It’s April 21. Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 90th birthday, but the world is also mourning the passage of a musical genius, by the name ‘Prince’.
For lovers of music, Prince Roger Nelson needs no introduction. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, where he lived his entire life as a musical god and died as men do.
He is known for many things, but here are 10 interesting facts you probably did not know about him:
HE WROTE HIS FIRST SONG AT SEVEN
As a son of music – he was born to a Jazz pianist for a father and a Jazz singing mother – Prince wrote his first son at the age of seven, learning music from his most immediate family. His father, who performed on a group called the Prince Rogers Trio, always said he wanted his son to become a musical icon.
HE WAS A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS
Though his music spanned from Rock to R&B, soul, funk, hip hop, disco, psychedelia, jazz, and to pop, his faith was simple and single. He was a Jehovah’s witness, who was said to have needed a surgery but declined since it could not be bloodless.
Jehovah’s witnesses do not believe in blood transfusions – until science can make bloodless surgery possible, they oppose surgery!
THIS WITNESS HAD A NIGHT CLUB
In November 2006, Prince opened a night club in Las Vegas at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino, named 3121, after his award-winning album, which was released earlier in the year.
PLAYS ALL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
As a son of music, Prince learnt to play so many musical instruments, and could play all the instruments used in his debut album, which he produced at 19, consequently becoming the youngest record producer in the history of Warner Bros.
WARNER BROS SLAVE
Signed on to Warner Bros at a very tender age, the company trademarked his name and all musical products under the same name. When he fell out with the label, he wrote “slave” on his cheek to a court case, portraying himself as a slave to the label.
HE CHANGED HIS NAME TO AN UNPRONOUNCEABLE SYMBOL
In the heat of the Warner Bros ownership saga, Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, which made people refer to him as “the artiste formerly known as prince”. The symbol was later termed the love symbol, which defined the essence of his music.
HE PIONEERED A GENRE OF MUSIC
Nigeria’s Shina Peters is known for enthroning Afrojuju as a genre of music, while Fela Kuti is known as the father of Afrobeat. Prince is also known for pioneering Minneapolis sound, a genre common in the US.
HE WON SEVEN GRAMMYS
Of 30 Grammy nominations, Prince successfully won seven, making him one of the top Grammy award winners of all time. He was inducted into the Grammy hall of fame in December 2010.
With the single Purple Rain, he also won an Oscar for best original song, .
HE DIED ON QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY
Prince was found dead at his Paisley Park home studio on a day the world was busy celebrating the 90th birthday of England’s longest serving monarch. He died 50 years after writing his first song.
POSTED 88 PICTURES ON HIS FIRST DAY ON INSTAGRAM
Perceived as averse to the Internet, Prince surprised the world by joining Instagram in October 2015. He went on to post 88 pictures in less than 24 hours. He had more than 244,000 followers as of the time of his death.