When Prince announced that he'd be releasing an album by a singer named Bria Valente, his “protege,” many music fans scratched their heads. Was this another in a long line of Apollonia wannabes? What kind of “protege” was Valente? Do we trust Prince, who, aside from the Time, has been much less successful as a talent scout than as an Artist?

Well, leave it to Tavis Smiley to find out. Last week Smiley broadcast an insightful interview with the Purple One, and the music world paid attention. Less known is that part of the deal with interviewing Prince, it seems, was also the agreement that Smiley would talk to Valente. Nice leveraging on Prince's part.

Smiley, whose taste in music is perhaps the polar opposite of West Coast Sound's (he likes smooth jazz and quiet storm R&B), lobs a whole host of softball questions Valente's way. Follow along as we learn about Valente and, as Smiley put it, her “stellar elevator music.”

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