What Prince ment to me

Friday, April 22, 2016

As many of you have heard by now, one of the worlds greatest musicians passed away yesterday afternoon. As a 22 year old, I wasn't fortunate to have the opportunity to see Prince in the 80s or truly comprehend what was going on in the 90s. Every time I would travel outside of the state and people asked where I was from usually the question of Prince would pop up. It's something that us Minnesotans are used to hearing by now. "Have you seen Prince lately?" they would ask with wide eyes, of course for many of us Minnesotan and Twin Cities natives the answer was no. But somehow or someway we were connected to him.

For myself, I had been a fan of Prince since I was a teenager. My love for Prince became huge around 15 years old. Nick Jonas had decided to form the Administration with many of Prince's latest band members, and as a Jonatic and Prince lover, I couldn't help but fan girl over a funk collaboration that I could have only imagined in my wildest dreams. I remember the first time I saw First Avenue, many years after the property had been sold to another owner, in awe that Prince once stood right where I was. I was hooked. My ringtone was 'Kiss' and my background photo of my phone was of Prince (naturally) shirtless with a look that could only be described as a mix of being content and yearning mixed into one complex look. As a journalist in high school, I had the chance to interview some local musicians. My dad drove me to the meeting at a random house in the middle of no where Minnesota (or as others refer to it as the suburbs). If you didn't know any better you would probably image that the house had a family that celebrated birthdays, watching TV while eating popcorn on the couch, and read bedtime stories to the kids at 8pm. This was not that suburban house. Instead I was greeted by one of the musicians that I was interviewing. Right away I could hear music playing upstairs. There was a piano on the first floor, with a staircase leading to yet another piano and couches. As I went up the stairs for my interview I was baffled by the amount of pictures I saw. Picture after picture I saw the same men group of men posing in different venues. Of course at the moment when I recognized the trend of who the men where in the pictures I stopped breathing. I was in the same house as some of Prince's band members. My 17 year old self attempted to stay professional while attempting not to just burst out and cry and thank God for this moment. Instead I took a deep breath and pretended as if they were anyone else that I had interviewed. Of course later when I was in the car on the way home it finally hit me that I had been in the same presence as those who had worked with Prince himself and I balled like a tiny child.

Five years later at 22, I still remember this day and many other Prince related memories. I can remember when I worked with one of his long time friends in downtown Minneapolis and she was telling me about how Prince disliked a new mural that had been painted. Yes, I had learned how to remain professional in front of high profile clients, but still hearing his name and knowing little facts about him from his friends baffled me. I was born when Prince was a super star. To me he was never the boy who lived across the street, the kid that was in my biology class in high school, or my cousins prom date. He was a legend who somehow decided to live in Minnesota of all places. When I heard that Prince died yesterday I thought about the difference that Prince made- not in the messages he had within his songs- but also in my community as well. At times I was ashamed to say that I lived in Minnesota. It's not a large city like New York or Chicago with things happening 24 hours in the day. The death of Prince reminded me that we not only lost a great artists yesterday, but more importantly a community leader within the Twin Cities. The reason why so many of us have stories about Prince, large or small, is because he wasn't ashamed of upbringing. Instead he took it in stride. He will be a reminder for many of us restless Minnesotans that they too can make a name for themselves if they have the persistence, creativity, and perfectionism necessary to make a mark on the world.

So thank you Prince for being not only a truly spectacular musician, but also a wonderful community member. Thank you for creating a voice for the Twin Cities, and for many other communities around the world, and making us (fan or not) realize that we do have the potential to create an impact on one another. Even though I may have never met you I will always cherish this message, your love for pancakes, music, and your amazing sense of humor.

Rest in Peace my idol,

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