"Cool means being able to hang with yourself. All you have to ask yourself is,
'Is there anybody I'm afraid of? Is there anybody who if I walked into a room
and saw, I'd get nervous?' If not, then you're cool." Prince
An extremely dynamic, innovative musician who has around 30 albums, plays most
instruments and writes hit songs for other artists, Prince, who once changed his
name to O(+> (dubbed “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” or simply “The
Artist”), first shot to superstardom with his double-album 1999 with hit single
“Little Red Corvette” (1982). He then won both Oscar and Grammy Awards for
writing the soundtrack of the 1984 film “Purple Rain,” in which he also starred.
A prolific musician since the 1970s, Prince, whose styles include funk, pop,
rock, R&B, soul, hip-hop, and is popular for the "Minneapolis sound," has scored
such massive hits as "Kiss," "I Feel For You (with Chaka Khan)," "Partyman"
(Batman soundtrack) "Thieves in the Temple," "Musicology," and "Call My Name."
In March 2006, Prince released his latest album, 3121 (pronounced "thirty one,
twenty one"), which spawned the singles "Te Amo Corazón," "Black Sweat" and
Regarded as a perfectionist, the influential musician was inducted into the Rock
'N' Roll Hall of Fame in March 2004. He was one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “Top
Money Makers” (with estimated net earnings of $56.5 million), “Best Male
Performer,” “Most Welcomed Comeback,” on the “Top Pop Artists of the Past 25
Years” chart and “The Greatest Rock 'n Roll Artist of All Time” (all in 2004).
"People say I'm wearing heels because I'm short. I wear heels because the women
like 'em." Prince
On a more personal note, the 5' 2" tall composer and performer, who sometimes is
also dubbed as the "Sultan of Seduction" and known for his colorful costumes and
explicitly showing off his strong sexuality while performing, dated several
famous beauties before settling down. He was linked to Kim Basinger, Sherilyn
Fenn, Apollonia Kotero, Carmen Electra, Vanity (aka Denise Matthews), Troy Beyer
and Sheena Easton, among others.
In early July 2006, Prince suddenly shut down his official website, NPG Music
Club, without providing fans any advance notice. Some reports claim that the
site's closure was connected to a copyright case. Last year (2005), Prince filed
for a trademark on the name NPG Music Club, against HM Publishers Holding
Limited, who owns the Nature Publishing Group, also known as NPG. However,
Prince’s company lawyer insists that the two incidents are not related.
Childhood and Family:
Of African-American and Italian descendant, Prince Rogers Nelson was born on
June 7, 1958, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to John L. Nelson (jazz pianist for The
Prince Rogers Trio; born June 29, 1916; died August 25, 2001 at age 85) and
Mattie Shaw (sang with the Prince Rogers Trio; died on February 15, 2002 at age
68). He has one younger sister named Tika Evene (born in 1960). When Prince was
10 years old, his parents divorced. He had a troubled relationship with his
stepfather, Hayward Baker, and eventually decided to leave home. After briefly
living with his father, who bought Prince his first guitar, Prince moved in with
a neighborhood family, the Andersons. He befriended their son, future bassist,
songwriter and record producer Andre Simon Anderson, who later had the stage
name André Cymone. Prince also has a half-brother named Omarr Baker.
On February 14, 1996, Prince tied the knot with back-up singer and dancer Mayte
Jannell Garcia (born November 12, 1973). The marriage was annulled on February
14, 1999, and the couple officially signed divorce papers in May 2000. Prince
and Garcia have one son together, who is rumored to have been named Gregory. The
baby was born prematurely on October 16, 1996, with the rare skull disease
Pfeiffer's syndrome and was unable to breathe without a ventilator. He was taken
off life support and died shortly after his birth on October 23, 1996. Prince is
currently the husband of Manuela Testolini, his former Paisley Park employee.
They married on December 31, 2001.
"You can always renegotiate a record contract. You just go in and say, 'You
know, I think my next project will be a country-and-western album.'" Prince
Along with Andre Anderson, Prince joined cousin Charles Smith in a band called
Grand Central, which was formed in junior high school. Grand Central later
changed their name to Champagne and started playing music which was influenced
by Sly Stone, James Brown, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, among others.
