Prince's All-Time Best Proteges

Voting Rules
Vote up your favorite musicians and celebrities mentored by Prince

Prince was known for not only his musical genius and talent, but also for his love of working with lesser-known musicians that came to be known as Prince's proteges. Here's a list of the most successful musicians who were mentored by Prince or received guidance from him. 

While the amount of people The Purple One inspired with his legendary music and iconic presence cannot be counted, there are a number of musicians prince mentored that went on to become stars, including Apollonia, Vanity, and Carmen Electra. As many of the celebrity Prince proteges have expressed, he was obsessive about creating music and loved fostering new talent (if you don't believe us, just check out this list of songs written by Prince for other artists).

Prince revived a number of careers, including Sheena Easton and Sheila E. Bands formed or mentored by Prince include The Time, a group that featured some of Prince's most successful proteges like Jesse Johnson and Morris Day. 

While Prince has left us, his talent and inspiration will live on through not only the proteges he worked with directly, but also through the musical legacy he created.  Now it's time to leave your mark on this list by voting up your favorite musicians and celebrities mentored by Prince. And if you're a fan, be sure to cast your vote for the best tracks in our list of Prince's hit songs and best albums.

  • 1
    128 VOTES
    The Time
    Video: YouTube

    According to SF Weekly, The Time "was created as Prince's alter-ego band to appeal to 'black' audiences." The band was made up of Minneapolis musicians including Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and guitarist Jesse Johnson.

    In Johnson's recollection, though, playing under Prince was "hell." According to Johnson, the band was so strong that Prince grew jealous, strictly dictating what they could and could not do. The guitarist claimed Prince sometimes insisted that The Time play live shows from behind a curtain.
    128 votes
  • 2
    163 VOTES
    Sheila E.
    Video: YouTube
    As Sheila E. told Entertainment Tonight, she and Prince "never slept" because they "loved to be at the studio at all hours of the night." As she described in an interview with ET in 1986, "Prince and I are friends and will always be friends." The two were also briefly engaged. 
    163 votes
  • 3
    132 VOTES
    Morris Day
    Video: YouTube

    As you can see in this clip when Morris Day was interviewed on Late Night with David Letterman on August 30, 1984 they discussed Day's appearance as Prince's rival in Purple Rain. Day knew Prince in high school and they actually played in a group together. At the end of the interview, Day alludes to some friction between him and Prince - mostly fueled by Day's own need to "be number one."

    According to The Guardian, "Day surfed effortlessly into a sustainable post-Purple Rain career. He scored two Billboard R&B No 1s: the Jam and Lewis-produced solo single 'Fishnet' in 1987, and the Prince-penned 'Jerk Out with the Time' in 1990."
    132 votes
  • 4
    116 VOTES
    Video: YouTube

    Vanity (real name Denise Katrina Matthews) was the lead singer of girl group Vanity 6 and was a protege and former girlfriend of Prince's. She passed away on February 16, 2016 after battling kidney failure in addition to abdominal illness.  

    Prince paid tribute to her during one of his concerts in Melbourne, Australia, dedicating his song "Little Red Corvette" to her memory.

    116 votes
  • 5
    106 VOTES
    Sheena Easton
    Video: YouTube
    As Sheena Easton said during an interview with MTV in 1990, Prince was the one who really encouraged her to take music seriously and pushed her to do it. The two sang together on the 1987 hit "U Got The Look." "He'll always be unique and always be a genius," she said in this interview snippet
    106 votes
  • Apollonia Kotero
    Video: YouTube

    Apollonia Kotero might be one of Prince's most well-known proteges. She co-starred with Prince's hit movie Purple Rain, and as she describes in this video from OWN, her role in the movie allowed her to do what she does today - manage talent.

    In her own words, she and Prince were a "platonically and romantically involved." 

    110 votes