C/O Rolling Stone Magazine
True to his art, heart and the ridiculously amazing music he continuously creates, Prince is still one of the most credible artists of our time.
He has deliberately said a big ‘f*** you!’ to industry giants that have put him in a cage for many years. The folk that tried to drown his unstoppable talent and make a quick buck and that continue to puppet current artists today. He now says a big fat ‘f*** you!’ to the corruption that obstructs a true fan from buying a fairly priced ticket to see their idols live and to an industry that sometimes sucks the joy and creative juices (and sanity), from the artists that it is meant to hone, nurture and support. Prince has done his time. He is therefore allowed to say what he likes!
‘No one tells me where and when I can play my music!’ Hell yeah! He has absolute carte blanche to say (and does so gracefully) ‘I don’t need advertising, or a fancy marketing campaign to play my music. My fans will do the talking.’ I am prince.
Yes you are oh holy one. You are Prince. You are my prince and their prince. You are Prince!
This article should really be about how the brand that is Prince is extraordinary for countless reasons (another time perhaps). It should perhaps focus on how he is currently PRing his ‘guerilla’ Electrum Plectrum tour solely through Twitter. Or how his ‘word of mouth’ tactics created more hype in one day than a Royal Prince (fresh from fronting an ‘End Illegal Wildlife Trade Campaign for WWF) got snapped by paps on a deer hunt in Spain. True ’nuff.
But it’s not. I am a fan and I have danced under real purple rain and named my dog after the legend. Fact.
A True Prince Fan Knows.
They know that he is self-assured, poised, mischievous and bold. They know that look (right eyebrow up, seductively looking underneath his luscious lashes out of the corner of his eye, with a wry half smile, showing a tiny bit of teeth) they know he is incorrigible, defiant, impulsive, insatiable and damn right sexy. They know his true talent. The way he feels his way through a guitar solo or when he funks out on a riff, or sits at the piano and purrs a classic. They know that he is unrivaled. They know full well, that he is best performer of all time.
A Prince fan also feels like he knows them too.
I was introduced to Prince in 1987. Sign of The Times time. I spent the next year (literally, before the release of the Lovesexy album) listening, analysing, memorising, singing and dancing along to the first six. I went to see Lovesexy and Nude. I was at Diamonds and Pearls, The Ultimate Live Experience at Wembley on my 22nd birthday and lucky enough to get into Brixton Academy in 1998. By the time the 21-date Earth tour came along in 2007 I was absolutely gagging to see him again. I went to 10 shows (yes 10) at the O2 and was lucky enough to be at all but one of the after show partys in Indigo2 that Prince decided to play at. (Thank you Kenny.) Oh and I mustn’t forget the Hop Farm Festival in Kent, 2012 where Larry Graham joined him on stage and he danced on top of a grand piano. Ouch.
I digress. Back to Indigo2. It was that night I remember most. Will he or won’t he? Is he or isn’t he? Phrases that all Prince fans will be very used to.
He started strumming the hook to Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock. Then he slowly skipped sideways onto the stage jamming ‘It takes two to make a thing go right!’ My knees were knocking, my jaw was on the floor and God we danced!
He shouts, ‘This dance is only for the sexy people’ and he pointed at me and invited me up on stage! He looked at me. I smiled and froze. Truth.
So…what happened? I hear you doves cry…
I felt my friend poking me in the back saying, ‘Go! Go!’ My fellow funker was laughing at the fact that I did nothing. My feet were firmly stuck to the floor, like someone had painted the soles of my feet to the dance floor with Loctite. My thighs were tingling and my hips were locked. If I tried to move I would’ve head-butted the person in front of me, caused a scene and Prince would think I was a complete twat. I stood still. I missed the opportunity to stand next to his royal highness.
What a dufus. I was a complete and utter idiot in front of my icon, my musical hero, the man I have loved so hard on so many levels, since the age of 14. Subsequently I am very, very nearly 41. Weird, spooky play on numbers or can someone find a nonsensical countdown conundrum?
Prince taught me how to flirt, freak out and fornicate.
He told me how to go crazy and that there was a dark side to everything. He continues to teach me and a new musical generation how to keep music at the centre of their world, how to PR your gigs, how to keep it funky, how to not let ’em get you down and how not to take no for an answer. I could go on.
My favourite songs? Too many to mention. Favourite facial expression? This one…
Favourite hairstyle?..He can rock anything.
Prince… Until the end if time I’ll truly adore you.
Further reading from EConsultancy who highlight the Prince masterclass in word of mouth marketing: Why Prince is winning on Social Media