over the years, she admits that it was pretty hard to follow up on recording her debut album with Prince as a producer. “I kind of felt like, working with Prince, what do you do after that?”
Besides, so many other things were falling into Electra’s lap that her music career got pushed to the side.
“When I officially moved to Los Angeles, I started auditioning for different things and different opportunities came my way and I kind of felt like, even though music was what I originally set out to do. I couldn’t pass by some of the opportunities to be on MTV, to be part of the cast of Baywatch. It was so cool, but something that I had no idea was going to happen.”
Electra never really gave up on her first artistic love, though, and when the opportunity to record a track called “I Like it Loud” with famed producer Bill Hammel (Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, U2), she knew that it was time to get back in the studio.
“I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing,” she says of her tentative return. “I just kind of thought, ‘Let me go into the studio and record this song and get my feet wet. We’ll see where it goes from there.'”
The result of that little experiment is a banging club track in which Electra playfully lays down Ke$ha-like likes about partying, Instragramming and attempting “that Lana Dey Rey pout.”
“We love her! We love her!” she enthuses about the “Video Games” singer. “She’s gorgeous and she has that pout and she’s amazing.”
And while it may have started out as a bit of a lark, “I Like it Loud” has garnered enough attention to convince the potential pop star to record a full album.
“I’ve already recorded another song with [underground hip-hop producer] Vasi, who I respect so much,” she says. She also recently took a working vacation to Austin to check out some new tracks and enjoy the Formula 1 race.
The album, Electra promises, is going to be “hardcore electric dance music,” which is what she’s listening and moving to these days. And she’s started drawing up an ultimate wish list of her favorite DJs.
“My absolute dream collaboration would be Skrillex,” she says. “I also love Kaskade.”
She’s been listening to a lot of both Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks lately, as well, and admits that their feud bummed her out.
“Even though I know that they have beef with each other, I love them both. I completely support them both and I feel like, as women, we have to stick together and I don’t feel that the competition thing… I feel that there’s room for everyone.”
Even though her own tastes and her own music have strayed into clubbier and harder territory since her Prince days, Electra does confess to wondering what her old mentor might thing about “I LIke it Loud” and the forthcoming album.
“I am kind of curious,” she says. “Overall, it may not be his cup of tea, but I think that he would be proud of me.”
She’s a little more concerned about how her good friend and rumored boyfriend Simon Cowell (“We’re very close,” is all she’ll say about that) might eventually respond to the track. Scared enough that she hasn’t really gotten around to bringing it up with him.
“If he’s read about it somewhere, he hasn’t mentioned it to me. But yeah. I felt nervous. I didn’t want to tell him!”
They still haven’t talked about the musical direction that her career is currently taking, either, but that’s not too weird, given the fact that the pair prefer to keep things personal when they get together.
“We don’t talk business. We’re friends so, you know, we talk about… other things.”
This story was originally published November 27, 2012 via Spinner AOL.