At age 18, Prince began making demo tapes with producer Chris Moon in a
Minneapolis studio and eventually the future star landed a contract with Warner
Brothers Records. Under the recording company, 20-year-old Prince launched his
debut album, For You, on April 7, 1978. The album reached #163 in the US (#21
R&B) and produced the hit funk-based single "Soft and Wet" (#92 US, #12 R&B) and
the disco track "Just as Long as We're Together" (#91 US R&B). Beginning with
this album, Prince’s albums bear the classic tag: "Written, Composed, Performed
and Recorded by Prince."
On October 19, 1979, Prince released his sophomore, self-titled album which
spawned the lead single "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (#11 US, #1 US R&B, #41 UK). It
was followed by the rock and roll track "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" (#65
US, #13 US R&B) and the ballad "Still Waiting" (#65 US R&B). The album also
released Prince’s first single in the UK; the funky disco number “Sexy Dancer.”
His third album, Dirty Mind, which was released on October 8, 1980, marked
Prince's departure from his preceding more-commercial album. It spawned three
singles: the demo-like title-track (#65 US R&B), an ode to sex single "Do It All
Night" (UK) and the minimalist-style song "Uptown" (#5 US R&B). In 2003, the
album, which was particularly notable for its sexually explicit material, went
to # 204 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All
Controversy, Prince’s fourth album, hit the music stores on October 14, 1981. It
produced the title track lead single (#70 US, #3 US R&B), "Let's Work" (#9 US
R&B) and the 8-minute song "Do Me, Baby."
Meanwhile, Prince also worked for other artists. He wrote, produced and
performed on the debut album for The Time. He also collaborated with Vanity (of
Vanity 6), Apollonia (of Apollonia 6) and Sheila E and wrote hits for such
artists as Sheena Easton and The Bangles. Prince’s songs would be covered in hit
versions by diverse artists like Chaka Khan, Tom Jones with The Art of Noise,
and Sinéad O'Connor, the latter of whom had huge commercial success in 1990 with
Prince’s song initially wrote for The Family, “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
Additionally, Prince teamed up with famous jazz and funk musicians Miles Davis,
Larry Graham, George Clinton, and Maceo Parker. He also recorded with Ani
DiFranco, Madonna, Kate Bush, Rosie Gaines, Carmen Electra, Gwen Stefani, Chuck
D, Angie Stone, Chaka Khan, and Sheryl Crow.
1999, Prince’s double-album released on October 27, 1982, proved to be a
breakthrough album both in the U.S. and worldwide. It spawned four singles:
"1999" (#12 US, #4 US R&B, #25 UK), "Little Red Corvette" (#6 US, #15 US R&B),
"Delirious" (#8 US, #18 US R&B) and "Let's Pretend We're Married" (#52 US, #55
US R&B). The album launched Prince toward superstardom. After massively
successful tours and a selection of hit singles, Prince was probably the biggest
music star on the planet next to Michael Jackson. Later, in 2003, TV network VH1
named 1999 the “Forty-Ninth Greatest Album of All Time.” That same year, it was
ranked number 163 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the “500 Greatest Albums
of All Time.”
1984 saw Prince on the big screen, starring in the semi auto-biographical film
Purple Rain. The musical drama, directed by Albert Magnoli, grossed over $80
million in the United States alone. In conjunction to the movie, Prince,
alongside The Revolution, released an album which was also called Purple Rain on
June 25, 1984. It spawned runaway success singles "When Doves Cry" (US #1, R&B
#1, UK #6, Australia #1), "Let's Go Crazy" (US #1, UK #7, Australia #1), "Purple
Rain" (US #2, UK #8), "I Would Die 4 U" (US #8, UK #58) and "Take Me With U" (US
#25). The album sold 13 million copies in the United States and earned a Diamond
Award from the Recording Industry Association of America. It also spent an
incredible 24 consecutive weeks at #1, becoming one of the top soundtracks ever.
