Last Thursday, April 21, 2016, the world lost the man behind the luscious curls, ruffled shirts, and dynamic guitar solos: Prince. He was a showman and an icon who defied every stereotype of his time, with his uncompromising style and incredible musical range. His dynamic vocals and multi-instrumental sound gained him some of music’s highest recognitions. And while we’re all well into the mourning period of the late musician, we felt compelled to dedicate this column to The Purple One.
With two parents deeply embedded in the jazz scene of Minnesota, Prince was born into an influential, multi-talented home. At a young age, Prince taught himself…and mastered… multiple instruments, from guitar to drums. Once he signed to Warner Bros in the late 70s, Prince incorporated his self-taught methods into his debut album, For You, where he notably “did it all”: instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, producer. Since the start of his career, Prince poured his heart and soul into every note.
Prince was one of the most prominent artists of the 80s, and became known for his flamboyant style, free-flowing sexual expression, and deep spirituality. Prince was one-of-a-kind. With the addition of his band the Revolution, came the release of Purple Rain, his seminal release where numerous elements of funk, electronic, rock, and soul were infused to portray Prince’s eclectic style. He eagerly explored different genres and styles of music which not only kept everyone on their toes, and but had them continuously looking to him for inspiration.
His provocative performances and art gained him a controversial reputation, but at the same time, his music, supported self-expression and discovery. Prince demonstrated his support and activism for issues related to gender, racism, and religion through the lyrics and melodies in his music. His audacity and unmatchable raw talent, as well as his heart-warming smile, made Prince one of the world’s most unique and greatest talents of our time. A replacement would be impossible to find. Whether days or decades pass, Prince will continue to be an iconic influence for all musicians and fans alike.