Prince Rogers Nelson passed away on April 21st at the age of 57 in his recording studio and home at Chanhassen, Minnesota.
Earlier this week, he was reported to be “battling the flu”, which caused his flight to perform an emergency landing to get him to the hospital. Even though he had been touring for the past few months, he had been forced to cancel two shows due to his health.
Police responded to an emergency call at 9:43am, according to the Independent, to which he was then pronounced dead after the corresponding procedures. The exact cause of death remains unknown.
The artist, formerly known as Prince
Prince was one of the most influential musicians of the 1980s, being able to release a grand total of 39 albums and selling over 100 million copies.
He started out his career at an early age, writing his first song when he was only seven years old. Prince was known for his eccentricity, musicianship and amazing stage presence, something that leads great entertainers of our time such as Madonna to call him ‘a visionary.’
After recording several demo tapes and creating a press kit with the help of Owen Husney when he was 17 years old, he managed to sprout interest from important record companies, and then signing a deal with Warner Bros. He recorded his album For You, with all the arrangements, instrument execution, and compositions coming from himself. Both “Soft and Wet” and “Just as Long as We’re Together” went onto the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts respectively.
Prince’s self-titled album was released the following year, and it went Platinum thanks to “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” He went on from success to success, developing the so-called “Minnesota sound” and later releasing one of his most iconic albums “Purple Rain.” The album was used as a score for the film of the same name, which was starred by Prince himself. The score for Purple Rain received an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score.
Among his other awards, we can name him being one of the best-selling artists of all time, having won 7 Grammys, a Golden Globe and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as soon as he was eligible.
Prince’s art and vision
Besides being a developed and adaptable musician, Prince was widely regarded as one of the greatest entertainers of the last decades. He had an enormous vocal range, being able to hit several octaves and to sway through falsetto and baritone, allowing himself to easily change his vocal register. On his live performances, prince mainly played the guitar, but he also regularly played piano and synthesizer.
On 1993, there was an ongoing legal dispute between Warner Bros and Prince in regards to his musical output. It resulted on Prince showing himself in public with the word “slave” written on his cheek. Prince changed his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol, later to be known as “The Love Symbol.”
Because the symbol wasn’t able to be found within a computer’s regular font library, Warner Bros. was forced to send disks with a custom font to printing manufacturers.
“I was born Prince and did not want to adopt another conventional name. The only acceptable replacement for my name, and my identity was the Love Symbol, a symbol with no pronunciation, that is a representation of me and what my music is about. This symbol is present in my work over the years; it is a concept that has evolved from my frustration; it is who I am. It is my name,” he stated on the book “Where Were You… When the Music Played? 120 Unforgettable Moments in Music History,” published in 2008.
Prince also staged quite a controversy regarding Youtube. The Artist had internet policy company Web Sheriff to take actions and prohibit all of the unauthorized music and film content related to the artist, causing several counter-lawsuits regarding abuse of copyright. Up until 2014, Prince remained strong on his stance towards online copyright issues, even though he performed Radiohead’s Creep live and wanted every recording of it to be removed from Youtube, but Radiohead themselves intervened and announced, “it’s our song, let people hear it.”
Several musicians and artists have reacted to Prince’s death, sharing their tributes and condolences, displaying a true feeling of admiration towards the pop icon.
And just like that…the world lost a lot of magic ✨ Rest in peace Prince! Thanks for giving us so much…
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) April 21, 2016
Oh my god I can’t believe that Prince has died…he was a great great talent…RIP
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) April 21, 2016
He Changed The World!! A True Visionary. What a loss. I'm Devastated. This is Not A Love Song. pic.twitter.com/x4JaSxRraC
— Madonna (@Madonna) April 21, 2016
PRINCE, sad to say, has passed on!!! He was a Giant. My deep condolences go out to his family, friends and fans.
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) April 21, 2016
Watch Prince’s 2007 mythical performance of Purple Rain on the Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show