Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer.
Prince was a musical innovator who was known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, extravagant dress and makeup, and wide vocal range. His music integrates a wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B,new wave, soul, psychedelia, and pop. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.He won seven Grammy Awards,an American Music Award, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain.He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility.
He was born in Minneapolis and developed an interest in music as a young child. He signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records at the age of 18, and released his debut album For You in 1978. His 1979 album Prince went platinum, and his next three records—Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy(1981), and 1999 (1982)—continued his success, showcasing Prince’s prominently sexual lyrics and blending of funk, dance, and rock music. In 1984, he began referring to his backup band as The Revolution and releasedPurple Rain, the soundtrack album to his eponymous 1984 film debut. It quickly became his most critically and commercially successful release, spending 24 consecutive weeks atop the Billboard 2001 and selling over 20 million copies worldwide.After releasing the albums Around the World in a Day (1985) and Parade (1986), The Revolution disbanded, and Prince released the double album Sign o’ the Times (1987) as a solo artist. He released three more solo albums before debuting The New Power Generation band in 1991.
In 1993, while in a contractual dispute with Warner Bros., he changed his stage name to , an unpronounceable symbol also known as the “Love Symbol”, and began releasing new albums at a faster pace to remove himself from contractual obligations. He released five records between 1994 and 1996 before signing with Arista Records in 1998. In 2000, he began referring to himself as “Prince” again. He released 16 albums after that, including the platinum-selling Musicology (2004). His final album, Hit n Run Phase Two, was first released on the Tidal streaming service on December 12, 2015.
Prince died from a fentanyl overdose at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on April 21, 2016, at the age of 57.
Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, to Mattie Della (née Shaw; 1933–2002) and John Lewis Nelson (1916–2001). His parents were both African American and his family ancestry is centered in Louisiana, with all four of his grandparents hailing from that state.Prince’s father was a pianist and songwriter, and his mother was a jazz singer. Prince was given his father’s stage name, Prince Rogers, which his father used while performing with a jazz group called the Prince Rogers Trio. In 1991, Prince’s father told A Current Affair, “I named my son Prince because I wanted him to do everything I wanted to do.”Prince’s childhood nickname was SkipperPrince has said he was “born epileptic” and “used to have seizures” when he was young. He also said, “My mother told me one day I walked in to her and said, ‘Mom, I’m not going to be sick anymore,’ and she said, ‘Why?’ and I said, ‘Because an angel told me so.'”
Prince’s sister Tika Evene (usually called Tyka) was born in 1960.Both siblings developed a keen interest in music, and this was encouraged by their father.Prince wrote his first song, “Funk Machine”, on his father’s piano when he was seven. When Prince was 10, his parents separated and divorced and his mother remarried to Hayward Baker, with whom she had a son named Omarr, but Prince had a troubled relationship with Baker, thus causing him to repeatedly switch homes, sometimes living with his father and sometimes with his mother and stepfather.However, Baker took Prince to see James Brown in concert and Prince credited Baker with improving the family’s finances. After a brief period living with his father, who bought him his first guitar, he then moved into the home of neighbors named Anderson and befriended their son Andre Anderson, who later became known as André Cymone.
Prince attended Minneapolis’ Bryant Junior High and then Central High School, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. He played on Central’s junior varsity basketball team, and continued to play basketball recreationally as an adult.Prince met Jimmy Jam in 1973 in junior high, and impressed him during music class with his musical talent, his early mastery of a wide range of instruments, and his work ethic.
Over the years Prince was romantically linked with many celebrities, including Kim Basinger, Madonna, Vanity, Sheila E., Carmen Electra, Susanna Hoffs, Anna Fantastic,Sherilyn Fenn,and Susan Moonsie of Vanity 6 and Apollonia 6.Prince was engaged to Susannah Melvoin in 1985. When he was 37, he married his 22-year-old backup singer and dancer Mayte Garcia, on Valentine’s Day 1996. They had a son named Amiir Gregory Nelson on October 16, 1996; he was born with Pfeiffer syndrome and died a week later.Prince and Mayte divorced in 2000. In 2001, Prince married Manuela Testolini in a private ceremony; she filed for divorce in May 2006.
Prince was an animal rights activist who followed a vegan diet for part of his life, but later described himself as vegetarian.The liner notes for his album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (1999) featured a message about the cruelty involved in wool production.