Tag Archives: prince

Prince Day

Open your heart…
Open your mind…
A train is leaving all day
A wonderful trip thru all time
And laughter is all u pay

Prince Rogers Nelson

Until The End of Time

I am yours now and you are mine
And together we’ll love through all
Space and time, so don’t cry

I’ve finally reached a place where I am somewhat comfortable enough to write down what I am feeling and have been feeling since April 21. April 21 – the day we lost Prince Rogers Nelson. Just typing that feels wrong. I am still in a state of denial. But Prince can’t die – dying is what regular people do, and Prince is above that – otherworldly. No matter what I write here, it will be an injustice to who he was, what he stood for, and what he meant to me and millions of others. I search for words to make sense of something that feels so senseless.

I spent Thursday at work fighting back the tears. I wasn’t able to listen to his music. I felt numb, dazed and lost. We don’t think about the physicality of grief – the heaviness, headaches, and the inability to focus on anything. I had just been in the same room with him last month. Piano and a Microphone had changed my life – how could he be gone?

Then came the moment I started my car. Diamonds and Pearls. I felt the immediate wave of tears come tumbling down my face. They wouldn’t stop. Since then I’ve been a mess of tears and sadness, yet also joy and happiness while dancing and singing at the top of my lungs – just so damn thankful for everything he gave me – gave all of us. It may sound silly for non-Prince fans, how can you feel this way about someone you never knew? But I just do. That’s the effect Prince had on me. I’ve spent the past few days thinking about what he means to me, yet I still don’t think I can quantify it.

I grew up in a deeply religious and conservative home. One where forget talking about sex, I couldn’t even mention having a friend that was a boy. I think we’ve all experience some form of pressure to be a certain way. I found myself afraid to be fully me for fear of what others may think. Prince liberated me – he made me feel free in the most beautiful way. I had never seen a person so unabashedly, authentically and genuinely himself. Everything about him – music, style, demeanor – drew me in. None of it felt forced – this was a person being exactly who he was and didn’t give a damn what anybody thought. I don’t live in a prison, and I’m not afraid of anything, was the first thing he said in hist first television interview with MTV. He didn’t fit in a neat little box and lived well beyond labels. He made it okay to be me in every sense of the word.

Through his creativity, I felt free to be creative. To write things I may have never otherwise. He empowered me. The way the stories unfold in his songs is unparalleled. For a young writer daring to be herself, it gave me creative inspiration to let my words run free.

He made it okay to be spiritual but also revel in your sexual pleasure. Spirituality and sexuality weren’t separate entities. I was so attracted to this man who defied the ridiculous rules of gender conformity. I often exclaimed that I wanted to be Sheila E when I grew up, not just because she was with him, but also because the women he collaborated with were always so secure in their sexuality and fiercely independent. Like Frank Ocean so eloquently wrote in his tributeHe was a straight black man who played his first televised set in bikini bottoms and knee-high heeled boots, epic. He made me feel more comfortable with how I identify sexually simply by his display of freedom from and irreverence for obviously archaic ideas like gender conformity.

The music, oh the music. I wrote about what meant to me for a paper when I was in undergrad (which I just found a few weeks ago), yet a million think pieces in the world couldn’t explain what his music brought to the world. Maestro, genius, innovator, visionary, excellence. There are just too many songs to list here and like most Prince fans I can’t name a favorite because we’d be here forever. His music strips you down to the core of yourself, but it’s even more than that. Like Anil Dash tweeted: For most of us that take Prince’s work very seriously, it’s a lens on the _rest_ of culture. A filter for understanding other music & art… I think the “magical music elf” image of Prince (that he sometimes contributed to) undersells just how *important* he was. If you look at the last 30 years of pop music, you will hear Prince’s sound at the top of the charts, either by his own work or others’.

Then there’s his fight for artist rights. Challenging the absurd notion that record labels owned what an artist creates. After all he fought for, it is reassuring to know that he died owning all of the masters of his work. He won. That coupled with his numerous secret charitable donations to the Black Lives Matter movement, the Western Branch Library (the first full-service library for African Americans in country), saving it from being shut down, and Trayvon Martin’s family just to name a few, that are now coming to light reveal a small fraction of how much he meant beyond the music.

It still feels odd even to talk about him in the past tense. I can’t let go. The beauty of his music is that it is permanent. The cheesy line is real – the legacy of his life and music will live with us forever. I lived my entire life with his music and will allow his musical energy to continue to live on through me. He made and still makes me unafraid. I feel free to be myself. I could care less what others think of me. I am motivated to be the best version of myself. Prince has given me freedom. The little 9-year-old girl who was enamored with the 30-year-old woman today thanks to him from the depths of my soul for all that he created, and the inspiration he has given to me. So with this, I say, Prince, Eye Love U 4 Ever and Always.

Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad
Sometimes, sometimes I wish that life was never ending,
And all good things, they say, never lastI often dream of heaven and I know that Tracy’s there
I know that he has found another friend
Maybe he’s found the answer to all the April snow
Maybe one day I’ll see my Tracy again
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Song of the Day: Have Mercy

erynSometimes you happen to come across a new artist that hasn’t entered the periphery of the general public at large and you thank your lucky stars that you’ve found her at the perfect moment. Eryn Allen Kane is going to be huge – I put money on that. Her voice is pure, powerful, authentic, and sincere. It’s soul. You can literally feel how it comes from the depths of her heart. If soul music is about naked emotion and personal testimony, Eryn Allen Kane captures all of that down to the bones. Her voice feels like honey over my soul.

I found Miss Kane through her collaboration with Prince on his protest song, Baltimore, in memory of Freddie Gray. A quick Google search later and I was hooked in a way that I haven’t been with a new artist in ages. Her two EPs Aviary: Act I and Aviary: Act II are beautiful, raw and soulful from top to bottom, so it’s hard to choose just one song, but Have Mercy is what calls to me at the moment. Have Mercy is just Eryn. As she said herself in an interview with Essence:

Yeah, that’s all me. That’s how I create music. I do the entire thing just like that. Then for my EP I did all my songs like that and then gave it to my friends who are instrumentalists and said, ‘Okay can we translate these vocals into the percussion, the horn sections and the guitar, and this and that?’ They just mimicked the vocals that I was doing on their instruments. That’s how we made the EP. “Have Mercy” is the only all vocal song on there. The rest is live band, but it was made like “Have Mercy.”

Lord Have Mercy, if that is not talent, I don’t know what is. No matter how many times I listen to Have Mercy, I still feel it resonate deep within. It’s so unbelievably beautiful that it brings me to tears at times – pure emotion. I’m looking forward to watching Eryn Allen Kane’s career take off and being that cliched, annoying person who claims, I knew her music when she only had 8k followers on Twitter, because that isn’t going to last, and it sure as hell shouldn’t. It’s only a matter of time.

My Night with Prince, His Piano and a Microphone

Timg_7293-1here’s a reason I haven’t written about Prince before. It’s not because I don’t love him, because I do so much – perhaps to the point of musical obsession. It’s because I have always had a hard time writing about music/books/people I love with a passion; trying so hard to do it the justice it deserves. Yet, this time I have to try.

What Friday night meant for me is still hard to put into words. My immediate thought was that it wasn’t a concert, but a religious experience. I’ve loved Prince since I was 9 years old. I still clearly remember hearing Could You Be The Most Beautiful Girl In The World for the first time on the radio and completely enamored. He’s had me ever since.

I was lucky enough to see him perform live for the first time in 2011 with Carlos Santana and Sheila E, but Friday, Friday was different. Don’t get me wrong 2011 was life-changing, euphoric, and a funk revelation. Friday’s Piano and a Microphone was emotional, spiritual, soulful, magnetic and otherworldly. For 2 hours Prince Rogers Nelson commanded the stage with just a piano and his voice. I was raptured, hanging on his every move – in awe of such raw talented genius. As a woman behind me rightfully exclaimed in awe – he’s just an artist. Wow, he’s just a pure artist.

I had been feeling low but Prince lifted me up – exclaiming the importance of self-preservation. His rendition of Cream was switched up as he told us to look in the mirror and sing: You’re so good/Baby there ain’t nobody better/So you should/Never, ever go by the letter/You’re so cool/Everything you do is success/Make the rules/Then break them all ’cause you are the best. Never even being up close to him, I felt him uplifting my spirits. It was hard not to get emotional and wrapped up in the moment. Oracle arena holds 20,000 people, yet it felt so intimate.

I feel changed. I am so damn grateful to have witnessed such god-given talent and genius. I’ve loved Prince since I was 9 years old, but after Friday night, I fell in love even more.

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Song of the Day: Electric Lady

JanelleMonae_TheElectricLadyThere’s been a common theme with most of the music I’ve been listening to lately – it’s all on the slower side of things. Actually, in general, I tend to listen to slower music than uptempo tracks, but everyone it’s nice to switch it up.

Janelle Monáe is the perfect way to do that. Her sophomore album, The Electric Lady released in September, but I didn’t give it a listen until this week (big mistake!) The whole thing is pretty entertaining, and I’m a fan of anything featuring Prince (he has a cameo on Give Em What They Love).

One of my favorites is the title track, Electric Lady, featuring Solange. It’s just so, so much fun. Plus, who wouldn’t live lyrics like this: You got a classic kind of crazy/But you know just who you are/You got the look the Gods agree they wanna see.