A flood of emotional experiences parades my mind in light of the N.E.W.S of April 21st, 2016. I don’t think any of us expected it to come so soon. On A full moon, Prince transcended this earthly dimension into a higher place. His kingdom in the heavens. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster 2.0 as everything just seems to linger at the center. If I am being completely honest, it feels as if the universe made a huge mistake.
Prince has been the soundtrack of my life for as long as I understood the depth of sound. He has a song for every emotion and experience. Which makes it extremely difficult. He’s everywhere. (The song ‘Everywhere’ from The Rainbow Children) If I want to get Mad // I think of the song ‘Mad’ composed in 1994 released on the NPG Music Club. When I listen to his songs about Joy // I then Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic. It goes on and on. A song with every feeling and emotion which carries me into a very intense realization.
Prince is one of those artists that constantly challenges and creatively keeps you on the edges of wonder. His music has really affected me in ways deeper than any other artist has, and this expedition is eternal. There seems to be an explosion of where to go when examining the large body of work he has! If you want to know anything, look deep inside your soul!
I was taken by surprise when I realized the soundscapes capable of being explored each and every time. Each time he took the stage, he could rearrange a song in a completely different form. Effortlessly he could combine several genres into one. He became one song and this one song was free.
Prince represented, stood for and embodied Freedom. There are no walls. There is no time. He made an example of this anytime he released a song, he would prove there was always more to find. Hidden treasures buried underneath multiple layers of sonic nirvana. I can speak forever about his music. I use to review his albums on my YouTube channel – it was only recently (about 2 weeks ago) when I decided to remove my album discussions. I enjoyed making these videos as it was so fun exploring the production and story that is enveloped in his songs. I removed my album discussions because I became aware that my opinions of his songs evolved with my experiences. I realize that music is one of the best diaries to any experience. I also realize that I didn’t feel it was necessary to review everything that was released. I can display my appreciation for the music in light of the inspiration that Paisley Park brought me. (I will upload those reviews online as landmark anniversaries come along 🙂
I’ve had amazing experiences and I am considerably thankful for all I learned since my journey began. Each of us has a Prince story. A time where we heard a song and were taken to a place or maybe even a one on one encounter with him. He’s touched the lives of so many and the reason for this, causes to us to celebrate.
It’s been marvelous to see all of the stories come out which display how many lives he has touched. From young to old. Musicians to Politicians. If you’ve heard his sound at all, you have been moved into a place of true respect. I’ve had the privilege of being closer to some of the magic by experiencing Paisley Park on the regular. Conducting the Studio Tours there, was a dream I never could imagine. Several times I was brought by surprise when he would show up. He’d always say Hi, and was quite the joker. One distinct time I remember is when I was at a private rehearsal with his newly formed band. Kirk Johnson On Drums, Mono Neon on Bass guitar , Donna Grantis on Lead Guitar, Adrian Crutchfield on Saxophone, and Prince primarily on keys (although he played guitar when he felt it)
I was working the teleprompter. Can’t mess that up right? Just scrolling up the lyrics as the music played along. Sounds easy enough right? Well, this one time the set list was not followed in order of the list. Which is to be expected, as Prince shuffles through his songs on a whim. I couldn’t exactly find the lyrics for Free Urself, and the band was playing as normal. Prince was in front of me and he noticed this and would always smile and look back. He had this smirk on his face that he kept giving it as he noticed the lyrics were not there. I was so nervous and was trying hard to find the lyrics. He stopped the music and laughed and said: “The Lyrics just seemed to disappear huh?” I explained they weren’t in the file, and he said “Cool – we can do something that is there. You pick.” So I choose ‘What It Feels Like” and he went through it. I felt so relieved but also felt I needed to step my game so that this could not happen again.
Couldn’t be more than ten seconds and he changed it up after saying “I’m feeling something a bit harder…” then we went straight into “Xtraloveable”. It was so funky, I could barely scroll up on the teleprompter and he looked back and said “You’re free to dance if you want to! You can dance and clap your hands…we’ll just jam! We know the lyrics to this one! Clap your hands and dance! It’s Alright!”
He made it possible to be free. (Even while you were at ‘Work’) To inspire for higher and to reach for broader places. He encouraged and demanded it. It was a necessity to reach out and to do the work. I am extremely thankful for the opportunities that have been given. I’ll always celebrate and remind myself that I was as close to the magic as I could be. I got to see a side to him that was music personified. A gift I’ll treasure for a lifetime.
We in the #PurpleArmy should feel blessed at the amount of music we have because of Prince. We can be captured by simply listening to the sound and for this, I’ll be eternally grateful. Thank you, Prince, for being a mentor, teacher, and the embodiment of music. You have forever changed and transformed the landscape of sound.
Thank you Jesse for sharing this beautiful memory. He really did transform and free us with his teaching and his music. My heart fills with joy thinking about your relationship with him! He saw you! And really he saw us all too which is what allows those of us who were not as close to connect with his music in such an intimate way 💜 4ever grateful!