EXCLUSIVE: Kat Graham on Working With Prince and How He Taught Her to Go 'Against the Grain'

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Kat Graham's newest album drops June 2, and you can thank Prince for the project's sound!
The 27-year-old singer stopped by ET's studio in Los Angeles on Monday, where she opened up about collaborating with The Purple One for her second album, Love Music Funk Magic, before he died last April.
"I had gotten a phone call in 2013, he said that he wanted to work with me on my album and work with me as an artist," she told ET's Courtney Tezeno during a Facebook Live interview. "I winded up going down to Paisley Park on my birthday and we started working on a few different records."
"For the past three years, he was probably the only other producer besides Kenny ["Babyface" Edmonds] that I had brought into this process," she continued. "I'm delusionally cocky when it comes to my music, and I, like, refuse to work with… I had this one manager who was telling me, 'You should work with this person,' and, 'This person did this song with Fifth Harmony and Ariana Grande.' I like funk music and I like '90s stuff -- [pop's] not really my thing. I'm like anti-pop and anti-establishment, so I think that we got along really well."
Graham said she felt "really guided" by Prince's ideas of "what it takes to be an artist" while "maintaining some sort of integrity for your career." She also confirmed they started working on "a few" records together, one which she is still keeping hush about at the moment.
"I'm not going to tell you," she joked, when ET asked her to spill the name of the project. She had no problem talking about what it was like working with the late music icon behind the scenes, however. Graham credits Prince for teaching her a lot of valuable lessons about herself and the music industry.
"I learned that it's OK to be stubborn about your craft and it's OK to demand excellence from the industry," she said. "I'm like, 'Why aren't artists owning their masters? Why are labels robbing artists dry, and they have to spend all this time on tour to even break even?' Like, what happened? Why are they promoting things that aren't either socially conscious or elevating the human consciousness?"
"I learned about what kind of person I wanted to be," she continued. "I want to be someone who is a great representation of a black woman in Hollywood, a black woman in the entertainment industry. And what that means, and how I need to carry myself and what I need to talk about."
"You know, I'm an activist. I'm a proud activist," she added. "So I want to be someone who is pro-black and pro-Africa, and still be somebody that has positive influence. I learned a lot about activism from him, and to be able to make music that I feel really good about, even if it goes against the grain."
She also teased that, thanks to Prince and Babyface, fans can expect to hear a song or two about love and heartbreak on Love Music Funk Magic.
"Being around them for the years I have been, I learned about the very subtle ways that you can write a song about someone you love, or heartbreak, and what it means or what the real messaging is," she explained. "I learned how to be creative. I would say that Kenny sat with me while I fished, and Prince taught me how to."
Before wrapping up our interview, we had to ask Graham about The Vampire Diaries. When asked if she'd ever be open to doing a spinoff, she said she wasn't a fan of that idea.
"I won't consider a spinoff, just because eight years is a long time," she shared. "I committed so much of my life and time to the character. I feel like it ended in the way that it needed to end. I want to be able to give my time not just to the industry, but I'm doing a lot of philanthropy work."
"I want to be able to travel, and I want to be able to add something to the world," she added. "If I'm on a TV show for eight years, it can be limiting in terms of time. I want to be able to do more refugee work."
Watch the video below to hear more!