On Prince

If you just knew Prince’s hits (nothing wrong with that) you may not know the depth of his genius or realize how much he contributed to music and our culture. Hopefully it sank in after the outpouring of sadness and celebration yesterday.


I had lunch yesterday with a guy who is almost 60 and has been to a dozen Prince shows, possibly more. The other folks were someone who knows his stuff, appreciates the impact, but doesn’t consider herself a fan….and the last was someone who just didn’t get why this was a big deal at all. I’m sure she wouldn’t have invited us to lunch if she had realized we’d go on and on about Prince, his influence and try to press her to name an artist she loved to death and would feel the impact of when they pass on.
His previously unreleased stuff will come out – he’s said as much in interviews “Someone will release them. I don’t know if I’ll get to release them.” *tears* But he’ll never pen another song. He’ll never play on stage again. But his music will live on and his influence will continue.

He really was a musical genius. He’s what you (well, I) want in music 95% of the time. Someone who pens their own lyrics, sings them, writes the music. You take any one of those elements alone and he was amazing. His songwriting – awesome! By now, many of you casual listeners probably know he penned tunes that brought others success – like Manic Monday and Nothing Compares 2 U. And Sheila E’s hits – HELLO! Amazing artists covered his work and did it justice (fortunately, because the material they were working with was great) – Brandi Carlile doing Nothing Compares 2 U and Foo Fighters doing Darling Nikki (and me having so many friends who thought the Foo Fighters came up with it and I had to step in and school them). I could quote Prince all day and one my favorite lyrics will always be “Every time I comb my hair/thoughts of you get in my eyes.” His voice – I mean, the range, the expression, the passion. He was a great singer. And have you heard him play guitar? Did you ever SEE him play guitar live? He was incredible. And I don’t know about later albums, but on early ones, he played all the instruments. I mean, come on now. I quit clarinet and violin after one semester and piano after two lessons. This man was music.

He fought for artists rights too, and that can’t be forgotten. And he respected so many talented creators and performers. I love when someone so great publicly acknowledges the greatness in others.
This isn’t to say that no one will ever come around again who has that kind of capacity for musical innovation and influence. It might happen. I just think we live in a different world now. There’s so much of everything pumped out every second these days. And yes, while some of its great, I think a ton of is garbage. That just can’t be helped at the rate we’re going. Genius may come along again, but the world may be too noisy to recognize it.

I don’t go to clubs. Hell, I barely go out, but if someone was having a Prince party this weekend, I’d be there.

*Originally posted on Facebook

Alaia