He was music royalty, there’s no question about that. For nearly 40 years, he held sway over the hearts of millions of fans around the world, reaching out across borders, across genres, across generations. Fusion is what he was brilliant at, whether it was pop, jazz, funk, soul or rock; and the people in his ‘fandom’ too, fused into a mass following, inspired by this eclectic, eccentric genius of a man who insisted on living life on his own terms.
Let’s Go Crazy, Kiss, When Doves Cry, Purple Rain – everyone has their own favorite song(s) from Prince’s repertoire for he was, in the words of US President Barack Obama, “one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time”.
The son of a piano player in a jazz band, music was in Prince’s genes. He took his natural talent far, experimenting and innovating right till the end. Selling more than a 100 million records, Prince won 30 Grammy nominations, 7 Grammy awards, and an Oscar for Best Original score for the semi-autobiographical film ‘Purple Rain’.
His defiant stand against Warner Bros. to protect his creative freedom inspired many other musicians. Madonna and Beyonce, among others, openly acknowledge the influence Prince has wielded on their craft, and they’re not the only ones. From amateurs to professionals, generation upon generation of music lovers have learnt to ‘be themselves’ from Prince. Everyone could relate to the poignant strains of his songs, which spoke eloquently of love and life.
When asked once about his ideas for songs, he said, “It’s like the truth; it will find you and lift you up. And if it ain’t right, it will dissolve like sand on the beach…” But there’s no way the memories of this ‘prince among men’ are going to dissolve any time soon.