Friday, August 16, 2019

"However Much U Want" - Review of "Child of the Sun"



Chances are, if you were a woman in Prince's life, you heard three magic words: "Do you sing?"

He may have used recording as part of his courting process. He may have been inspired by your voice. He may have been inspired by your beauty. Whatever the reason, he wanted to center an album around you.

Shortly after they met, Prince asked Mayte Garcia the magical question. A trained belly dancer since the age of 3, Garcia knew her strength was in movement. But she humored Prince and recorded the song, "However Much U Want." Four years later, in 1995, it was added to Garcia's debut album, Child of the Sun.

"I loved him all the more for being so supportive," Garcia wrote in her book, The Most Beautiful, "but my calling was to dance, and as I evolved as an artist, I was getting more and more interested in directing and editing."

Garcia admitted the album was actually fun. As a listener, you can tell it was a pleasant experience for Prince, too.

The project is intriguing to me because it was an outgrowth of their shared connection to Egypt. Garcia had performed there growing up, and Prince had begun to experiment with Arabic music prior to meeting her. Together, they imagined past lives in Egypt, and their love inspired Prince to create a mythic story, which unfolded on the 1992 Love Symbol album and in the 1994 3 Chains O' Gold short film.

Visiting the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, they learned about Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten and queen Nerfertiti--"We felt connected to them in a way we couldn’t explain," Garcia said--and that the people were called "children of the sun" by some. But that was a few years after Child of the Sun was released, leading them to believe the album title was a divine foreshadowing.

While the album is not a masterpiece, some of the music is quite enjoyable. Prince doubles many of Garcia's vocals, which makes me long to hear the original demos. They both get assistance from the NPG musicians and other contributors.

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Given that Mayte is such a beautiful, charismatic dancer, I don't think it's a stretch to say she could have been molded into a solo artist like Jennifer Lopez.

By managing Robin Power and Carmen Electra in the early '90s, Prince was ahead of the trend of glamorous, sexually forward female rappers that would follow. Similarly, with Garcia, he was ahead of the "Latin pop explosion" of the late '90s. (He even considered naming Garcia's album Latino Barbie Doll.)

However, all of the women may have fared better if Prince brought in producers who could craft stronger hip-hop and pop tracks--and write better rap verses--to be competitive in the industry. That isn't to say that Prince's work isn't interesting, but it sounds too much like Prince.

Furthermore, Prince seemed to project his thoughts and values onto his proteges without giving them agency. Writer Ann Powers said it best in her review of Love Symbol for the New York Times: "The women who decorate Prince's epics also act primarily as vessels for their mentor's overflowing creativity," she wrote. "His only clear agenda ... is his devotion to an ideal that he himself embodies."

The femininity he expresses through the music is an element of his own psyche, she added.

And by listening to Child of the Sun, I can't say I have a proper window into Garcia's true personality.

Even if Prince had enlisted other producers, the album would not have made it to the U.S. market. Prince and Warner Bros. were in the midst of a public contract dispute, and the label refused to release the project. As a result, it was only available in Europe on NPG Records.

All that aside, the album is fun to listen to, and Prince even left some hidden messages next to each song in the liner notes.

Read on for my track-by-track review.

1. Children of the Sun

Hidden Text: Dance Party

I dig this track! This sets the tone for the album, which, in part, explores a '90s dance sound. I can imagine an instrumental version of this track opening a movie set in a busy city. I also love the piano part, the chant--"If your tears need company, this party ain't the one"--and Prince's "Yeah-hoo! Yeah-hoo!" backing vocals. It wouldn't be out of place on the Batman soundtrack.

2. In Your Gracious Name

Hidden Text: Prayer

This song reminds me of "Love, Thy Will Be Done," which Prince composed for singer Martika, based on a prayer she'd written. However, this track is a bit more upbeat. Instead of personifying god with the word "love," the song uses "glory." It also mentions "past lives," a sign that Prince was interested in thinking about reincarnation, while maintaining some of his traditional Christian beliefs.

