Denise Matthews - Vanity Interview on the Philippe Matthews Show
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She was almost a New Year’s child, was Denise Katrina Matthews! January 4, 1959 was the day when she made her first appearance - but not many people recall that gig.
Fast forward to 1982!
The whole world remembers her contribution to The Eighties Pop Music as the sexy and sultry lead singer of Vanity 6, accompanied by Prince’s high-school girlfriend, Susan Moonsie and Boston native, Brenda Bennett. Their “Nasty Girl” was a dance smash and Denise rocketed to stardom, went solo and after a year or so, released another smash hit “Under the Influence,”. It can still drive us to the dance floor and Vanity’s music has influenced such artistic greats as Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, En Vogue and the Pussycat Dolls.
But it drove Vanity/Denise over the edge! She began a rapid and spiraling descent into drugs and amid the blackness and despair of a decadent life, she was rushed to Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. She was immediately placed on life support following her excessive and lethal use of crack cocaine and was preparing for certain death as her kidneys began to fail.
But today is a new day and Vanity is no longer a Nasty Girl. She left that life behind her nineteen years ago when she gave her life to Christ and became a born-again Christian. Denise recalls it, saying, “Being told you have three days to live, it doesn’t matter how you come to Jesus, JUST COME! I really gave Him my life that day. I remember praying to Jesus ‘Do whatever it takes, just please don't let me die,’ I made promises that I would leave Egypt and never go back, except of course, to preach!”
This Canadian-born beauty lost her sight temporarily as a result of high blood pressure and other serious complications and she spent the next six months in the dark – but, a different kind of darkness, she recalls. Denise was truly living the creed – no test, no testimony!
“Well, that’s a load of testimony right there! I am so busy overcoming so many issues in my life. That’s such a hard place, going through tremendous and torturous fires in your body. I’m still going through it! I‘ve had three more surgeries in the last eight years. My body would rather be home in Heaven - however, as King David said, I must serve my generation! I give Jesus my best and my all and I love all people – even my enemies I have learned to love! All that, to know how important it is to know that Jesus meets you in the fire and goes through it all with you - and we always come out like the three Hebrew boys - without that burnt smoke smell on our bodies and learning those magnificent lessons and overcoming.”
Denise has to undergo peritoneal dialysis three days a week because of the damage to her kidneys following her years of drug use while a performer. Every session lasts for twenty minutes and she says that now, she lives with just one regret, “Being without Jesus for so many years, I wish I was saved my whole life!”
Denise finds grace and strength in all areas of her life and lives it in a rapturous state of gratitude for her miraculous second chance at life. “Everything works together for the good of the love of God and are called according to His purpose,” she says. "I got purpose and His Name, Jesus. Eighteen years ago, they said I would die; they proclaimed death over my life, but Jesus, Amen, I am still here. Isn't God great?”
Denise has finally released her autobiography following years of writing, rewriting and editing, saying “I have been writing this book for eighteen years. When I first finished it, God told me to throw it out -- it is time to grow up and grow past those days. Inside the book and on every page, I had told all the dirt, my dirt, their dirt, his dirt and her dirt! Everything anyone has ever done to me.” The book is called “Blame It on Vanity,” the most appropriate name Denise could have given to her own life on paper.
This is not a gossip book with scandal and secrets on every page; instead, Denise has chosen to write a straightforward and truthful account of her tumultuous childhood and rock-star life. People who read this account will know of two relationships – mostly the one with Prince – and the other with King Jesus. A third relationship in this book has to do with the physical, emotional and psychological abuse she and her sisters endured from their biological father.
She does not like to speak publicly about it, which is why she wrote about her childhood pain in her autobiography. “That is such a long story and I would prefer you to read about it in the chapters – plus, you will cry and get your computer all wet.” Before blaming her life on Vanity, she blamed it on her father. Denise was fifteen when he died – and there was a sense of closure, when she said quietly “he was on his deathbed and looked up at me and said to me, ‘I love you Denise!’ Her response was chilling – “you know what I said, Phillipe – I never believed him!”
Denise says with conviction “I blamed him for my life – but now, I blame myself for everything after he died, when I continued to live. I did not forgive him or myself until I came to Jesus in 1991.”
She speaks of her last relationship in her book - her failed marriage to football player, Anthony Smith of the Oakland Raiders. They divorced in 1996. She recalls,
“Yes, I was married. I have a sincere love relationship with my soul mate, whom I finally yearned for; Jesus my Father, my God, Amen! My ex divorced me and then I followed Jesus. He went the other way and I forgave him for cheating. God has said ‘What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.’ Some of us have put our own wrongs together without listening to Jesus but that's another story. I have been a celibate virgin for almost fourteen years.”
Towards the end of our conversation, I asked Denise what advice she would offer to men and women wanting to pursue their dreams but have a similar childhood story. Her answer was immediate! “Find Jesus, Follow Jesus, Seek Jesus and never leave Jesus. The whole world is going to pot but Jesus, now Him you can trust, the world is Egypt. I am afraid for those that deny Him, or for those that have known Him and walked away.”
Between praising God, her dialysis treatments and signing autographed copies of her book, Denise makes time to work on the launch of Pure Heart Ministries. “We bring souls to Jesus,” Denise says, “I preach wherever God sends me and I do not charge. I am not a wealthy woman as most suppose. I live for Jesus and people give me offerings. God supplies all my needs - Amen?! Love and more love!”
Listen to the Exclusive Interview with Denise Matthews - Vanity @: http://www.thepmshow.tv