‘Let The Rain Come Down’

It’s no secret to people who know me or my work how deep an influence Prince’s music and amazing career has been on me. I still am in shock and disbelief when I hear the words ‘late, great’ being said before his name. Could it be that there is some kind of cosmic sense to it all? After all, Prince was always one for surprises. Consider how he dropped the album Around The World In A Day, the follow up to his massive hit Purple Rain, without one bit of promo, fanfare or even a lead single. It simply appeared in record stores one day. Or, at the 11th hour, how he cancelled what was supposed be his nastiest, dirtiest funk record, The Black Album, in favor of the spiritually minded Lovesexy. Then there was the maddening decision to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol. And last Thursday, without any warning, he left the Earth behind from an elevator at Paisley Park. 

The world is collectively mourning, yet Prince was one of those artists you felt was speaking directly to and for you. I certainly felt that way. Growing up the youngest in my family, my siblings were always the ones to turn me on to music; The Beatles, Stones, Who, Sex Pistols…but somehow it was always their discoveries and I was always the one learning. Prince was MY discovery. He was MY Beatles, MY Hendrix. MY icon. 

A friend and I were talking about how every song of his evokes a different memory. Mine have been flashing strong and consistently. Some sweet experiences, others fanatical, all running the gamut of emotions:

  • Playing Lets Go Crazy in a basement rehearsal with my first band in high school and being so proud to play those synth organ chords on my Casio.
  • Hours spent in my bedroom trying to learn the closing orchestration in Purple Rain. 
  • Pouring over the music and album cover of Dirty Mind with the first guy I ever fooled around with. 
  • Sampling slamming doors all around my parent’s house so I could recreate the same sound used in Housequake. 
  • Being in the same club in DC where Prince was and being too overwhelmed and shy to give him a demo tape. 
  • Speeding to catch Prince at an after show party in San Francisco with two girlfriends of mine and then, when we weren’t allowed in, scaling the roof of the building to listen and watch through an air shaft! 
  • And even recently, seeing an incredible performance in Berlin’s Waldbühne and almost catching Sheila E’s drumstick. Eventually, I surrendered it to a young girl who deserved it much more than me.

The first song I heard after Prince died was ‘Under The Cherry Moon.’ As soon as I heard him sing ‘How can I stand to stay where I am?’ I started bawling. Prince was my hero and and however silly it sounds, I’m heartbroken that now I’ll never get to meet him. I’ll never get the chance to suggest we jam on a rare track of his. Never get to show him my keyboard skills. 

It has been comforting to receive condolences from friends, with messages saying, ‘You were the first person I thought of!” Grief stricken, I responded to one by simply texting, ‘Music is dead.’ I really did feel that way. 

But after hours of pouring through Prince’s catalogue, I know that’s not true. All I need to do is listen to a song, hear him scream or watch a live clip to come to the same conclusion: Prince was, is and always will be the artist who reminds how blessed I am to be a musician, why I make music and that it is possible to keep passion alive. I am going to allow this tragedy to double my resolve to keep making the best music I possibly can. Perhaps that’s what Prince meant when he wrote in the liner notes to Purple Rain,

‘May U Live 2 C The Dawn.’ 

Snax Reflects On Prince's Passing