O(+>, The Artist
"Cool means being able to hang with yourself. All you have to ask yourself is, 'Is there anybody I'm afraid of? Is there anybody who if I walked into a room and saw, I'd get nervous?' If not, then you're cool." Prince
An extremely dynamic, innovative musician who has around 30 albums, plays most instruments and writes hit songs for other artists, Prince, who once changed his name to O(+> (dubbed “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” or simply “The Artist”), first shot to superstardom with his double-album 1999 with hit single “Little Red Corvette” (1982). He then won both Oscar and Grammy Awards for writing the soundtrack of the 1984 film “Purple Rain,” in which he also starred. A prolific musician since the 1970s, Prince, whose styles include funk, pop, rock, R&B, soul, hip-hop, and is popular for the "Minneapolis sound," has scored such massive hits as "Kiss," "I Feel For You (with Chaka Khan)," "Partyman" (Batman soundtrack) "Thieves in the Temple," "Musicology," and "Call My Name." In March 2006, Prince released his latest album, 3121 (pronounced "thirty one, twenty one"), which spawned the singles "Te Amo Corazón," "Black Sweat" and "Fury."
Regarded as a perfectionist, the influential musician was inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame in March 2004. He was one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “Top Money Makers” (with estimated net earnings of $56.5 million), “Best Male Performer,” “Most Welcomed Comeback,” on the “Top Pop Artists of the Past 25 Years” chart and “The Greatest Rock 'n Roll Artist of All Time” (all in 2004).
"People say I'm wearing heels because I'm short. I wear heels because the women like 'em." Prince
On a more personal note, the 5' 2" tall composer and performer, who sometimes is also dubbed as the "Sultan of Seduction" and known for his colorful costumes and explicitly showing off his strong sexuality while performing, dated several famous beauties before settling down. He was linked to Kim Basinger, Sherilyn Fenn, Apollonia Kotero, Carmen Electra, Vanity (aka Denise Matthews), Troy Beyer and Sheena Easton, among others.
In early July 2006, Prince suddenly shut down his official website, NPG Music Club, without providing fans any advance notice. Some reports claim that the site's closure was connected to a copyright case. Last year (2005), Prince filed for a trademark on the name NPG Music Club, against HM Publishers Holding Limited, who owns the Nature Publishing Group, also known as NPG. However, Prince’s company lawyer insists that the two incidents are not related.
Childhood and Family:
Of African-American and Italian descendant, Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to John L. Nelson (jazz pianist for The Prince Rogers Trio; born June 29, 1916; died August 25, 2001 at age 85) and Mattie Shaw (sang with the Prince Rogers Trio; died on February 15, 2002 at age 68). He has one younger sister named Tika Evene (born in 1960). When Prince was 10 years old, his parents divorced. He had a troubled relationship with his stepfather, Hayward Baker, and eventually decided to leave home. After briefly living with his father, who bought Prince his first guitar, Prince moved in with a neighborhood family, the Andersons. He befriended their son, future bassist, songwriter and record producer Andre Simon Anderson, who later had the stage name André Cymone. Prince also has a half-brother named Omarr Baker.
On February 14, 1996, Prince tied the knot with back-up singer and dancer Mayte Jannell Garcia (born November 12, 1973). The marriage was annulled on February 14, 1999, and the couple officially signed divorce papers in May 2000. Prince and Garcia have one son together, who is rumored to have been named Gregory. The baby was born prematurely on October 16, 1996, with the rare skull disease Pfeiffer's syndrome and was unable to breathe without a ventilator. He was taken off life support and died shortly after his birth on October 23, 1996. Prince is currently the husband of Manuela Testolini, his former Paisley Park employee. They married on December 31, 2001.
"You can always renegotiate a record contract. You just go in and say, 'You know, I think my next project will be a country-and-western album.'" Prince
Along with Andre Anderson, Prince joined cousin Charles Smith in a band called Grand Central, which was formed in junior high school. Grand Central later changed their name to Champagne and started playing music which was influenced by Sly Stone, James Brown, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, among others.
