– By Brittany Seki, Senior Editor –
Another legend has joined the musical greats among the stars and the world mourns an immense loss in rock n’ roll. On the morning of Thursday, April 21st, Prince Rogers Nelson passed away unexpectedly in his home at Paisley Park Studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. TMZ.com reported Carver County Police were called to the scene, where Prince was found unresponsive in an elevator. He could not be revived, and his grace left us at 57 years young.
Prince was an icon in class, sexuality and spirituality. He was a multi-talented master in funk, R&B, rock, pop and soul, demonstrated by his vast instrumental and vocal skill. Just like David Bowie, Prince redefined genres of music and left behind a unique legacy of fierce individuality and love, with songs including Purple Rain, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, Kiss and more. He wrote, composed and performed a massive catalogue of music, from 1978 to 2015. He was also known for writing songs for other artists, including Madonna and M.C. Hammer. Most often his performances encompassed three straight hours of hits and everlasting guitar solos. He was one artist that didn’t need an intermission.
Prince was a rebel, with a sexually androgynous persona and wardrobe, along with sexually explicit lyrics. He stood against the conventional music industry, including fighting over control of his music and name with his record label, Warner Brothers. In the 90s, he even performed as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince,” choosing only to be recognized by a custom symbol that stood for love. He was a voice against digital music and online piracy and was fiercely protective of his music, advocating for fare compensation for artists and refusing to have his music posted online. Prince was also known for his political and social stances in America, standing against nuclear weapons, animal abuse and slaughter, and becoming a Jehovah’s Witness. Yet he also surprised us in many ways, with his famous “hit and run” shows – you never knew when a concert could pop up! Most importantly, he impacted fans and musicians alike, including Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and even Barack Obama.
Prince was the son of a jazz pianist and a vocal ensemble singer, and wrote his first song at the age of seven. By the time he was a teenager, he was signed to his first record contract and released his debut album For You in 1978. However he reached his peak in the 80s, having won a Grammy for Purple Rain in 1984, an Oscar for the Purple Rain score in 1985, and a Grammy for Kiss in 1986. He won many more awards for songs, albums and LPs, including MTV Music Video Awards and a Golden Globe. During the height of his career he dabbled in acting, starring in the 1984 film Purple Rain and more. Appropriately enough, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Prince’s last greatest artistic endeavor was working on his memoir The Beautiful Ones in 2016.
Prince joins the legends lost within this past year – David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Lemmy – and we can’t help but feel the void left by this music icon. Generations will remember all he did for rock n’ roll.