3. If Eye Love U 2Night

Hidden Text: Sex

Prince really wanted to achieve a quiet storm sound. He would try again later with protege Bria Valente's 2009 album, Elixir. Compared to Garcia, Valente's voice is a bit more malleable and soulful. However, I truly believe Garcia's version of this track could have been a hit in the U.S. Prince originally penned the song in 1979 for Gayle Chapman. (Watch her recent live version here.) Next, he gave it to singer Mica Paris, who included it on her album, Contribution (I'm getting Chaka Khan vibes from her rendition). I'm not a fan of Prince's pattern of recycling music among proteges. With that said, he brilliantly reworked this song to better embody a mid-90s sound for Garcia.



4. The Rhythm of Your Heart

Hidden Text: Youth Culture

This dance track is pretty forgettable except for the part by the horn players. The verses are trivial, but the chorus is catchy and cute: "Shine like the sun/Laugh like the rain .... Try to stay happy on the darkest day." The vibe is clearly "Uncle Prince" encouraging young people, and I do like that.




5. Ain't No Place Like U

Hidden Text: Industrial Love

I'm really proud of myself for labeling this song "industrial" before I saw Prince's message in the liner notes. This is one of the best songs on the album due to his guitar playing. (See if you recognize the drum pattern.) According to princevault.com, the song was also recorded by Jevetta Steele, but that version was never released.

6. House of Brick (Brick House)

Hidden Text: Mighty Mayte

I'm not even mad. Prince wisely took advantage of the "Mighty Mayte" play on words while covering this Commodores hit. I get such a kick out of hearing Prince imitate Walter Orange's vocal inflection, and I like how Kirk Johnson added Latin percussion to better suit the sound of the album.

7. Love's No Fun

Hidden Text: 2 Whom It May Concern

This is another recycled track. Elisa Fiorillo Dease has the better version. Fun fact: this one features an appearance by Mike Scott on acoustic guitar.

8. Baby Don't Care

Hidden Text: Have Dog, Will Stray

"Gloria Estefan, Mayte's in the house," Prince sings on the most Latin-sounding track on the album. I'm not feeling it. Prince's Latin interludes on some of his songs are more enjoyable. Again, this would have been an opportunity for him to bring in another producer to compete with artists like Estefan. Side note: I can't get over Troy Byer doing the speaking part in a Spanish accent.

9. However Much U Want

Hidden Text: Do It

There's backmasking at the beginning of the track, because Prince. This is really the only Arabic-style song on the album, which surprised me. Overall, it's interesting because of its self-actualization message. Prince really believed we could manifest anything in our lives.

10. Mo Betta

Hidden Text: Wetter

Because of the title, I was expecting a cool, sensual, modern (for that time) R&B track. Instead, I got saccharine pop ballad that isn't even that sexy.

11. If Eye Love U 2Night (Spanish version)

Hidden Text: Spanish Vibe

Now I'm remembering when the "Spanish version" of a hit pop song was a thing you'd see (hi, Christina Aguilera). Prince was a smart businessman. I'm kinda mad at Warner Bros. for hamstringing this project because they could have gotten an international hit out of this song.

12. The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

Hidden Text: Beautiful Experience

I'm not sure why this was a thing. It is fascinating to think of how often Prince switched the perspectives of his songs for proteges. For example, a little birdie told me Bria Valente's "Another Boy" was once "Another Girl" ...


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Friday, August 9, 2019

"High-Class Model ... Over in Paris, France" - Interview with Tracy Hudson

"It was like he was looking into your soul."


Tracy Hudson with NPG rapper Tony M.
Photo courtesy of Tracy Hudson.
Prince wants to play you a tape or CD of his new music. How do you react? Smile and enthusiastically bob your head to the beat? Offer constructive criticism? Ask questions about his songwriting process?