At age 18, Prince began making demo tapes with producer Chris Moon in a Minneapolis studio and eventually the future star landed a contract with Warner Brothers Records. Under the recording company, 20-year-old Prince launched his debut album, For You, on April 7, 1978. The album reached #163 in the US (#21 R&B) and produced the hit funk-based single "Soft and Wet" (#92 US, #12 R&B) and the disco track "Just as Long as We're Together" (#91 US R&B). Beginning with this album, Prince’s albums bear the classic tag: "Written, Composed, Performed and Recorded by Prince."
On October 19, 1979, Prince released his sophomore, self-titled album which spawned the lead single "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (#11 US, #1 US R&B, #41 UK). It was followed by the rock and roll track "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" (#65 US, #13 US R&B) and the ballad "Still Waiting" (#65 US R&B). The album also released Prince’s first single in the UK; the funky disco number “Sexy Dancer.”
His third album, Dirty Mind, which was released on October 8, 1980, marked Prince's departure from his preceding more-commercial album. It spawned three singles: the demo-like title-track (#65 US R&B), an ode to sex single "Do It All Night" (UK) and the minimalist-style song "Uptown" (#5 US R&B). In 2003, the album, which was particularly notable for its sexually explicit material, went to # 204 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”
Controversy, Prince’s fourth album, hit the music stores on October 14, 1981. It produced the title track lead single (#70 US, #3 US R&B), "Let's Work" (#9 US R&B) and the 8-minute song "Do Me, Baby."
Meanwhile, Prince also worked for other artists. He wrote, produced and performed on the debut album for The Time. He also collaborated with Vanity (of Vanity 6), Apollonia (of Apollonia 6) and Sheila E and wrote hits for such artists as Sheena Easton and The Bangles. Prince’s songs would be covered in hit versions by diverse artists like Chaka Khan, Tom Jones with The Art of Noise, and Sinéad O'Connor, the latter of whom had huge commercial success in 1990 with Prince’s song initially wrote for The Family, “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Additionally, Prince teamed up with famous jazz and funk musicians Miles Davis, Larry Graham, George Clinton, and Maceo Parker. He also recorded with Ani DiFranco, Madonna, Kate Bush, Rosie Gaines, Carmen Electra, Gwen Stefani, Chuck D, Angie Stone, Chaka Khan, and Sheryl Crow.
1999, Prince’s double-album released on October 27, 1982, proved to be a breakthrough album both in the U.S. and worldwide. It spawned four singles: "1999" (#12 US, #4 US R&B, #25 UK), "Little Red Corvette" (#6 US, #15 US R&B), "Delirious" (#8 US, #18 US R&B) and "Let's Pretend We're Married" (#52 US, #55 US R&B). The album launched Prince toward superstardom. After massively successful tours and a selection of hit singles, Prince was probably the biggest music star on the planet next to Michael Jackson. Later, in 2003, TV network VH1 named 1999 the “Forty-Ninth Greatest Album of All Time.” That same year, it was ranked number 163 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”
1984 saw Prince on the big screen, starring in the semi auto-biographical film Purple Rain. The musical drama, directed by Albert Magnoli, grossed over $80 million in the United States alone. In conjunction to the movie, Prince, alongside The Revolution, released an album which was also called Purple Rain on June 25, 1984. It spawned runaway success singles "When Doves Cry" (US #1, R&B #1, UK #6, Australia #1), "Let's Go Crazy" (US #1, UK #7, Australia #1), "Purple Rain" (US #2, UK #8), "I Would Die 4 U" (US #8, UK #58) and "Take Me With U" (US #25). The album sold 13 million copies in the United States and earned a Diamond Award from the Recording Industry Association of America. It also spent an incredible 24 consecutive weeks at #1, becoming one of the top soundtracks ever. The album reportedly sold more than a million copies on the day of its release.
