This morning I woke up with an email from my mom, with a link to a New York Times article, that had a video montage of interviews and recordings of Prince in his studio, and performing.
As it always does, anytime I focus in on Prince for any length of time, I get emotional and so I sat in my bed for a few minutes, watching the 9 minute video and letting tears roll down my face (as I write this, I am crying again). He was so beautiful, and brilliant and such a quiet tornado of energy.
I remember the day when the news broke that he had died — April 21, 2016. I was sitting in the office of the copy center that I was manager of, and I literally shot to my feet with a gasp. I looked over at one of the technicians and said, “Holy shit- Prince died!” The mildly surprised reaction from the tech was entirely insufficient. I sat back down, and just stared at the computer screen where the news article glared at me. I was numb with shock.
How many times had I danced to When The Doves Cry in the club, how many times had I pranced back and forth, butt ass naked while his voice crooned out over the heads of the customers? And let’s not forget Little Red Corvette and Darling Nikki- that line about masturbating with a magazine will always be my favorite. His lyrics were intelligent and naughty, and just what my twenty-something foolish ass vibed with.
I was too young to have grown up with his rising fame; I discovered him in my early teens, when I was gifted his Greatest Hits for Christmas one year. It was the 2nd CD I ever owned, just after Mariah Carey’s Number 1’s album. I popped those CDs into my Walkman, and would listen to them for hours.
His musicology album that came out in 2004 was the emotional and hormonal rollercoaster that I needed at the time. And the album art that came with the CD was so very magical and beautiful.
Why is it so devastating when a celebrity/artist dies and so many people mourn for that person, despite never knowing him or her personally? It’s because so many memories get tied to music, or art or movies, etc. Large swaths of the human experience get wrapped up with a bow from that artist, and our memory banks are rife with these ribbons. Strong emotions are woven throughout those memories, and the shock of the artist’s death can be either a cathartic or horrible reckoning.
R.I.P. Prince, you beautiful beast.