2016 has been a difficult year for those of who us who grew up in the 80s. I’m not going to list the names of those we’ve already lost because it’s far too long and I’m starting to become a little scared that the list has enough cosmic weight to become a maleficent summoning.
But we’ve lost a lot of amazing people. People who were good at what they did, people who did what they were good at, even as other people derided them, tried to constrain them, tried to make them hide their glorious eccentricities.
And now Prince is gone. The quirky, brilliant, mercurial, enigmatic, and talented artist who was so clearly defined that people could post a picture of him in yellow and call him “The Purple One”. Multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, singer and legend.
My favourite story of Prince was told by his “duty” sound engineer. Prince liked to record at all times and, as a result, he had an on on-call sound engineer to run the studio while he recorded. One night, Prince came in and put down a track based on, I think, a dream and spent hours putting down everything. He listened to it at the end but didn’t like it. He wanted to get rid of it.
The engineer was a fan. He’s seen this amazing thing taking shape and he can’t believe it’s about to disappear. He suggests waiting until tomorrow.
Prince looks at him, smiles, reaches over and deletes the whole thing. Because it wasn’t right and he had enough faith in himself and his abilities to do it again and, next time, get what he wanted. Or to live without it. It had to be right or it just couldn’t be.
Artists have to be brave. Artists have to dare.
Prince worked harder than many people I know to try and produce things that matched what he saw in his head. His craft was honed by practice and performance. His mind was enlivened by constant challenge in the pursuit of his vision.
He was performing up until a month ago and he kept sharing his talent and vision with the world right up until the end.
Deeply respected. Adored by fans and music lovers. Sadly missed, already.
Thank you, for all of the wonderful music and inspiration. Farewell.