by Curtis L. Isom, Founder/Editor-In-Chief
If I had to create a soundtrack for the Adult Entertainment Industry, hands down Prince would be the primary artist I would draw from. Why? Because of the vast collection of Prince songs availabIe, I know I could always find a song to fit just about any situation created either in an adult movie or for any entertainer on stage in a gentlemen’s club. I’m not saying that every Prince song will fit into the adult entertainment industry, but with songs from like “Head”, “P Control”, “Gett Off”, “Erotic City”, to “When 2 R in Love”, “Kiss”, “Soul Sanctuary” & “Te Amo Corazon” as well as so many others that you run the gambit from raw sexuality to a sensuality unmatched by any other artist.
For myself, Prince is the primary artist in my personal life soundtrack. Why? Because, like so many others, Prince’s music “speaks” to me. Speaks to my soul. I listen to other music, but Prince is my constant “go to” because no matter what I’m feeling, I can always listen to Prince and not only feel better, but usually inspired. Other Prince fans understand this. If not, no sweat because everyone grooves to their own beat. I have to admit when I first heard Prince in my early twenties, I wasn’t a fan. “Little Red Corvette” was the song I heard most and a friend stated, “you know he’s talking about a prostitute, don’t you?” I didn’t really care what he was talking about, I was still looking for music that I could really get in to. Music that “spoke” to me.
Then came along this TBS show called “Night Tracks”. How many of you remember it?
While watching it one night I saw the videos for “1999” then “Little Red Corvette” and my opinion changed. Yeah, the way the women were dressed caught my eye, but there was something about the song “1999” that just hit home. Then I met someone in a band that covered Prince songs and he played Prince’s “1999” album for me. I was hooked and started buying Prince’s other albums. Then the album and movie “Purple Rain” came out and cemented me as a Prince fan for life. As soon as the movie “Purple Rain” was avaiable I ordered a VHS copy. Yes, I’m dating myself, but that’s how long I’ve been a Prince fan and he was making music years before that. I find it interesting that when some people talk about Prince, “Purple Rain” is the song they know him from. I’m not discounting that they aren’t fans of his, but the is SO MUCH MORE music that Prince produced, “Purple Rain” just happens to be what brought Prince squarely into the public eye. I had a chance to see Prince in Kansas City, KS during his “Purple Rain” tour, but the show got cancelled. I could of returned the ticket for a refund, but kept it to add to my growing Prince collection.
On the other hand, I’ve the honor of seeing Prince live in concert three times in my life. The first was in Oklahoma City during his “Amancipation” tour. Before the concert started, I learned that Prince was playing an aftershow at a local club. If you had your concert ticket stub, you could get in for $20, without it, the admission was $25. But I had my first Prince concert to attend before worrying about a second show. The first Prince show was an experience hard to put into words, but amazing doesn’t seem to even come close. I’ve been to other concerts before this one, but attending a Prince show was like having the most intense, and somewhat spiritual, musical journey one could have.
After the main show ended, I headed straight to the local club for the aftershow and got more than I expected. The setting was so intimate that I was able to stand within ten feet of Prince while he played. I was in awe, but stepped back because I felt I was invading his “creative space” even though I knew I wasn’t. If you’ve read about other Prince shows, you know that Prince enjoyed these “intimate” show because he considered his fans as friends. And if you think both of these shows were the same, they weren’t. With the exception of “Jam of the Year” being played at the beginning of both shows, they were completly different.
The third time I saw Prince live was during his “Musicology” tour on its stop in Champaign. IL. During this show he played an acoustic version of “Little Red Corvette” and asked the audience to sing along. If you’ve been to a Prince concert, you know what the feeling is like. If not, it’s hard to describe the experience except comparing it to signing in church. You’re signing along with thousands of others with such unity while Prince played his guitar. And knowing how Prince like to record his performances, and how he liked what he heard in Champaign, it wouldn’t surprise me there’s a recording of it in his vault of unheard music.
As the years have passed, I’ve watched Prince’s music evolved. He once said in an interview, “Music is a gift from God and if used properly, can do great things.” So true. So whether it was playing with the Revolution, the New Power Generation, 3rd Eye Girl, or doing it solo, Prince was always exploring the gift of music God gave him. And Prince including his spirituality in his music is something I’m not sure those outside his fans understood. When I started my collecting his albums, I read the liner notes while listening to the music and noticed that Prince always gave thanks to God which I appreciated since I have a strong spirituality. Prince never ran from his spirituality, he embraqced it and included in his music. Sometimes subtle, sometimes in your face. A good example is that the original version of Prince’s song “Controversy” has the Lord’s Prayer in it. Most radio versions of this song fade out around the 3:20 mark. But it’s after that the portion with the Lord’s Prayer occurs. When I first heard it I thought how bold it was for someone whose music has such sexual overtones to include a song that has a spiritual message to it. But that’s Prince. And I would say that in every album Prince released, there’s at least one song that has a spirituality to it. My favorite of these “spiritual” songs, is “Still Would Stand All Time” from his album “Graffiti Bridge”. A very powerful song and the lyrics can be found here: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/prince/stillwouldstandalltime.html. At my funeral, I want the lyrics posted and the song played along with other Prince music. Other Prince songs I find with a strong spirituality include, “Free”, “The Ladder”, “7”, “Gold”, and of course “Purple Rain”.
