Born as Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA) on 7 June 1958, Prince
developed an interest in music as a young child. He signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. at the age of 18, and released his debut album ‘For You’ in 1978. His 1979 album ‘Prince’ went platinum, and his next three records — ‘Dirty Mind’ (1980), ‘Controversy’ (1981) and ‘1999’ (1982) — continued his success, showcasing his prominently sexual lyrics and blending of funk, dance, and rock music. In 1984, he began referring to his backup band as the Revolution and released ‘Purple Rain’, the soundtrack album to his eponymous 1984 film debut. It quickly became his most critically and commercially successful release, selling over 20 million units worldwide. After releasing the albums ‘Around the World in a Day’ (1985) and ‘Parade’ (1986), The Revolution disbanded, and Prince released the double album ‘Sign o’ the Times’ (1987) as a solo artist. He released three more solo albums before debuting the New Power Generation band in 1991.
Having been an admirer of Kate Bush for years – actually calling her his ‘favourite woman’ – the two actually met in 1990 when Prince played live at the Wembley Arena in London. She asked to meet him backstage. When they did meet, she asked Prince to contribute a few background vocals to a song called Why Should I Love You, which she had just recorded in full at Abbey Road Studios. When Prince received the track, he ignored the intructions and completely rearranged the track, adding not only backing vocals but also keys, guitar solos and bass.
In 1993, while in a contractual dispute with Warner Bros., he changed his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol also known as the ‘Love Symbol’. Calling himself ‘The Artist Formerly Knowns As Prince’ he began releasing new albums at a faster pace to remove himself from contractual obligations. He released five records between 1994 and 1996. Among them was the 3 disc set ‘Emancipation’, which featured a collaboration with Kate Bush: My Computer. In 2000, he began referring to himself as ‘Prince’ again. He released 16 albums after that, including the platinum-selling ‘Musicology’ (2004). His final album, ‘Hit n Run Phase Two’, was first released on the Tidal streaming service on December 12, 2015.
Prince died from a fentanyl overdose at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on April 21, 2016, at the age of 57.
Kate about Prince
Prince is an extraordinary talent … and a bit clever … In the time it took me to make one album he had released three albums, completed two world tours, a TV special, various videos and is still a better guitarist than me. (The Red Shoes magazine, Kate Bush Club, 1993)
He was the most incredibly talented artist. A man in complete control of his work from writer and musician to producer and director. He was such an inspiration. Playful and mind-blowingly gifted. He was the most inventive and extraordinary live act I’ve seen. (Kate Bush pens heartfelt tribute to Prince, NME, 25 April 2016)
We kind of became friends for a while. I didn’t know him very well, but [he was] so full of fun and a really sweet person, as well as really exquisite musicianship. Prince was a really unique artist and was so good at so many different things. When we actually worked it was done at quite a distance. I wrote the song, and then he worked on that and then we discussed where to take it from there. (Kate Bush Speaks. The Fader, 23 November 2016)