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ICONS ARE BETTER #81: PRINCE

“Today we lost a creative icon” – President Obama.

On April 21st 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota the world was given a prolific musical visionary that would go on to win seven Grammy’s and an Academy Award.

Following in the footsteps of his jazz singing mother and song writing father, Prince wrote his first song “Funk Machine” at the age of seven. The visionary artist we know today as Prince cut his teeth in high school playing clubs and parties in the Minneapolis area with his long time collaborator Andre Anderson and cousin Charles Smith. Their early work inspired by the pioneers of Funk, Jazz, and Rock laid the foundation for Prince’s non-confirmative style.

Prince released his first album “For You” in 1978, and became an international sensation in 1982 when he released his ground breaking album 1999. His legacy includes 67 albums (studio, live, compilation, and video), 136 music videos, 13 ep’s, 104 singles, 4 movies, and 2 television appearances. During his illustrious career he sold over 100 million records. His musical genius is undeniable, but it is not his music alone that solidifies Prince as an icon for me.

His lasting legacy will be the fact that no one genre could define him. He transcended labels, style, race, gender, even names. His refusal to conform inspired millions of fans and peers. To quote Prince himself “a strong spirit transcends rules”.

His mixture of 50’s pop, 60’s rock, and musical experimentation melted faces and grooved millions of bodies over a four-decade long career. His flair, charismatic stage presence, and glam rock aesthetic placed Prince in a class of his own. The 2004 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame enshrined this musical icon in the halls of history and gave Prince the icon status he so graciously deserves.

Kelly Pickering – Senior User Experience Designer, mcgarrybowen Chicago.