Record label executives and journalists weren't the only ones put in this predicament. Prince was known to play material for colleagues, friends, girlfriends and others--usually in the car.

Former model Tracy Hudson took her turn nearly 30 years ago on an airplane.

"He had asked me to listen to versions of [a song] to see which one that I liked," said Hudson, who now owns her own business, Tracy Hudson Skin Care, in Los Angeles. "I remember I was super nervous."

That's about all she can recall of the moment, one of many she was able to spend with the late superstar. He booked her for music videos, including "Insatiable" and "Sexy M.F.," as well as photo shoots.

"Initially, he was contacting me through L.A. Models," she said. "Then, he asked to just call me directly to book me, which was really great. I think it was the 'Insatiable' video that we did first."


Released in 1991, the "Insatiable" video finds Prince making a sexy tape with a love interest. Hudson wasn't in the starring role--that honor went to Barbara Lee--but you can spot her among the dozen other women who joined in for the filmmaking fun.

Hudson had a bigger role in 1992's "Sexy M.F.," shot at Paisley Park Studios. At the beginning of the video, Prince lures her and two other women--Robin Power Royal and Troy Byer--away from a group of rivals. According to Hudson, cast members slept on the premises. She recalled the sight--and sound--of Prince's cane as he rapped on their doors, waking them up for a 6 a.m. call time.

"He was fully dressed," she said. "He had a suit on, and his hair was done and his heels were on and his makeup was on. He was almost like Willy Wonka. He was just super happy and ready to shoot."


Hudson said the experience was a lot of fun because of Prince's sense of humor.

"He was always cracking jokes and just kept us in stitches," she said. "He was very specific about his creative vision, but at the same time, he was a great to work with."

Hudson began her modeling career at 19, when she moved from Los Angeles to Europe. On her first day overseas, she signed with a prestigious agency. By her second day, she'd booked a campaign. She went on to work in runway shows and commercials, and appear in publications like Vogue Italia and Elle Greece.

She worked with Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks--both part of the popular supermodel era of the '80s and '90s.

"It was a great time," Hudson said. "It was great money. ... There was probably a bit more prestige associated with it. Now, you don't really know models' names and faces as much as you did then."

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Hudson has starred in a multitude of music videos for other artists; she singles out Eric Benét's "Femininity" as a favorite. The photo shoots she did for Prince were promoting his band, the New Power Generation (NPG).

"One time he had this huge dog that he had me straddle," she said. "They were always really provocative pictures."
                                
Photo courtesy of Tracy Hudson.
Hudson will always remember Prince as warm, friendly and generous. And he was reserved and contemplative as much as he was funny.

"You kind of always stayed off-balance a little bit," she said. "Sometimes there were these really quiet moments where he'd just stare at you really deeply and intensely. ... It was like he was looking into your soul."

Highlighting stories like Hudson's are important as we unpack the full extent of Prince's legacy, including his elevation of black women--a detail that has been overlooked by many journalists, scholars and people in the fan community.

"I remember thinking it was really cool that he took notice of this little chocolate girl," Hudson said.

Follow Tracy Hudson on Instagram @tracyhudsonskincare.



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Friday, August 2, 2019

"And God Created Woman" - Prince and Roger Vadim


"What is it with the recurring homages to Roger Vadim?"

You can almost visualize Los Angeles Times writer Chris Willman pulling out tufts of his hair while writing a review of Prince's 1992 album, Love Symbol. Finding the project "silly and self-indulgent," Willman was no longer impressed with Prince's style of intermingling the sexual with the spiritual.

"Formerly a horny boy Gnostic of fascinatingly obsessive proportions, he now seems like just another confused Peter Pan with Playboy on the brain and a Bible in the hotel drawer," Willman wrote.

Well, alright.

I disagree with Willman's broad brush of criticism; I actually think Love Symbol is one of Prince's best albums of the '90s. Additionally, the project is an intriguing look at Prince's exploration beyond traditional Christian beliefs. However, journalists did not have enough time or interest to pick apart his references to reincarnation and the third eye--not to mention the complex gender expression of the symbol, which would soon become his name.