The album reportedly sold more than a million copies on the day of its release.
The album won a Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a
Motion Picture or TV Special and was nominated for Album of the Year (Purple
Rain). "Purple Rain" (the song) also won an Oscar for Best Original Score in
1985. Later, in 1998, Q magazine readers voted Purple Rain the 73rd “Greatest
Album of All Time” and TV network VH1 placed it at number 18 in 2003. Rolling
Stone named it the number 2 album of the 1980s.
Around the World in a Day, Prince's next album, was released on April 22, 1985,
without any publicity, simply turning up in record stores to the surprise of
fans. It produced the singles "Paisley Park" (#18 UK), "Raspberry Beret" (#2 US,
#4 US R&B, #25 UK), "Pop Life" (#7 US, #8 US R&B, #60 UK) and "America" (#46 US,
#35 US R&B). Although Around the World in a Day was not as radio-friendly as
Purple Rain, it topped the U.S. album charts for three weeks and went triple
In 1986, Prince returned to the wide screen. He both starred (opposite Jerome
Benton) and directed the musical drama Under the Cherry Moon, which received
mixed reviews. In March that same year, Prince released the top-of-the-charts
soundtrack to the film, Parade. It featured Prince and the Revolution performing
such hits as "Kiss" (#1 US, #1 R&B, #6 UK), "Mountains" (#23 US, #15 R&B, #45
UK), "Girls & Boys" (#11 UK), "Anotherloverholenyohead" (#63 US, #18 R&B, #36
UK), "Under the Cherry Moon" and many more. The album climbed to number three on
the Billboard 200 album chart and number two on the R&B album charts.
After splitting up with The Revolution, Prince released Sign O’ the Times on
March 30, 1987. The double album delivered four singles: "Sign O’ the Times" (#3
US, #1 R&B, #8 UK), "If I Was Your Girlfriend" (#67 US, #12 R&B, #13 UK), "U Got
the Look" (#2 US, #11 R&B, #11 UK) and "I Could Never Take the Place of Your
Man" (#10 US, #14 R&B, #29 UK). The album reached the top 10 on the Billboard
200 and achieved probably the greatest critical acclaim of his career, topping
the annual Pazz & Jop critic’s poll and reaching the top 100 of Rolling Stone's
“500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list. Following the success of the album,
Prince launched his tour in Europe. That same year, Prince also recorded The
Black Album, a funk-oriented album which was not officially released because of
its blatant, erotically-charged lyrics. The album circulated through the bootleg
underground music world until it was eventually given an official release in
On May 10, 1988, Prince released the album Lovesexy, which was notable for the
haunting gospel of "Anna Stesia" and the hit single "Alphabet St." (#8 US, #9
UK). It also delivered the minor hits "Glam Slam" (#44 US R&B, #29 UK) and "I
Wish U Heaven" (#18 US R&B, #24 UK). Lovesexy reached number eleven on the
Billboard 200 and The Lovesexy Tour in the U.S. proved to be a commercial
disappointment. However, the Lovesexy World Tour was highly applauded and one of
the German shows was released on video cassette.
Prince returned to the top of the U.S. album charts, thanks to the 1989 album
Batman, a soundtrack for a movie with the same name, and its single and
worldwide hit “Batdance,” which peaked the Billboard Hot 100. Batman also
spawned the follow-up singles "Partyman" (#18 US, #5 R&B, #14 UK), "The Arms of
Orion" (#36 US, #27 UK), "Scandalous" (#5 US R&B) and "The Future" (UK/Germany).
In 1990, Batman won a Brit Award for Best Soundtrack/Score. The album also
debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and went multi-platinum in the US.
In 1990, Prince wrote, directed and starred in Graffiti Bridge, the unofficial
sequel to Purple Rain, which became a box office flop. The soundtrack, which
featured Prince and other artists like Tevin Campbell, Mavis Staples of the
Staple Singers, and Morris Day and The Time, climbed to number six in the U.S.
and number one in the UK. The singles of the soundtrack include "Thieves In the
Temple" maxi-single (#6 US, #1 R&B, #7 UK), "New Power Generation" maxi-single
(#64 US, #27 R&B, #26 UK) and "Round and Round" (#12 US, #3 R&B).