The album won a Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special and was nominated for Album of the Year (Purple Rain). "Purple Rain" (the song) also won an Oscar for Best Original Score in 1985. Later, in 1998, Q magazine readers voted Purple Rain the 73rd “Greatest Album of All Time” and TV network VH1 placed it at number 18 in 2003. Rolling Stone named it the number 2 album of the 1980s.
Around the World in a Day, Prince's next album, was released on April 22, 1985, without any publicity, simply turning up in record stores to the surprise of fans. It produced the singles "Paisley Park" (#18 UK), "Raspberry Beret" (#2 US, #4 US R&B, #25 UK), "Pop Life" (#7 US, #8 US R&B, #60 UK) and "America" (#46 US, #35 US R&B). Although Around the World in a Day was not as radio-friendly as Purple Rain, it topped the U.S. album charts for three weeks and went triple platinum.
In 1986, Prince returned to the wide screen. He both starred (opposite Jerome Benton) and directed the musical drama Under the Cherry Moon, which received mixed reviews. In March that same year, Prince released the top-of-the-charts soundtrack to the film, Parade. It featured Prince and the Revolution performing such hits as "Kiss" (#1 US, #1 R&B, #6 UK), "Mountains" (#23 US, #15 R&B, #45 UK), "Girls & Boys" (#11 UK), "Anotherloverholenyohead" (#63 US, #18 R&B, #36 UK), "Under the Cherry Moon" and many more. The album climbed to number three on the Billboard 200 album chart and number two on the R&B album charts.
After splitting up with The Revolution, Prince released Sign O’ the Times on March 30, 1987. The double album delivered four singles: "Sign O’ the Times" (#3 US, #1 R&B, #8 UK), "If I Was Your Girlfriend" (#67 US, #12 R&B, #13 UK), "U Got the Look" (#2 US, #11 R&B, #11 UK) and "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man" (#10 US, #14 R&B, #29 UK). The album reached the top 10 on the Billboard 200 and achieved probably the greatest critical acclaim of his career, topping the annual Pazz & Jop critic’s poll and reaching the top 100 of Rolling Stone's “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list. Following the success of the album, Prince launched his tour in Europe. That same year, Prince also recorded The Black Album, a funk-oriented album which was not officially released because of its blatant, erotically-charged lyrics. The album circulated through the bootleg underground music world until it was eventually given an official release in 1994.
On May 10, 1988, Prince released the album Lovesexy, which was notable for the haunting gospel of "Anna Stesia" and the hit single "Alphabet St." (#8 US, #9 UK). It also delivered the minor hits "Glam Slam" (#44 US R&B, #29 UK) and "I Wish U Heaven" (#18 US R&B, #24 UK). Lovesexy reached number eleven on the Billboard 200 and The Lovesexy Tour in the U.S. proved to be a commercial disappointment. However, the Lovesexy World Tour was highly applauded and one of the German shows was released on video cassette.
Prince returned to the top of the U.S. album charts, thanks to the 1989 album Batman, a soundtrack for a movie with the same name, and its single and worldwide hit “Batdance,” which peaked the Billboard Hot 100. Batman also spawned the follow-up singles "Partyman" (#18 US, #5 R&B, #14 UK), "The Arms of Orion" (#36 US, #27 UK), "Scandalous" (#5 US R&B) and "The Future" (UK/Germany). In 1990, Batman won a Brit Award for Best Soundtrack/Score. The album also debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and went multi-platinum in the US.
In 1990, Prince wrote, directed and starred in Graffiti Bridge, the unofficial sequel to Purple Rain, which became a box office flop. The soundtrack, which featured Prince and other artists like Tevin Campbell, Mavis Staples of the Staple Singers, and Morris Day and The Time, climbed to number six in the U.S. and number one in the UK. The singles of the soundtrack include "Thieves In the Temple" maxi-single (#6 US, #1 R&B, #7 UK), "New Power Generation" maxi-single (#64 US, #27 R&B, #26 UK) and "Round and Round" (#12 US, #3 R&B).
