Prince Rogers Nelson is one of the most talented black men ever to grace the planet. An accomplished singer, songwriter and musician, Prince wrote his first album For You in 1978 when he was 19 years old. In addition to producing the album, Prince played all of the instruments and promoted the record himself. His second album Prince was released in 1979 to much critical acclaim and became the first of his many commercialy successful albums. Prince never looked back as he has delivered over 30 albums throughout his still blossoming career. Playing a varied style of rock, blues and funk Prince is probably best known for his early works on the albums Dirty Mind, Controversy, 1999 and Purple Rain. He is a 7-time Grammy Award winner, has won several lifetime achievement awards, and in 2004 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His latest Grammy came in 2008 for Best Male Performance R&B for the single “Future Baby Mama”.
In addition to his music career Prince has made several movies, including Purple Rain and Under the Cherry Moon. He has also made several concert films and countless videos, many of which have not been seen by his adoring fans. Prince is also a developer of artists and is personally responsible for nurturing the talent of countless artists to include Shiela E, Mazerati, The Family, and The Time. Outside of the artists he has worked with, he has influenced a generation of musicians from Alicia Keys to Nora Jones.
"Money Don't Matter Tonight" from Diamonds and Pearls
Prince is a supremely talented musician. In addition to being an accomplished guitarist, pianist and drummer Prince can play over 30 instruments. His dedication to learning to play so many instruments (mostly self-taught) is a tribute to his perseverance and devotion to his craft.
Prince did not and does not believe in racial barriers. As a black man he had no problem playing “rock” music on a guitar while most other black musicians played only r&b or hip hop. Prince refused to be typecast or stereotyped and followed in the footsteps of Jimi Hendrix, as one of the most talented guitarists of all time – black or white.
Prince refused to be a slave to the corporation. Going to the extreme of painting “slave” on his face during performances, Prince refused to be bullied by Warner Bros. or any other major record label. Prince produces, markets, sells and distributes his own music. Often Prince gives away millions of free CDs to fans and he is free to do so without interference from corporate executives who are motivated by the dollar and not the music.
Prince believes in freedom of self expression and constantly expresses that in his music. From Uptown: “Our clothes, our hair, we don’t care. It’s all about being there.”; to Controversy: “Am I black or white, am I straight or gay”; to everything on The Rainbow Children, Prince constantly asks us to be free from judgment of others and to live our lives freely and fully self-expressed. Black or white, straight or gay, rich or poor – according to Prince we are all the children of Jehovah and we should just live life and enjoy his music. I’ll rock to that.