OMG Prince is dead

His publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said:

It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning.

Prince changed the music world as we know it. This icon of R&B, funk and jazz went against the tide and created a new context for pop music. He was a huge influence on so many artists including Beyonce, D’Angelo, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams and Alicia Keys.

Not to mention his impact on the rest of the world! Prince arrived in the middle of an 80s pop scene craving sonic newness. His brilliance as a songwriter, performer, improviser and collaborator was fused together by his yearning to explore and his hunger for connecting live with others.

He pioneered a new collision of music styles: new wave, rock, funk and jazz and added elements of production, synthesizer and drum machines to create the Prince DNA trademark sound.

Prince challenged art and even the commercial music industry and the nature of ownership in relationship to his label. His impact even stretched to the White House:

Prince released an amazing 37 albums – three in the last 18 months – and there are purportedly a huge collection of recordings not yet released.

Amongst all of this, he created music for films including Tim Burton’s Batman and received a Oscar for his music for Purple Rain. He continued to create hits for others such as Nothing Compares 2 U (1990) made famous by Sinead O’Connor and Manic Monday (1986) for the Bangles.

Prince like Bowie, was one of those rare artists who was able to transcend the ready made pop scene and become the creator of a new one.

Most know of him through the mega hit songs like Kiss, Purple Rain, When Doves Cry and 1999, created during his golden hits period of 1985-1992 – when there seemed to be no stopping this charting juggernaut.

But Prince was also a brilliant multi-instrumentalist and live performer. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest guitarists of his generation.

Just check out his solo guitar performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and add to the other 12 million views!


He would often follow his long live shows with a secret after-show performance performing with local musicians to a small audience.

Bennetts Lane in Melbourne was one of the local venues for this activity during his 2012 Australian tour. He was just at home playing for 30 or 30,000, always trying to connect to his audience.

Prince’s passing bookends another chapter in the history of music and we wake up today in a somewhat lesser music world without another inspirational figure.

Prince offered us all new ways of making, fusing, performing, relating and collaborating in a commercial music world dominated by stylistic conformity. For this, Prince changed the music forever. Perhaps his approach to life is best summed up in his own words:

You don’t have to be cool
To rule my world
Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your……Kiss

Mark Pollard, Head, School of Contemporary Music, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.

This article first appeared on The Conversation.