Prince's thirteenth album, Diamonds and Pearls, was released on October 1, 1991. It spawned many hit singles including the title track (#3 US, #1 R&B, #25 UK), "Gett Off" (#21 US, #6 R&B, #4 UK), "Cream" (#1 US, #15 UK), "Money Don't Matter 2 Night" (#23 US, #14 R&B, #11 UK) and "Insatiable" (#3 US R&B). The album also marked the first Prince album to be officially co-credited with the New Power Generation, featuring rapper Tony M, Rosie Gaines on vocals, Michael Bland on drums, Levi Seacer and Kirk Johnson on guitar, Sonny T on bass, and Tommy Barbarella on keyboards. During that time, Prince also worked on Kate Bush’s 1993 album, The Red Shoes, and collaborated on the track “Why Should I Love You.”
Prince's next album, O(+> (dubbed by critics as The Love Symbol album), hit the music shelves on October 13, 1992. The album reached the top ten of the U.S. album charts and produced the singles "Sexy M.F." (#66 US, #5 UK), "My Name Is Prince" (#36 US, #25 R&B, #5 UK), "7" (#7 US), "Damn U" (#32 R&B) and "The Morning Papers" (#44 US).
Prince later changed his name to O(+> in 1993. Because O(+> was unpronounceable, Prince was often referred to as “The artist formerly known as Prince,” “TAFKAP,” or simply “The Artist.” That same year, Warner Bros. requested he make a greatest hits compilation album, which would be titled The Hits/The B-Sides. The 3-disc set, released on September 14, 1993, also features four new tracks: "Pink Cashmere," "Peach," "Pope" and "Power Fantastic." The first two discs were also sold separately as The Hits 1 and The Hits 2. Unfortunately, neither the album nor singles performed that well on the charts.
Following his public dispute with Warner Bros, Prince released Come on August 16, 1994. It spawned the singles "Letitgo" (#10 R&B) and "Space." Come became Prince’s poorest-selling album to date, with the sales of only 500,000 copies. He subsequently released The Gold Experience, which has three singles, each with an accompanying music video. Released in September 1995, The Gold Experience failed to sell well, although initially it went to the top 10 of the Billboard 200.
In 1996, Prince released a soundtrack album Girl 6, to the Spike Lee film of the same name. That same year, he released Chaos And Disorder, which reached #26 in the US and #14 in the UK and spawned one single in the UK, "Dinner with Delores" (#36 UK). Prince also released a 1996 triple-CD album, Emancipation, which refers to his freedom from his contract with Warner Bros Records. Emancipation holds the Guinness World Record for the longest album of all time, clocking in at exactly three hours; one hour per disc. It delivered the singles "Betcha by Golly Wow!" (#84 US, #10 R&B, #11 UK, #20 Australia), "The Holy River" (CD 1) (#31 US). In the US, the album debuted at #11 and was certified double platinum. Prince also made a minor comeback with the success of the "Jam of the Year" tour.
On March 3, 1998, Prince released a 3-CD collection of unreleased material, Crystal Ball. It was released with The Truth album, which consists of songs with minimal production, demo-like quality. Also in 1998, Prince released an instrumental album, Kamasutra, which was included with the Crystal Ball 3-CD set. Along with the New Power Generation, Prince released album Newpower Soul (1998), which was noted for a few key tracks such as The One, Come On and the bonus track Wasted Kisses.
The subsequent year, Prince released The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale, a compilation album of various Prince outtakes from his long career. He also released Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (1999), whose lead single, "The Greatest Romance Ever Sold," became a mild hit, topping at number 63 on the Hot 100. However, the album was poorly received by critics and fans. Part of a one-album deal at Arista, the album's commercial failure would quickly end Prince's relationship with the recording company. Prince then released Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic remix version, Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic, that same year.
