My first memory of Prince was stumbling across my mother’s copy of Controversy and her snatching it from me while mumbling something around the cigarette hanging on her lip about having to look out for the short guys and laughing under her breath. He instantly became synonymous with something forbidden, something to be desired and sought after.
Several years later, after a lifetime of carefully handling my grandmother’s and mother’s 8 tracks and record collections, I got a stack of my very own music; seven cassettes purchased at the Richland’s mall and Purple Rain was the first cassette I picked up, carrying it through the store with me as if someone was threatening to snatch it from me. I remember getting home, overly excited to pop my new haul into my boom box.
Lying on my living room floor, listening to Prince use his notable vocal range to moan, growl, and screech breathily from my speakers, I was enraptured. Between the Purple Rain album and the movie, I was forever transformed. This man, whose sensuality was palpable through screen and sound, was a foreign concept to me at the age of 11, with his big “come hither” eyes lined with make-up. I was hooked on his sultry androgyny as Darlin’ Nikki snaked its way out of my speakers into my virginal ears, my fevered teenage hormones were set aflame and my mouth left agape as he beckoned to my burgeoning sexuality. He will forever mark that transformative time in my life. He reigned supreme in his role of Sex God and Musician.
Today the music stopped.
The first friend who tagged me in a report sent me flying to the internet to fact check it, immediately finding a “Prince Death Hoax” article that allowed me a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. I still had time to see him in concert. I had flashbacks to the New Year’s Eve party that I attended a mere four and a half months ago, in his honor. No way, he was truly gone.
Then the reports were coming in from the news giants. It was true and honestly, it took the breath out of me.
I was left wondering how much music we missed out on as he battled for the integrity of his sound, his life’s work with his record label and became the Unpronounceable symbol:
He left a Discography of over 30 albums not to include his compilation albums, with 32 Grammy nominations and 12 MTV Nominations, with a total of 12 wins and I’m still left with the feeling that I missed out on something.
His passion for music was evident as videos would randomly pop up with him collaborating with any number of musicians from any genre; the mark of someone who truly loves his craft for the sheer joy of being able to create and experience, I never felt like he was in it for the money, each performance was something unique from his soul.
But he not only left behind a body of performance art but philanthropic and charitable work. The work that this world needs so badly, but too often gets swept to the wayside by adoring starstruck fans. So caught up in a look or mimicking a sound that we don’t even notice the real work or the person behind the public persona. We not only lost a great creative mind yesterday but a caring heart that transcended ego and celebrity.
We all mourn the musical genius that was Prince, but you really need to hear this…
Posted by Selector Jay Tre on Friday, April 22, 2016
On this day, April 21, 2016, we realized that we were the Doves.