Prince's thirteenth album, Diamonds and Pearls, was released on October 1, 1991.
It spawned many hit singles including the title track (#3 US, #1 R&B, #25 UK), "Gett
Off" (#21 US, #6 R&B, #4 UK), "Cream" (#1 US, #15 UK), "Money Don't Matter 2
Night" (#23 US, #14 R&B, #11 UK) and "Insatiable" (#3 US R&B). The album also
marked the first Prince album to be officially co-credited with the New Power
Generation, featuring rapper Tony M, Rosie Gaines on vocals, Michael Bland on
drums, Levi Seacer and Kirk Johnson on guitar, Sonny T on bass, and Tommy
Barbarella on keyboards. During that time, Prince also worked on Kate Bush’s
1993 album, The Red Shoes, and collaborated on the track “Why Should I Love
Prince's next album, O(+> (dubbed by critics as The Love Symbol album), hit the
music shelves on October 13, 1992. The album reached the top ten of the U.S.
album charts and produced the singles "Sexy M.F." (#66 US, #5 UK), "My Name Is
Prince" (#36 US, #25 R&B, #5 UK), "7" (#7 US), "Damn U" (#32 R&B) and "The
Morning Papers" (#44 US).
Prince later changed his name to O(+> in 1993. Because O(+> was unpronounceable,
Prince was often referred to as “The artist formerly known as Prince,” “TAFKAP,”
or simply “The Artist.” That same year, Warner Bros. requested he make a
greatest hits compilation album, which would be titled The Hits/The B-Sides. The
3-disc set, released on September 14, 1993, also features four new tracks: "Pink
Cashmere," "Peach," "Pope" and "Power Fantastic." The first two discs were also
sold separately as The Hits 1 and The Hits 2. Unfortunately, neither the album
nor singles performed that well on the charts.
Following his public dispute with Warner Bros, Prince released Come on August
16, 1994. It spawned the singles "Letitgo" (#10 R&B) and "Space." Come became
Prince’s poorest-selling album to date, with the sales of only 500,000 copies.
He subsequently released The Gold Experience, which has three singles, each with
an accompanying music video. Released in September 1995, The Gold Experience
failed to sell well, although initially it went to the top 10 of the Billboard
In 1996, Prince released a soundtrack album Girl 6, to the Spike Lee film of the
same name. That same year, he released Chaos And Disorder, which reached #26 in
the US and #14 in the UK and spawned one single in the UK, "Dinner with Delores"
(#36 UK). Prince also released a 1996 triple-CD album, Emancipation, which
refers to his freedom from his contract with Warner Bros Records. Emancipation
holds the Guinness World Record for the longest album of all time, clocking in
at exactly three hours; one hour per disc. It delivered the singles "Betcha by
Golly Wow!" (#84 US, #10 R&B, #11 UK, #20 Australia), "The Holy River" (CD 1)
(#31 US). In the US, the album debuted at #11 and was certified double platinum.
Prince also made a minor comeback with the success of the "Jam of the Year"
On March 3, 1998, Prince released a 3-CD collection of unreleased material,
Crystal Ball. It was released with The Truth album, which consists of songs with
minimal production, demo-like quality. Also in 1998, Prince released an
instrumental album, Kamasutra, which was included with the Crystal Ball 3-CD
set. Along with the New Power Generation, Prince released album Newpower Soul
(1998), which was noted for a few key tracks such as The One, Come On and the
bonus track Wasted Kisses.
The subsequent year, Prince released The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale, a
compilation album of various Prince outtakes from his long career. He also
released Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (1999), whose lead single, "The Greatest
Romance Ever Sold," became a mild hit, topping at number 63 on the Hot 100.
However, the album was poorly received by critics and fans. Part of a one-album
deal at Arista, the album's commercial failure would quickly end Prince's
relationship with the recording company. Prince then released Rave Un2 the Joy
Fantastic remix version, Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic, that same year.