Related Content 
Love Symbol by the Numbers

However, I can't say I quite understand Prince's fascination with Roger Vadim, the French writer and director whose career took off in the 1950s and ended just before his death in the 2000s. On Love Symbol, Prince's song, "And God Created Woman," is the same title of Vadim's 1956 movie, which made actress and fashion icon Brigitte Bardot a star.


And during the previous year, Prince debuted a new fashion style, "GangsterGlam," which he explained as "Godfather III meets Barbarella."

The movie "Godfather III" was released in 1990--around the time Prince was making the Diamonds and Pearls and Love Symbol albums--but "Barbarella," starring Jane Fonda, was a science fiction comedy Vadim made in 1968.

Prince even christened his keyboard player with the name "Tommy Barbarella."

"He was into the movie at the time," Barbarella told MPLS St. Paul magazine. "I don't know why, [maybe] style-wise. This is a guy who on airplanes would read a lot of fashion magazines. He was always on the cutting-edge of fashion and Paris shows."

Prince and his band, the NPG, paid homage to the gangster film by wearing suits, suspenders and fedoras. The influence of "Barbarella" is more apparent, to me, in the visuals associated with his female dancers and protégés, Diamond, Pearl and Carmen Electra.


Both films are rooted in the erotic, which was a trademark of Vadim's art. Prince, whose early work was the catalyst for the "Parental Advisory" label on albums, could obviously relate. And Prince showed his affinity for France by filming his own movie, "Under the Cherry Moon," there.

Like Prince, Vadim had romances with many of his female colleagues; he married both Bardot and Fonda, and dated actress Catherine Deneuve. Unlike Prince, Vadim did not always keep his personal life private. He penned a book about his relationships called Bardot, Deneuve, Fonda.

After watching both movies for the first time this week, I can say Barbarella" is much more entertaining. I understand the impact "And God Created Woman" made when taken in historical context of female representation on film. For example, Vadim once said, "I wanted to show a normal young girl whose only difference was that she behaved in the way a boy might, without any sense of guilt on a moral or sexual level."

However, I wanted to see a more fully realized role for Bardot's "Juliette" character. Other than her love for animals--Bardot is an animal activist in real life--I didn't get any sense of Juliette's aspirations. And, as to be expected in a 1950s movie, there was an uncomfortable, racially charged scene. Toward the end of the movie, the "demon-driven temptress" rebels by dancing with darker-skinned Cuban musicians. (Side note: Bardot has a history of inciting racism in real life, but that's another blog post.)

In my opinion, "And God Created Woman" has an air too serious for a plot that thin. On the other hand, "Barbarella" is a film fully aware of its camp and ridiculousness. With a lesser actress, it would have failed, but Fonda's acting and comedic timing are terrific. I found myself cackling out loud.


Prince also seemed to be amused by the "tongue box," a device that converted a person's speech into English as they were talking, which Barbarella used in the film. In a skit on the Love Symbol album, Prince mentions he has "a special phone, a tongue box."

I would also bet money that the "little box with a mirror and a tongue inside," which Prince mentions on the song "Gett Off," is a perversion of the tongue box concept, but who knows?

As for Prince's song, "And God Created Woman," it doesn't reference the film. Instead, it's a compelling retelling--and, arguably, a subversion--of Biblical scripture.

Hopefully, other scholars will take a deeper dive into Prince, Vadim, Bardot and Fonda in the context of fashion, female beauty standards and feminism.

I'd also be happy if Prince's former loved ones talked more about what it was like to watch an old movie with him.


Subscribe to my e-mail list for updates on my book on Prince's spiritual journey. Click here.

Monday, July 29, 2019

"HITnRUN" - Quick Prince Giveaway



Congrats to the winner, Nicole S.!

This contest is closed. 

Subscribe to my e-mail list for updates on my book on Prince's spiritual journey. Click here.

