Special feature by Jenny Clark
It was his real name, and rightfully so. Today, in honor of Black History Month, we bow and curtsy to His Royal Purpleness, Prince.
Prince Rogers Nelson was born and raised in Minneapolis; his mother was a jazz singer and his father was a pianist and songwriter, so music was already in his blood. He wrote his first song, Funk Machine when he was just 7-years-old and trained in classical ballet at the Minnesota Dance Theatre when he was in high school. He would later use his own money to help save the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago.
He signed his first recording contract at the age of 19 with Warner Bros. and would go on to be considered one of the greatest musicians of his generation. He covered everything from R&B to classical to pop and hip hop, selling over 150 million albums throughout the world. He was also considered a guitar virtuoso and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Prince’s sixth studio album, Purple Rain, was no doubt his most widely-acclaimed and shared its name with the feature film that he also starred in. The soundtrack is certified platinum and has sold 25 million copies worldwide.
He toured from 1980 until right before his death in 2016 and was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame the same year. Between his and David Bowie’s death that year, we’re convinced that the world hasn’t been the same since. Fight us on it, we’ll wait.
Thank you, your royal highness, for the decades of music and entertainment.