But is “Still Would Stand All Time” my favorite Prince song? Not really because I’m a fan of all his music. It’s just some songs fit a particular part of my life. “Still Would Stand All Time” is one for my spiritual side, “319” reflects on being a photographer, “When 2 R In Love” for my romantic side, and “Let’s Go Crazy” just makes me want to dance. I could go on talking about Prince songs that fit my life, but I think you get the point.
On the morning of April 21, 2016, I was awakened by my phone with a new text simply stating, “Prince is dead.” I thought this was not funny, turned on CNN, and learned the sad truth. The rest of that day, I couldn’t tell you what exactly I did, except grieve along with the rest of the world. Grieve for Prince’s death, and grieve for the world losing such a musical genius. I admit I still greive from time to time. Shortly after Prince passed away, I heard a national news anchor state, “Prince’s music united a generation”. So Incorrect. Prince’s music has united generations! I say this because on social media, I see such a wide range of people who are Prince fans from little children to people older than myself. Just one big Purple Family and I love them all.
After Prince’s death, there were a number of tributes, but these are my favorites:
- Shelia E’s tribute to Prince on the 2016 BET Awards show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPH9Y1wEV58
- The Syncopated Ladies tap routine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U86gQ_9lvO8
- And for those of you with Facebook, read Appollonia Kotero’s letter/post dated August 29, 2016: https://www.facebook.com/ApolloniaKoteroOfficial
- My friend and Feature Entertainer Krystal Dawn’s Prince show. She’s the first to do one, pours her heart and soul into it, and keeps it fresh. If you ever get the chance to see her perform, you’ll love it!
I know there are other tributes and I’m not discounting those, I’m just sharing the ones that touched my heart and soul the most. I will say the Billboard Music Awards tribute to Prince by Madonna was a badly put together ratings grab and I’ll leave it at that. My Opinion. But besides the Billboard Music Awards, in seeing all those who pay tribute to Prince, I have seen so many young musicians play a Prince song to show their respect of him. Each one of them just as moving and beautiful as the next and a testament to just how vast Prince’s music has reached our youth and has encouraged them to pursue their dream just as Prince did.
And I wish them all the best and success abundant.
In a world of corporate formula music, most artists become the “flavor of the day” that have their time in the limelight, but that time fades fast. But Prince’s music will always stand out as one of a kind that will remained unmatched and treasured. And that is the thing about Prince, love or hate his music, you have to respect the fact that he was and always will be a true artist and pioneer that paved the way for other musicians to own their creations and have more of a control over their professional destiny.
At the time of this writing, there is a new album called “Prince 4ever” to be released November 22, 2016 by Warner Brothers. From the track list, (http://www.princevault.com/index.php?title=Album:_Prince_4ever) it’s almost a “greatest hits” album, but there is one previously unreleased track called “Moonbeam Levels”. I hope in the future there will be more albums released that contained just unreleased music from Prince’s vault. But no matter what, I’ll be adding it to my growing personal Prince collection that includes over 40 albums (on various formats) plus the usual things like movies, books, t-shirts, buttons, ticket stubs, etc… Each item in my collection remind me of an artist who loved to create music and considered his fans friends. I also have albums from other artists that Prince has worked with like Shelia E., Morris Day and the Time, and Vanity. All members of what has been called the “Minneapolis Sound” founded by Prince.
Although Prince is no longer with us, I know his music will continue speak how we are nothing more than one big family that really needs to get along. Before concluding this, I want to leave you with a few quotes from Price that I have adopted as part of my mantra for living life:
- “May U live 2 C the Dawn”
- “The rain will come down, then U will have 2 choose. If U believe, look 2 the dawn and U shall never lose”
- “If you’re so brave, kiss your anger”
There are others, but these just speak to my spirituality the most. Without Prince’s music and knowing how he conducted himself business wise, I’m not sure I’d be doing what I love in covering the adult entertainment industry as well as I am. For that I will always be grateful that I gave Prince’s music a second chance and became a life long fan. And as I share being a Prince fan, I’m coming across more and more people in the industry who are fans as well.
Just goes to show how much the Purple One touched lives and My Purple Family continues to grow.
It’s now time to play some Prince. Peace and Love 2 U All.