After a number of disputes with Prince, Vanity (Denise Matthews), the lead singer of the Prince-created Vanity 6, fled the Prince entourage in 1983 to pursue solo endeavors, recording with Motown Records and acting in films. She left open an acting position for the role written for her by Prince in the film Purple Rain.
After a frantic casting call, the film's director met actress and model Patricia Kotero. Renamed by Prince as "Apollonia", her middle name, Kotero stepped into Vanity's role in the film Purple Rain, as well as in the fragmented group Vanity 6, as lead singer. The other two members of Vanity 6, Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie, joined Apollonia, and the group was christened "Apollonia 6" for the film and what would be their sole album (featuring Prince associates Jill Jones and Wendy & Lisaon backing vocals).
A four-track video was filmed, based on the Apollonia 6 album, directed by Brian Thomson (Australian production designer of the original stage versions of The Rocky Horror Show and Jesus Christ Superstar), scripted by Keith Williams (concept writer for music videos by Phil Collins, Ray Parker, Jr., and Donna Summer), with a cast consisting of Ricky Nelson, Edy Williams and Buck Henry. Shot in a Los Angeles film studio in 1985, and produced by British video firm Limelight, the video never went beyond rough cut. Footage from the project has appeared on many social networking sites, such as YouTube.
Prince had originally intended his classic tracks "Manic Monday" (later recorded by The Bangles), "17 Days" (later used as the B-side to "When Doves Cry"), "Take Me with U" (released on the Purple Rain soundtrack) and "The Glamorous Life" (recorded by Sheila E. in 1984) for the Apollonia 6 album but he soon lost interest in the project, knowing Apollonia's voice wasn't up to par. Even her take for "Take Me with U" took a while. Prince left her with engineer Susan Rogers to work on the track. Despite rumors to the contrary, Prince and Apollonia were never involved sexually or romantically. Kotero was married at the time (to her current husband), and her relationship was kept secret in order to create a mystique of romance between Prince and herself. Prince became aware that she would not be continuing with his group after her contractual obligations to complete the film and one album were fulfilled. Apollonia 6 were slated to open the Purple Rain tour with Prince and Sheila E., but that idea was scrapped after the group returned from a promotional tour of Europe. However, Apollonia 6 did appear on a few select dates of the Purple Rain tour, usually during the "Baby I'm a Star" encore. One such moment is documented in the "I Would Die 4 U" and "Baby I'm a Star" performance on the VHS of Prince and the Revolution Live, filmed in Syracuse, March 30, 1985.