The singer and actress stopped by The Huffington Post on Tuesday to discuss her new disco-influenced single “All Your Love” and recalled how the late great icon helped to shape her upcoming album, which is expected to drop in March 2017.
Graham worked closely with Prince while crafting the records slated to appear on the project and took his cues when he suggested she deviate from the ‘90s feel that laced her debut album “Roxbury Drive.”
“He was like ‘Why aren’t you doing something that feels more funk and more [like] Donna Summers [or a] Giorgio Moroder sound?” Graham remembered. “And then I sent him ‘All Your Love’ in its infancy. And he was like ‘Did you write this yourself? Did you do this?’ And I was like ‘Yeah I did it all myself.’ And he was like ‘Aw, my baby’s all grown up.’”
Graham said that Prince eventually “set the tone” for the album and helped to write for the project as well. She also received guidance from Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, who co-wrote several songs with Graham, and Jean-Yves “Jeeve” Ducornet who produced the album’s lead single.
Graham first linked with Prince back in 2013 after he reached out to offer his musical expertise. Once she touched base with him, Graham headed to Minneapolis, trading a planned birthday trip to Mexico for face time with the legendary artist.
“I spent my birthday in Paisley Park. But he didn’t celebrate birthdays, so we didn’t really celebrate it, but it was like my unofficial birthday day,” she told HuffPost’s Lauren Moraski.
Their collaboration spawned a few tracks, one of which is on the upcoming album, but it seems the pair also cultivated a bond that went beyond just efficient use of studio time.
“He spent a lot of time educating me on everything from jazz to funk to fashion to spirituality to artist integrity,” the “Vampire Diaries” star said. “The labels. The business. So it was more of not just working in the studio, which we did plenty of that but it was more so, defining what kind of artist, really what kind of person you want to be out in the world.”
While losing her friend and mentor back in April was undoubtably difficult, Graham looked back on her memories with him fondly, remembering his candor and saucy personality well.
“I feel like he would have ... said, ‘Well, honey, I’ve taught you everything you needed to know and if you need any more than that then I didn’t do my job,” Graham said.
Watch the rest of the Kat Graham’s HuffPost interview here.