It was 20 years ago that Carmen Electra first splashed onto the scene as an up-and-coming singer. Discovered by the agelessly sexy Prince, she was signed to his Paisley Park label and began touring as his opening act. Electra was quickly swept up in Los Angeles’ high-profile entertainment scene, and she went on to steam up the pages of Playboy, then landing gigs with MTV’s Singled Out and Baywatch. Eventually she starred in a slew of hit parody comedies like Scary Movie and Cheaper by the Dozen 2.
Now an established author, model, dancer, and fitness guru—we're not winking ironically here, we swear it's true—Electra returned to the recording studio to work on a new single, “I Like It Loud,” which was produced by Bill Hamel and drops today.
With an infectiously danceable beat and high-octane rap verses, the single is very reminiscent of Ke$ha’s rap/pop finesse. It even has notes of Britney’s platinum-selling Femme Fatale. One thing’s for sure, it’s hot and club-ready—perfect for today’s Top 40 fare.
We caught up with Electra to talk about her return to music, her headline-grabbing “friendship” with Simon Cowell, and her thoughts on marriage equality and gay rights in lieu of last week’s landmark election.
Out: After 20 years away from the mic, what inspired you to get back to recording music?
Carmen Electra: Well I started off with the record deal with Prince and Paisley Park records, and what an amazing experience at such a young age to work with such a genius. I just fell in love. I had a chance to go on tour with Prince on the Diamonds and Pearls tour ... It was almost like a dream. After that, I moved to Los Angeles. I didn’t have a manager, I didn’t have agents, I didn’t have a publicist. It was just kind of like, “Hey, here’s an opportunity—I’m gonna go for it!” kind of thing. One thing led to the other, and I ended up getting my job hosting for MTV, ended up being a new cast member of Baywatch, doing films, endorsing products, Aerobics Strip Tease, performing with the Pussy Cat Dolls. But during all this time, I still have had this deep-down burning desire to do music.
Now at this point in my life, I wasn’t out looking to do music, but it just happened really natural and organic. I just met the right people. I decided not to tell anyone—just go in and record, and if it sounds good, then we’ll take it from there. And that’s what I did. And the next thing I know, I’m booked to perform on all these shows, and it’s coming out November 13, and I’m really excited!
I think this is the future. You don’t necessarily have to go around and sell it. You do it, and you put it out there, and wait and see what happens.
When you heard “I Like It Loud,” what about it appealed to you as an artist?
Growing up as a dancer, music is what moves me. So I have to have good music. I mean, a lot of different kinds of music move me, but I do love electronic music and dance music so when I heard the track, it was a no-brainer. This is me here.
We’ve heard you’re especially excited to get the track out to your gay fans. Could you expand upon that?
You know, I love people for who they are, I always have, and I will never change that. This music is the music that I love, and hopefully it will reach many different people. But of course I love my gays, they run my world!
You recently told Glamoholic that “I Like It Loud” might be a stand-alone single. Is there any development on that? Can we expect an album from you soon?
We’ve decided to go back in the studio this week and record another song, and I just think that we’re going to keep listening to tracks, keep it moving. We’re going to shoot a video [for “I Like It Loud”] in early December. So it’s going to be a busy couple of months, but I’m really excited about it … I’m looking at it as if this is something that’s a passion of mine, so I’m gonna go for it.
On Twitter and Facebook, so many people always ask for words of advice, and so many times we don’t follow our own advice. Music is something that has been a burning desire, something that I’m really passionate about. And for some reason I wasn’t pushing forward on it. Now that it’s all happening, I’m going to do exactly what I’d tell my fans if they asked me for my opinion.
Is music where you see yourself in the future, or are there other projects that you see yourself tackling?
I actually just shot a recurring role on 90210. The first episode I’m in aired already. The second one I’m in is going to air December 3. It’s their 100th episode, so I feel very honored to be a part of the 100th. It was very cool! We shot at the Playboy Mansion, and Hugh Hefner was there, the bunnies were there. Every time I go it’s like going to an adult Disneyland. It’s never boring.
Earlier this year you were a guest judge on Britain’s Got Talent. Do you see yourself every joining a panel full-time? It certainly seems like the ‘it’ thing to do lately.
It’s so funny, being a judge is something that I never thought I would do. I had gotten many offers to do similar things, and it just never felt like the right place in my life to do something like that. Once I decided to go ahead and be a part of Britain’s Got Talent and to work with Simon and the group, I realized how much fun it is. It’s a blast; I had such a good time. I was just filling in for a judge who was out for a little while, and when I flew back home from London, I was kind of sad. I wanted to go back—I wanted to stay and do a couple of more shows. I really loved it.
Speaking of Britain’s Got Talent, I know that there’s been all this noise surrounding your dating life lately. Is there anything that you want to set the record straight on?
[Simon and I] became friends during Britain’s got talent, and now that he’s in town with X Factor, we just have more time to hang out. He’s a really good friend. I really like him.
Considering last week’s landmark election, what are your thoughts on gay rights in this country? Any words of support?
When it comes to politics, I usually am not so vocal about them in the public eye. But I will tell you that I do support gay rights, and I think just like anyone else who chooses to get married, there’s no reason that a couple that loves each other—no matter what sex they are—shouldn’t have those same opportunities.
WATCH: Behind the Scenes of "Like it Loud" Cover Shoot: