Rest in peace sweet Prince: Thank you for changing my music life

I was working at a summer school program as a volunteer back after my freshman year in college. One of the perks of this volunteer position was that we got a chance to go to the local library every week. This was a great chance for the kids to read but for me to also check out their media section and borrow movies and CDs.

This one afternoon I saw a copy of “Purple Rain” and I grabbed it. I had heard of Prince but wasn’t very familiar with his music at all. I took that CD home, burned it onto my desktop and held on to it. When I listened to it, I was floored by the different sounds and how everything was seemingly magical. I wanted more. The guitar solo on “Computer Blue” remains to me as one of the most powerful things I had ever heard in music. “I Would Die 4 U” was a lyrical masterpiece to this very day still takes me to another state of mind. “Purple Rain” was the perfect album. It remains perfect. It is untouchable — just like Prince.

Rest in peace, Prince.

In 2011, I saw Prince in concert during his “Coming 2 America” tour in Oakland. If I recall, he did three shows in Oakland that week. He had tickets on sale for as low as $20 because he didn’t want to price out any of his fans. He wanted to make it affordable for all his fans.

I tell people this and it still remains true today: This was the best concert I had ever been to.

He simply overtook the entire arena, serenading us with his songs. He would change in and out of different outfits and he still looked fantastic in every one of them. My particular favorite was this all white leotard look with what appeared to be polar bear boots. I didn’t care. He was amazing.

When he played “Little Red Corvette,” I lost my mind. It is my favorite song from him and I just felt that somehow, his music entered my music soul. I was taken for a magical journey with Prince.

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This is why I am such a huge Prince fan. Of course, the first thing was his music. How could you not like his music?

But this is what made him so special.

  • His heart remained with Minnesota, his home state. He loved home and he died in Paisley Park. Where else would he be?
  • Parental Advisory stickers exist because of him. What a pioneer!
  • He looked simply amazing every time we saw him and I thought he would stay like this forever. He broke the stereotypes of what society tells you to look like and he just dressed however he wanted and acted however he liked.
  • He showed us that it was OK to fight with your label and fight for your music.
  • The entire “Batman” soundtrack.
  • Even though he didn’t like his stuff online for free, he remained bold in that. His music, his choice.
  • He has a great sense of humor. He truly enjoyed Dave Chappelle’s skit on him.
  • He was simply too amazing. Everything that he did was cooler than anything we could ever do.
  • The greatest halftime show in Super Bowl history belongs to him. This show was a true celebration of music. His own and some covers. It wasn’t about promoting his own album or anything. It simply was music for all.

I still talk about Prince like he is some kind of secret that nobody knows about. For those who don’t know anything about him, I tell them everything like it’s the coolest music in the world. And it is.

Several months ago I had this idea of dressing up as Prince for a Halloween costume. I know that getting a purple outfit with ruffles, the eyeliner, the hair and the guitar would not be easy. I feel that I have to go through with it as a tribute to the legend.

I am going to miss Prince dearly. I have a vinyl copy of “Purple Rain” that will be played nonstop until the grooves are worn out. Other than The Beatles, he is my second most influential music artist of my lifetime. And I leave you with The Beatles and Prince together.

Rest in peace, Prince. Doves and everyone around the world cries. Thank you for everything.

 

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