Friday, July 26, 2019

"2 Whom it May Concern ... " - Prince's Act I and Act II Tours

"My name is not Prince. My name damn sure ain't Victor."




What happens when a major recording artist changes his name in the midst of a world tour? If it's Prince, that means the audiences will get one type of show before the transformation, and a different one afterward.

Three months before he became the symbol--specifically Love Symbol #2--on June 7, 1993, he embarked on his first tour of the U.S. in approximately five years. I recently watched video of one of the shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Inspiration and fun are the first two words that came to mind when I think about that concert. Prince was clearly smitten by dancer and future wife, Mayte Garcia, and I enjoyed their chemistry as they performed songs of that era, many of which were written with her in mind. One of my favorite moments occurs during "The Max," when they do a sensual dance together and flirt at the piano.


Garcia stood out during the previous Diamonds and Pearls tour and she made an impact here, especially with her ballet during "And God Created Woman" and belly dancing during "7." Throughout the concert, she played off the energy of additional dancers TDK: Tony M. (also a rapper), Damon Dickson and Kirk Johnson.

I've never been a huge fan of the trio, but I can't knock their stamina. And I was delighted by a little step they did, turning their backsides to the audience, during "The Continental." Later, when two of them hoisted Prince high in the air, I nearly broke out in hives. There's no way I'd risk dropping such precious cargo!

There were also a few other women dancers. Kelly Konno, whom I instantly recognized from touring with Janet Jackson portrayed a reporter whose clothes are ... sigh ... stripped off onstage. (You can read more about her experience here.)

In addition to love, Prince was inspired by Egypt, loosely telling the story of an Egyptian Princess (Garcia) being hunted by men who want to steal her "3 Chains O' Gold." More of the plot would become clearer--though not necessarily more interesting--when the 3 Chains O' Gold short film was released the following year.

But the theatrics would be nothing without the music of Prince and the NPG, which at the time consisted of Michael Bland, Tommy Barbarella, Morris Hayes, and a fantastic horn section, which would become known as the Hornheads. Prince showed off his piano- and guitar-playing talents throughout the show.

"You were proud that you were there with him so you wanted to be your best, but the ultimate motivator was fear," Barbarella said in an interview with Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. "So many amazing moments were tempered with fear."

One of the craziest stories I've heard was when Prince held his gun-shaped mic up to trombonist Michael B. Nelson's head night after night to make sure he didn't miss a high note again during his solo.

"He just wanted it to be perfect all the time," Nelson told Rolling Stone. "And he wasn’t always cheerful about how he wanted that. It took me a long time to come to terms with that."


After the first half of the show closed with "7," I dreaded the greatest hits-heavy second half. However, Prince managed to keep it lively and diverse, throwing in B-sides like "Irresistible Bitch" and "She's Always in My Hair," alongside tracks from Gold Nigga, the NPG album Warner Bros. refused to release.

I paid close attention to "Purple Rain," which is always an important indicator of Prince's spiritual mindset. Known for changing the "let me guide you" lyric to emphasize God or Jesus at times, Prince decided to emphasize the word "love," which I argue is a code for Prince's higher power (more on that in my book).

Many of the reviews were harsh, with publications criticizing the plot, Prince's "machismo," his one-dimensional portrayal of Garcia and the sexual content in his new music.

"The attempts he made at social relevance in the mid-1980s have vanished; now, it's back to the bedroom," Jon Pareles wrote in the New York Times.

I don't want to see the reviews for the European leg of the tour, or Act II, which began in late July.

There was a shadow cast over the production before it even began. In April, Prince announced he was retiring from music, and would fulfill his much-publicized--and likely exaggerated--$100 million contract with Warner Bros. only with shelved material from his vault. And though his name change was a complex personal decision, it was clear he also had motivations to undermine the record label in the meantime.

That's a lot of baggage to carry during a tour, and it showed, at least in the London show I watched.

