Today is June 7, also known as Prince Day. It is Princes birthday and, although he didnt celebrate the occasion, we do so humbly in his honor.
How does one write about the person that you never knew but seemed to know you so well? The One who has a song that accurately reflects every emotion youve ever had. One of the sexiest men youve ever seen whose closet you wanted to raid for high-heeled boots and frilly shirts, not hoodies and basketball shorts.
I was fortunate to grow up during the time that Prince and Michael Jackson were at what many considered to be their zeniths. They seemed to battle each other for dominance and music lovers were the winners every time. Princes 1999 and MJs Thriller were released in the same year, as were MJs Bad and Princes Sign ‘O’ the Times.
There was no need to choose which was better; they coexisted and enriched us all with the soundtracks of our lives.
Prince was well-known as being unknowable. He seemed to embody the word enigma. Incredibly private, you only saw what he wanted you to see. This was often true of his generosity as well. It was not until after we lost Prince that many found out about his philanthropic endeavors.
“Albums still matter. Like books and Black lives, albums still matter. Tonight and always.” Help us caption & translate this video! http://amara.org/v/G200/
At the 2015 Grammys, Prince said: Like books and Black Lives, albums still matter. A few months later, Prince held the Rally 4 Peace concert in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police. This is what the public saw. But according to Van Jones, there were countless other issues about which Prince was concerned and to which he privately gave of both his platform and his money.
What we did see publicly were his battles with record companies to control his music. Prince understood that owning his masters was crucial, and he never stopped fighting. While some may remember when he had the word slave scrawled across his handsome face, it was not until later that many understood his true goal.
One Year Since Prince’s Passing
His battle informed countless artists of how important ownership of your music is. I would argue that Prince paved the way for Chance the Rapper to release his album to streaming services only with resounding success, causing the Grammys to change their voting requirements. Prince literally changed the music industry.
Today is a wonderful day to explore his music as tribute. I invite you to go deeper than you have before. Sure, we can all sing along to Lets Go Crazy and Little Red Corvette, but what do you know about Dear Mr. Man? Released on the Musicology album over 10 years ago, the lyrics ring as true today as they did then. Sit with any Prince album and his lyrics, and marvel at how prophetic he was, how beautifully he could turn a phrase.
One year ago we lost a great soul. I think this is one of Prince’s most powerful songs and everyone should really take in the message he was conveying. We’re all in this together. Especially right now we need to choose a loving response to everything and everyone, no matter what.
Prince provided decades of timeless music, each album different from the next. Trying to categorize Princes sound is foolhardy: there are elements of funk, rock, jazz, pop, R&B and more in every album. The Vault, where Prince keeps unreleased music, is said to contain enough music that an album could be released once a year for decades.
As I read over this piece, I notice that I speak of Prince both in the present and past tense. While normally a huge faux pas, it feels right to me for him.
Prince left us a little over a year ago and I am still in complete denial. As far as Im concerned, hes still at Paisley Park or perhaps enjoying a picnic by Lake Minnetonka.
Sheila E. crashed the party….The Kodak Theatre Los Angeles, California April 20, 2002
Maybe well get an album from him next year. He just wont tour anymore.
He and I never talked on the phone anyway (he didnt own a cellphone), so its not as if I miss daily interaction with him. I still have his music. Until the end of time.