By Tara Yilmaz
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to read an article on one of the greatest musicians in life: Prince. His legacy means his music will live on forever and that’s a mighty long time. But I’m here to tell you there’s something else. Four, did you know facts? Facts that will leave you happy. And you can always read them, day or night.
The year was 1988, and I was just a young girl playing the Muppet Babies’ “Rocket to the Stars” album on my Sesame Street record player. After wearing the record out, I moved on to my parents’ albums in hopes of continuing the mini jam session with my stuffed animals. My father had the bright idea to go to Crafton-Ingram Shopping Center where there was a record store and purchase any album that would keep my tiny fingers off their vast collection. He admits that he didn’t know much about the artist, but figured it would keep me busy. The album was “Purple Rain” by Prince and the Revolution and it changed my life.
→ Did you know Prince’s real name is Prince Rogers Nelson? Born on June 7, 1958, in Minneapolis Minnesota to musician parents. His father, John Nelson, was leader of the Prince Rogers Trio and his mother was Mattie Shaw, a singer in the band.
→ Did you know Prince could play at least 27 musical instruments? On his first full-length studio album “For You” released in April 1978, Prince was 19 years old and played every instrument that could be heard on each track. The 2016 BBC article “12 incredible and slightly crazy things about Prince” written by Anna Doble reflects on the artist as prodigy; on the album’s notes Prince is listed as the musician behind "all vocals" as well as (deep breath) "electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, bass synth, singing bass, Fuzz bass, electric piano, acoustic piano, mini-Moog, poly-Moog, Arp string ensemble, Arp Pro Soloist, Oberheim four-voice, clavinet, drums, syndrums, water drums, slapsticks, bongos, congas, finger cymbals, wind chimes, orchestral bells, woodblocks, brush trap, tree bell, hand claps, and finger snaps".
→ Did you know Prince was a songwriter for other mainstream artists? Many people already know the radio’s popular songs like “Manic Monday” by the Bangles, and “Nothing Compares 2 U,” by Sinead O’ Conner. But many don’t know he wrote other hits like “Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks, “Why Should I Love You” by Kate Bush, “Waiting Room” by No Doubt and “You’re My Love,” performed by Kenny Rogers. For many songs, Prince used the pseudonym Joey Coco, Alexander Nevermind or Christopher Tracy to separate himself from the music. More accurately in Prince’s words, “I was just getting tired of seeing my name. If you give away an idea, you still own that idea,” from the 1999 interview, “His Highness Gets Down!” by Karl Coryat.
→ Did you know Prince had many titles? This revered, talented, and overall captain of androgynous fashion wore many hats. We know that Prince was a singer, songwriter, musician, composer, and record producer. But he was also an actor/director and debuted in “Purple Rain” (1984) the American Rock drama musical. Starred and directed the comedy/drama “Under the Cherry Moon” in (1986) and directed the musical drama “Graffiti Bridge” in 1990.
He was also known for his humanitarian contributions to many environmental, socio-political, educational, and other charitable organizations that raised awareness for the greater good.
Prince wasn’t just a musician to me. His music provided the soundtrack for my life.
Even though at a young age, I didn’t always (if ever) know the meaning behind his lyrics. For instance, my brother still laughs at the memory of me telling him, “When I grow up, I’m going to drive a little red Corvette just like Prince.”
All my brother could say was “Aw, you really think he’s talking about a car.” It took years for me to understand what my brother thought was funny. But it didn’t matter to me. I formed a deep connection with Prince which remains to this day. On April 21, 2016, the world lost an incomparable human being, but his life and legacy live on forever.