Prince excised his new material and the Egyptian plot almost entirely from the show. What remained was an uninspired parade of his old hits, some of which he said he would stop performing after this series of concerts. Prince himself appeared bored, doing snippets of songs and noodling at the piano or spending a brief moment behind the drum kit in an effort to fill time. (As the tour went on, he'd gradually add in tracks from forthcoming albums.)

He dissolved TDK, who were sorely needed in this lackluster production. Instead, Garcia was brought out to dance more, but much of the chemistry was gone without the backdrop of songs she inspired.

"My Name is Prince" was left in as the opening number, but Prince did not appear onstage. Mayte Garcia dressed as him and fooled the audience until she stripped down. That little trick was actually kinda cool, and reminiscent of his 1980s antics, like tricking consumers by putting Cat Glover on the cover of the "Sign 'O' the Times" single and masking her face.

Thank goodness the NPG still sounded tight, especially those horns during "America" and "D.M.S.R." That might be the only other thing I liked about this tour.

With Prince increasingly becoming anti-corporate, it was a little funny to see Prince's symbol advertised next to Coca-Cola, the sponsor of the tour. Another goofy moment occurred when he  grumbled about the prevalence of lip syncing in the industry, then proceeded to lip sync--very poorly--during "The Sacrifice O' Victor." (Thanks for "sacrificing" one of my favorite songs, P.)

He had to preface that song by telling the audience his name is not Victor, which was a rumor floating around after his name change.

"What, you got a problem 'cause you don't know what to call me?" he asked from the stage. "If you're always with me, you never have to call me."

Touché.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

"Undisputed" - Top Six Posts of 2019


At the start of 2019, I set a goal to blog each Friday. Now that we've passed the six-month mark, I'm proud to announce I haven't missed a week! This is a major accomplishment for me; although I've been running this blog for nine years, I haven't always been consistent.

But I'm on my way to surpassing my most active period (2012-13)! Here are the most-viewed posts in 2019 ... so far.

6. "All That Glitters" - Review of "Gold Experience: Following Prince in the '90s." In-depth coverage of Prince's career in the 1990s is so limited. Jim Walsh's book is a great start.

5. "Come to the Park and Play" - Interview with Kathy Good. In my quest to write about as many women in Prince's video for "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," I found Good, who was open to telling her story to a wider audience for the first time. She even shared her audition video!

4. "Get Yo Groove On" - Interview with Rhonda Smith. It took a while for the bassist to feel comfortable talking about Prince after his death. I appreciated her time with me.

3. "Don't U Wanna Know The Word?" - Four Spiritual Messages on 3121. In celebration of the album's reissue on purple vinyl, I examined just some of its spiritual content. It feels good to have a post featuring my own thoughts (without an interview attached) in the top three.

2. "Where'd You Get Those Glasses?" - Interview with Wally Safford. That one time Prince's dancer, bodyguard and friend called me with Jerome Benton on the line ...

1. "Beautiful, Loved and Blessed" - Interview with Ashley Támar Davis. I have such a special relationship with the 3121 album, and I always admired Davis' contributions, especially the spiritual content.


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Friday, July 12, 2019

"Pop Life" - Seven Questions for Laura Tiebert

"Life it ain't real funky unless it's got that pop." 


Photo by PhillipsPhotosCDP

To experience life in Prince's high heels, one doesn't have to write timeless music, sell out arenas or attempt to hit a dozen splits at the drop of a hat. Following Prince's example can mean fasting, developing a personal style and making time for play in your busy, adult life.

That's what Minnesota mom Laura Tiebert has been doing since the beginning of 2019. Each month, she completes a Prince-inspired task (she even changed her name in April), and writes about it at lauratiebert.com. She hopes to turn "The Year of Living Like Prince" into a book.

"The impetus, in part, for this project was seeing how people in a fan community can sometimes put that person on a pedestal, and in the process let themselves off the hook," Tiebert said. "[They say], 'Oh, this person's a genius. I could never do this.' Well, you know what, you can do more than you think and you have talents. And it's your job to get out there and share them."

