A year ago we lost a legend, I lost my biggest inspiration as an artist. Prince was one of a kind, talented in ways most of us can’t even fathom. He inspired countless artists and it cannot be doubted he is amongst a set of individuals who shaped music for the better and without his contribution the soundtrack to this thing we call life.
What Prince stood for without a doubt was simply excellence. A little kid from Minneapolis who refused take anything less than his absolute dream he racked up a list of achievements only equalled by the very best. His ability to span genres from pop, to soul, to funk to rock ‘n’ roll and still sound like no-one else but himself blows my mind. With a career that spanned from 1978 and seemed like it would never truly end, he was an avatar of timeless, and just as he himself seemed to never physically age his music never did and never will.
It’s easy to fly off on a never-ending gush at the degree of musicianship bought by Prince; he pretty much played the orchestra, it seemed there wasn’t an instrument he couldn’t touch and absolutely master. A consummate performer he helped set a bar that few can reach with the likes of Micahel Jackson and James Brown and I’d say arguably surpassed due his ability to play and lead his bands live. He became a blueprint for what an independent artist could truly be with his split from Warner Bros, a standard in never compromising your artistic principles.
For me Prince was everything. That is not a phrase you will hear me use for anyone else. I was listening to his music in the womb, grew up still listening to him and wanting to be a rockstar. I became a musician because of him, my favourite colour was purple because of him. Even as I grew up I wore his influence like a crown as an artist. I always strove to be completely self-sufficient, playing every instrument I could on a track, always producing, always writing alone without external influence, learning to mix and master all my own music, being determined to master as many genres as I wanted…even my alias is partially in reference to him and his character played in “Purple Rain” known only as “The Kid”
There are many who don’t really understand the reach of his influence, and truth be told some may never understand. Believe me when I say without Prince though you don’t have Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak, heck your entire R’nB section of your iPod would either disappear or become unrecognizable. Without Prince you wouldn’t have that incredible outro to J.Cole’s Forest Hills Drive. Fashion wouldn’t be the same, the presence of women in music would not be the same (believe me, look at the make up of most of his bands and tell me something).
In his death as with several musicians attention is always drawn to why they died, how they died, and quite frankly I hate that. The focus should forever remain on who he was and he was his music. There can never be enough tribute for him, he who in my eyes was the greatest rock star ever, the greatest musician of his generation and possibly any other, the Bruce Lee of the guitar and every other instrument you care to throw into the conversation.
I’ve spent a year wondering what I’d say when I finally wrote this and I’ve come to the conclusion there isn’t enough that I could say about him there aren’t enough thanks I could give to my parents for putting me on, and words can’t describe the pain I felt and still feel knowing he is gone and so here is my goodbye, a year on, everything I couldn’t say last year.
You are the reason I make music, every word I write, every note I play is because of you. My heart is broken, I would not be me without you, I do not exist as this person without you. I will not be the same, music will not be the same, purple will never look the same, you are the greatest, a King in all but name, thank you now and always, Prince Rogers Nelson.
“Art is about building a new foundation, not just laying something on top of what’s already there”