There has been a lot of praise across social media for Prince since the news of his death. Even as I write this, I can't quite come to terms with that phrase. As he would say, "something in the water does not compute."
Prince is arguably the biggest musical genius of our time: singer, composer, musician, producer. He's released over 50 albums, ghost written and produced for other singers and served as inspiration to countless of musicians.
The impact he's had on his fans is more difficult to measure. Most people who were teenagers in the 80s will remember at least one song. For others, Prince and his music meant much, much more.
I have been a fan -- no wait, a superfan -- for 30 years, since before I was a teenager. I had every album, read every article and, back in the VCR days, would sit next to the TV during video countdown shows so I could quickly press "record" when his song inevitably came on.
Prince walked right past me. I was frozen. I couldn't speak. How do you tell your idol that he's your idol?
When the Puple Rain album was released on June 25, 1984, I bought it immediately and played it from beginning to end, over and over.
A month later, when Purple Rain, the movie, was released on July 27, I was at the theatre watching. I also went back the next day and I've seen it countless times since. The scene where he's frantically tearing through his father's music sheets in the basement still makes me sad.
As a teenager, I would read music magazines and editors would write about meeting Prince. I thought, "that's what I want to do." So, I went to journalism school in hopes that I would meet him one day.
When he came to MuchMoreMusic on July 24, 2004 was a day I'll never forget. I worked at sister station MuchMusic, and everyone knew how excited I was. As I was walking through the studio, I turned to say something to a colleague and Prince walked right past me. I was frozen. I couldn't speak. How do you tell your idol that he's your idol? How is he supposed to react? So, I smiled and walked away.
When he performed, management asked non-working staff to leave the studio. I did not. I snuck into the intimate audience and I watched the performance and the interview. I remember that he was funny. People don't know that Prince is funny, but he is. He's smart, he's creative and he's incredibly funny.
(Not to mention that he has a very distinct, sly smile. Fans know what I'm talking about.)
I've seen him countless times in concert. Every time was beyond incredible. He is truly a genius. He plays countless instruments, including all 27 on the "For You" album. He plays the harp. And he doesn't just play these instruments, he masters them. He creates fantastical, brilliant melodies.
And he dances. I remember a recent show at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto where he danced for three hours. We were all exhausted in our seats and he was still going.
March 25, 2016: It was destined to be the last time I would see this amazing musician. The Sony Centre was the intimate setting for his "Piano and a Microphone" concert. It was perfect: just Prince, his music and his dry wit. He played more than 50 songs. He closed with "Purple Rain."
"I only wanted to see you laughing in the Purple Rain."--RIP Prince Rogers Nelson, June 7, 1958 - April 21, 2016.
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