Originally from Wisconsin, Tiebert gravitated toward Prince's music as a teenager. As life got busier with a successful writing career, marriage and parenthood, she lost track of the enigmatic superstar. But when her husband's job prompted a move to Minnesota just before Prince's death in 2016, she was drawn back into the music. A year later, she published a biography, The Rise of Prince: 1958-1988, with co-writer Alex Hahn.

Tiebert graciously answered seven questions about her passion for Prince.

1. On the spectrum from "casual fan" to "hardcore fan," how would you rank yourself?

There are still a lot of people who know much more about Prince than I do. I'm not a musician, there are things about the music that I don't understand, but I'd put myself right up there. I think I've fallen into the category of hardcore fan. ... I'm so grateful for his music and his legacy because it's led me to an amazing place where I feel like I'm serving my purpose in life. Living like Prince and spreading the word, it feels like my purpose.

2. How did your connection to Prince change when you studied his work as an adult? 

I just realized that I had missed a lot, like thousands of songs worth of a lot, and there was so much more to learn. And I think coming to it again now as an adult with teenagers [of my own], I heard the songs differently. I heard different things in the music, and it did resonate with me on a more spiritual level. It was almost like my eyes opened and my heart opened.

3. Other than wearing a "mankini," are there things you won't do while trying to live like Prince?

Working 20 hours a day--I can't. I'm a mom and I have to be up at 6 a.m. to get the kids to school. I can't stay up 'til 5 a.m. and then go to bed and wake up at noon. It's just not going to work for me.

4. As you discovered different aspects of Prince's personality while writing The Rise of Prince, did your relationship with him shift at times?

There were a lot of nights when I would be in front of my laptop, like clutching handfuls of hair going, 'Why, Prince, why?' ... We know he had a dark side and sometimes that was a little hard to stomach. And Alex [Hahn] was very good about facing that and not glossing over it. And I think it's an important part of his story to acknowledge that he wasn't a perfect person.

5. What's something you've learned about Prince that you haven't shared?

For fans, I think they would be interested to know that Prince had invited [author] Betty Eadie to go on tour with him. I think a lot of people know that he was a fan of [her book] Embraced by the Light, maybe they even know that he wrote "Dolphin" for her, and "Into the Light" was inspired by that book. But they might not know that he had taken it to the level where he wanted to give everyone at his show [in the early '90s] one of her books. Then, he was going to have her do her author presentation. It never came to be because Betty decided she couldn't hitch her horse to Prince's wagon per se. But wouldn't that have been something?

6. How does your family respond to your interest in Prince?

In the beginning they thought I had lost my mind, which is completely understandable because I had. But now they just accept their weird mother. And I think as the project develops, they're sort of seeing the greater purpose in it. We've welcomed all kinds of visitors into our home and people stay in our guest room, [which] is decked out in all things Prince. I have confined it to one room. So I'm very proud of myself for that.

I have a very patient and tolerant husband and I greatly appreciate that. The first Mother's Day after Prince died, he went to Electric Fetus [record store] and he got me Dirty Mind. I opened it up at the dining room table in front of the kids and I started sobbing. And the kids, their eyes were like saucers. They were like, "Who is the man in the bikini briefs and why is my mother sobbing?"

7. Besides turning "The Year of Living Like Prince" into a book, what are your long-term goals?

I'm starting to see that "Living Like" could become a series. This could go on and I think there are things to be learned from all sorts of successful people. Right now my life's dream has always been to have a book that came from my heart, and that's what I'm hoping "The Year of Living like Prince" will be. And if I accomplish that, then I'm giving myself a pat on the back. I hope to be able to bring people along on the journey: "Live Like Prince in 2020." Maybe people can follow along in an online class and we'll grow it from there. I also think it's possible that people could pick who they want to live like and I just simply teach how to [do it].


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