I will try but I know words will fail me in this post, there are just none…
The year 2016 has not been kind to a music enthusiast like me! I still can’t believe it as I write this. On Thursday April 21st, while at work I first thought it was a joke like one of those “Haha you clicked on the link and have been pranked” jokes. However when I saw it from a reliable news source I couldn’t deny it anymore. Prince, one of my all time musical influences/icons was dead. HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED?? He was ONLY 57, what happened? I NEVER HAD THE CHANCE TO SEE HIM PERFORM LIVE AND I NEVER WILL AGAIN!! My heart sank. I wanted to shut my office door and cry!
I’ve been completely devastated when learning about the passing of Prince. The man and his music always seemed more than human to me: just a walking being of pure musical energy. I don’t even know where to begin on how his music and talent have impacted me.
I’ve heard several of his songs before but my senior year of high school, fall of 2004 is when I truly discovered Prince. My English teacher had a copy of Purple Rain in his cabinet of many vhs tapes. I asked if I could borrow it and took it home that night. During this time I was going through a hard time emotionally, a serious bought of depression which I was facing all alone. I felt I couldn’t relate to my family and would almost dread going home every night. I also felt isolated while at school, I just didn’t have a place anywhere. The only thing keeping me going at school was anything music or performance related. I was beginning to fear it could no longer fill me and at school being involved in music, I was just one of many; not important or outstanding in any way. I felt there was no hope. Thank goodness outside of school I took dance lessons and this had become another vice for me. Another way to perform and a place I could be myself and do what I love.
Anyway back to Purple Rain: it changed MY life more than I could say. I don’t care how many people say how horrible it is (the movie that is), they just don’t get it like me. Seriously this movie and soundtrack CHANGED my life! Even only semi autobiographical, Purple Rain was an eye opening look at how Prince took all of his struggles, hardships, work, wants, desires, passions, pretty much his whole life into his music. The soundtrack was just amazing throughout. I felt I could relate the struggles the movie portrayed though maybe my situation wasn’t as intense as his home life was acted out in the film. Each person connected to him whether family, band, boss/club manager, love interest or enemy you really felt all the tensions that were building up. That ending scene though!! I can’t put into words how that title track and ending scene makes me feel all the feels. Prince showed me how to turn your tragedies into triumphs! Don’t be anything other that yourself. Do what you love and love what you do! Put everything in your music, and that’s what I wanted to do: put all of myself in music, dance, performing. Above everything I do I am a performer: right down to the very core of my being.
Dancing was a way for me get everything out and kept my mind busy learning new things. Every senior got a solo in our yearly recital and I began looking for songs for my solo. Going through everything I was: depression, isolation, being an outcast, I felt compelled to do a lyrical dance. I knew right away I had to do my dance to Purple Rain. I couldn’t cut any of the song out; I had to include all the lyrics and leaving anything out would just not be right. This song MOVES me! My solo was 4 and half minutes btw… then again I was only 18 when I performed it.
Another huge part of the movie and Prince as an artist from Minneapolis that inspired me: the setting at First Avenue. This drove me to pursue music when I went to college. Even though my family disagreed and would put me down saying, “You can’t get a job with a music degree, you will end up singing on the streets.” No support there except from myself. With my Purple Rain vinyl, I moved out of my parents’ the first week of school and into the dorms at school complete with a door covered with a Revolution poster:
Looking at all his music since then and throughout the years: no one else even comes close to him as an musician, artist, performer. No one can do his songs like him and any cover just sounds like crap. He has the craziest widest range that just can’t be done by any other human and he can play ANY instrument. He seriously is the greatest artist of all time. Michael Jackson has(d) nothing on him. There will never be another Prince. Never. He inspired me to study music, also to move up to Minneapolis and someday perform at First Avenue. This venue is like my temple. After college when I was looking for jobs and apartments up in the Twin Cities, I went out of my way to find and drive by First Avenue. The first time I laid eyes on this venue was a religious experience. This was the place! Purple Rain was filmed here! Prince was made here! Everything that would eventually make it’s way to me and my life all started in this very building.
In May of 2011, I finally attended a concert there! I couldn’t believe I was finally in the same space Prince started and where that magical ending scene of Purple Rain was shot! And then I saw it, the giant star on the wall:
It would be a dream to perform here but if not, I will find any reason to be a patron here. I’ve gone to concerts for bands I don’t even know just so I could be in the main room. There is nothing like seeing live music here, especially one of my favorite bands. Seriously this is the most amazing venue EVER!!!
This amazing city I am lucky to have two hours away, Prince has definitely left his mark here. “He was ours” an online article proclaimed on the day of his death. Seriously that couldn’t be any more true. This has been such a huge loss, and I was one of many who’s life was changed because of his music. We’ve lost such an amazing soul. This post has been difficult to write because I really can’t find any words to explain how much this person whom I’ve never met means to me. A sad time but also a time of celebration: A celebration for the life he had and the music he left. How many good times have I had to his music? Cruising around with friends to Raspberry Beret, dancing in the bar to I Would Die 4 U, Baby I’m A Star, Kiss, 7, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, Fury, Let’s Go Crazy, Delirious, Pussy Control; it’s a LONG list! Also how many songs have I heard from other artists only to find out Prince wrote them? I remember being with a friend in a music store and noticing the Prince single for: How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore, a song covered by Alicia Keys. I then said to my friend, “If you think a song is good by an artist you don’t care for, it’s probably because Prince wrote it!”
I can only imagine how much unreleased music is in his vaults and I hope the world gets to hear someday.
Thank you for the music, inspiration, energy, life, love.
Goodnight Sweet Prince.
Nothing Compares 2 U