After his publishing contract with Warner-Chappell expired in May 2000, Prince began to use the name “Prince” again. He then released The Very Best of Prince, a compilation album, on July 31, 2001. It contains most of his commercially successful singles, including the U.S. #1's "Let's Go Crazy," "When Doves Cry," "Kiss" and "Cream." Earlier in that year, Prince released The Rainbow Children through his website. He followed it up with One Nite Alone..., which was released online in 2002 through the NPG Music Club and was never available in stores. It contains a cover of the Joni Mitchell classic, "A Case of You," re-titled "A Case of U," and the controversial track "Avalanche."
On December 17, 2002, Prince released a live album box set, One Nite Alone... Live!, which features live recordings from the intimate One Nite Alone tour performances. He then launched a 2003 instrumental jazz album, N.E.W.S, which contains 4 tracks of fourteen minutes duration each. The next year, Prince released Musicology, which proved to be his most successful album in years, reaching the top 5 of the album charts in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and many other countries. The album spawned the title-track (#44 R&B) and "Cinnamon Girl" (UK). The album eventually won Prince 2 Grammy Awards for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance ("Musicology") and Best R&B Vocal Performance - Male ("Call My Name"). He was nominated for Grammy’s Best Pop Vocal Performance - Male ("Cinnamon Girl"), Best R&B Song (awarded to the songwriter) ("Call My Name"), and Best R&B Album (Musicology). Later, Prince was chosen by Rolling Stone readers as the “Best Male Performer” and “Most Welcome Comeback.”
More recently, on March 21, 2006, Prince released his latest album, 3121 (pronounced "thirty one, twenty one"). The album's first single, "Te Amo Corazón," was released in America on December 13, 2005, and debuted at number twenty on the VH1 countdown. The second single, "Black Sweat" (#60 U.S., #82 U.S. R&B, #43 UK) was released on February 2, 2006. The latest single, "Fury," debuted live on Saturday Night Live on February 4, 2006.
“I never really got off on awards so much. I think it's more for the people who give them and also for the fans. I get a lot of props from people in the street and a lot of love and congratulation, pats on back, so it's a good feeling, you know, the after effects.” Prince
- BET: Best Male R&B Artist, 2006
- Webby Lifetime Achievement Award, 2006
- Grammy: Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, “Musicology,” 2004
- Grammy: Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, “Call My Name,” 2004
- NAACP: Special Achievement Award, 1997
- Special American Music Award, 1994
- MTV Video Music: Dance Video for "Cream," award shared with the New Power Generation, 1992
- Soul Train: Lifetime Achievement Award, 1992
- ASCAP Film and Television Music: Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures, Graffiti Bridge, for the song “Thieves in the Temple,” 1991
- ASCAP Film and Television Music: Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures, Batman, for the song “Partyman,” 1990
- Special American Music Award, 1989
- MTV Music Video: Male Video, "U Got the Look," 1988
- Razzie Awards: Worst Actor, Under The Cherry Moon, 1987
- Razzie Awards: Worst Director, Under The Cherry Moon, 1987
- Razzie Awards: Worst Original Song, Under The Cherry Moon, for the song “Love or Money,” 1987
- Grammy: Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, “Kiss,” award shared with the Revolution, 1986
- Academy Awards: Best Music - Original Song Score, Purple Rain, 1985
- Grammy Awards: Best Album of Instrumental Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special, Purple Rain, award shared with John L. Nelson, Wendy & Lisa, 1985
- Grammy: Best New R&B Song, “I Feel For You” (with Chaka Khan), 1984
- Grammy: Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group with Vocal, “Purple Rain,” award shared with the Revolution, 1984
- American Music: Pop/Rock Album, Purple Rain, 1984
- American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Single, "When Doves Cry," 1984
- American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Album, Purple Rain, 1984