After his publishing contract with Warner-Chappell expired in May 2000, Prince
began to use the name “Prince” again. He then released The Very Best of Prince,
a compilation album, on July 31, 2001. It contains most of his commercially
successful singles, including the U.S. #1's "Let's Go Crazy," "When Doves Cry,"
"Kiss" and "Cream." Earlier in that year, Prince released The Rainbow Children
through his website. He followed it up with One Nite Alone..., which was
released online in 2002 through the NPG Music Club and was never available in
stores. It contains a cover of the Joni Mitchell classic, "A Case of You,"
re-titled "A Case of U," and the controversial track "Avalanche."
On December 17, 2002, Prince released a live album box set, One Nite Alone...
Live!, which features live recordings from the intimate One Nite Alone tour
performances. He then launched a 2003 instrumental jazz album, N.E.W.S, which
contains 4 tracks of fourteen minutes duration each. The next year, Prince
released Musicology, which proved to be his most successful album in years,
reaching the top 5 of the album charts in the United States, United Kingdom,
Germany, and many other countries. The album spawned the title-track (#44 R&B)
and "Cinnamon Girl" (UK). The album eventually won Prince 2 Grammy Awards for
Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance ("Musicology") and Best R&B Vocal
Performance - Male ("Call My Name"). He was nominated for Grammy’s Best Pop
Vocal Performance - Male ("Cinnamon Girl"), Best R&B Song (awarded to the
songwriter) ("Call My Name"), and Best R&B Album (Musicology). Later, Prince was
chosen by Rolling Stone readers as the “Best Male Performer” and “Most Welcome
More recently, on March 21, 2006, Prince released his latest album, 3121
(pronounced "thirty one, twenty one"). The album's first single, "Te Amo Corazón,"
was released in America on December 13, 2005, and debuted at number twenty on
the VH1 countdown. The second single, "Black Sweat" (#60 U.S., #82 U.S. R&B, #43
UK) was released on February 2, 2006. The latest single, "Fury," debuted live on
Saturday Night Live on February 4, 2006.
“I never really got off on awards so much. I think it's more for the people who
give them and also for the fans. I get a lot of props from people in the street
and a lot of love and congratulation, pats on back, so it's a good feeling, you
know, the after effects.” Prince
BET: Best Male R&B Artist, 2006
Webby Lifetime Achievement Award, 2006
Grammy: Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, “Musicology,” 2004
Grammy: Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, “Call My Name,” 2004
NAACP: Special Achievement Award, 1997
Special American Music Award, 1994
MTV Video Music: Dance Video for "Cream," award shared with the New
Power Generation, 1992
Soul Train: Lifetime Achievement Award, 1992
ASCAP Film and Television Music: Most Performed Songs from Motion
Pictures, Graffiti Bridge, for the song “Thieves in the Temple,” 1991
ASCAP Film and Television Music: Most Performed Songs from Motion
Pictures, Batman, for the song “Partyman,” 1990
Special American Music Award, 1989
MTV Music Video: Male Video, "U Got the Look," 1988
Razzie Awards: Worst Actor, Under The Cherry Moon, 1987
Razzie Awards: Worst Director, Under The Cherry Moon, 1987
Razzie Awards: Worst Original Song, Under The Cherry Moon, for the song
“Love or Money,” 1987
Grammy: Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, “Kiss,” award
shared with the Revolution, 1986
Academy Awards: Best Music - Original Song Score, Purple Rain, 1985
Grammy Awards: Best Album of Instrumental Score Written for a Motion
Picture or Television Special, Purple Rain, award shared with John L.
Nelson, Wendy & Lisa, 1985
Grammy: Best New R&B Song, “I Feel For You” (with Chaka Khan), 1984
Grammy: Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group with Vocal, “Purple
Rain,” award shared with the Revolution, 1984
American Music: Pop/Rock Album, Purple Rain, 1984
American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Single, "When Doves Cry," 1984
American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Album, Purple Rain, 1984