Prince: a Retrospective

The thing about Prince, the thing I am seeing mentioned over and over and over again, was how much of a consummate musician he was. He played 16 instruments (or possibly more). There are a series of interviews with other musicians, including Eric Clapton and Dave Grohl, wherein they are asked about their music skills and point the interviewer to Prince instead. Prince was a regular at one of the best-known record stores in the Twin Cities, where he came to browse and buy and astonishingly eclectic assortment of music. He practiced. He experimented.

I cannot discount the value of sheer willpower, and the fact that Prince must have had one of the strongest characters around to triumph over the life he had and the prejudice he faced, but one truth we cannot discount is that Prince loved what he did. He lived and breathed music. In the face of success that could have dragged him down a path of chasing accolades, he continued to make it about the music.

Perhaps it won’t support you. Perhaps you won’t win awards like Prince did – in fact, take comfort that the odds simply aren’t in your favor on that one and just throw the expectation out the window. Perhaps it will be a secret, something only you ever know about yourself. Whatever it is, I hope you find what Prince had: the absolute love of a topic that makes you dive into it headfirst and devote a “crazy” amount of time to it. Could be yo-yos. Could be figure skating. Could be poetry.

The thing is, Prince touched people with his music. His music was scandalous, freeing, and more. But he also touched people because of who he was, and who he was would have been very different if he had not pursued his music. Please: for you, and for the world, try to find whatever is your equivalent of that. And if you’ve found it, and you’re too scared to pursue it, please consider this Monday an excellent time to start off on a new foot.


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