Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Feel Better, Feel Good, Feel Wonderful" - Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays, purple hippies!

I will return with a new blog post on Monday, January 7. Do not worry; I am hard at work rewriting, and I will have updates.

See you in the new year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

"Now, Turn the Page" - Book of the Week

Quick post tonight. I've done a "Book of the Week" entry in July and October, and I've decided to make it a recurring post. I am going to purchase this book this week:


As I've mentioned, my Prince book is also my master's professional project for Ohio University. The version for school will have to include citations in Chicago style. I already know a bit about Chicago style, but my citations are starting to get more complicated, so I'm just going to buy the book.

I'm currently writing about Prince's childhood (1958-1976). It's been very stressful. Please wish me luck!

Monday, December 10, 2012

"They Love Me Too Much" - Who's Talking Prince on the Web? - Part 2

After sharing others' blogs, articles, posts and videos about Prince on the Web back in August, I've decided to make this a recurring topic. Here is a taste of what others have been saying about Prince during the past few months:

1) WBEZ Chicago Public Media contributors Richard Steele and Tony Sarabia, along with Prince biographer Jon Bream, share their favorite Prince tunes here.


 Rolling Out summarize's Prince's career in a slideshow here.



Journalist Christopher A. Daniel reflects on the "1999" album, which is 30 years old! Read the article, featured in The Burton Wire, here

4) This fan art is actually quite old, but it just popped up on my radar. Ignore the silly Photoshopped pictures and enjoy the beautiful drawings of the artist here.

Have you noticed any other articles, blogs or blurbs on Prince lately?

Monday, December 3, 2012

"It's All About Being There" - Uptown Magazine

Hey, everyone! Quick post tonight.

In my book, I will also analyze Prince's audience: How do his fans and the public respond to his music, performances and comments, especially when they include spiritual concepts? 

Today, it's easy to find out what Prince fans are thinking via Twitter (#TeamPrince), Facebook and fan sites such as prince.org and princefams.com. So, what were fans saying 20 years ago?

I'd like to find out by reading Uptown, an international Prince fanzine. I'm not sure when it was created, or when it was shut down, but I found an issue from 1992 here. Also, according to biographer Alex Hahn, Prince sued Uptown in 1999 for violation of "unfair competition laws," and copyright infringement. Hahn, also a lawyer, represented Uptown, which was allowed to continue publishing. 

I would love to find all of the issues and purchase them (for a reasonable price, of course). I'm counting on the fans to tell me where I can find them. I will also try to hunt down the staff, which includes Per Nilsen, who also wrote a great Prince bio.

Did you ever read Uptown? What did you think?

Monday, November 26, 2012

"This is a Bore" - Population & Church Data

Hi, all! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving--I did. I also hope everyone tuned into Spike Lee's "Bad 25" documentary on Michael Jackson; it was terrific, but I digress...

I was also able to get some work done during the holiday vacation from work. I've updated the book's preface, and I did a lot of research on Minneapolis population and church data during Prince's childhood (1950s--1970s). Unfortunately, it was very time-consuming and boring. Here is a little taste (click on images for better views):

Churches and Church Membership by State, County and Denomination: 1971; Minnesota; Hennepin County

As I've said in a previous post, this type of research helps me to outline the environment in which Prince grew up.

That's all for this week, folks!

Oh! One other thing--shout out to @VictoR3mix for giving me some info on a Prince website that I missed in last week's entry: mplsound.com. Check out my updated post here.

What Minneapolis-based statistics would you like to know?

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Welcome to the Dawn" - Prince's Websites (Updated)

As I mentioned last week, I've been collecting some Prince-related documents. One of those is Prince and ex-wife Mayte Garcia's wedding program. Prince actually posted it on his website, thedawn.com (now defunct).

Although his attitude toward the Internet has changed, Prince was one of the first major artists to utilize the platform to share his music, projects and, to an extent, his life with his fans. Since the mid-1990s, he's had several websites (all closed). I don't know much about them; researching the sites will be yet another task on my list. Here is a list of websites I know about so far:

  • The aforementioned thedawn.com. Right now, I only know that he used it to talk about his relationship wtih Mayte, but I'd imagine there were other uses (Prince fans, help me out here).

  • 1800newfunk.com. I've read that this site, like the phone service of the same name, allowed fans to purchase music.

  • love4oneanother.com. According to this City Pages article, the website was used to promote Prince's Love 4 One Another charity. I also read that there was a Mayte-related post on this site as well.

  • npgmusicclub.com. This was a site for Prince's New Power Generation Music Club (NPGMC), where fans could subscribe and receive exclusive music and other perks. The site helped Prince win a "Lifetime Achievement Webby Award" in 2006.

  • 3121.com. I vaguely remember this website that Prince started several years ago around the time his "3121" album came out. In fact, I think I watched a performance of "Joy in Repetition" from his tour at the O2 arena in London. Sadly, the site did not stay up for very long.

  • mplsound.com. Prince started this website around the time he released his three-disc set, "Lotusflow3r," in 2009. I didn't catch the website, but according to a Prince fan, the site featured songs from the album.

  • lotusflow3r.com. I clearly remember visiting this site, which Prince also started during the "Lotusflow3r" era, though I did not subscribe. It was really cool and interactive, but it vanished rather quickly. I don't think Prince ever offered an explanation.

That is everything I know. I'm sure I've missed some.

Because Prince occasionally used some of these sites to share announcements about his life, I'm hoping to find more scans of these web pages in the future.

Prince fans: what was your favorite Prince website?

Monday, November 12, 2012

"A Private Affair" - Keeping Good News Under Wraps

Last week was a FANTASTIC week for the Prince book! A lot of great things--minor and major--happened for me. Unfortunately, I can't share too many details for various reasons. Here is a general overview of a few things that I'm excited about--and why I'm keeping them under wraps:

In the previous blog entry, I mentioned that I was ordering some Prince-related public documents. I received the first of such documents in the mail last week! Anyone can order a copy of the document, but I won't mention where I got it from--I don't want to ignite a flood of requests for these documents (not that I have tons of blog readers just yet). By the way, Prince is a respected figure in Minneapolis, and many people are extremely cautious when they respond to requests for information.

I feel that I've found two potential gold mines of Prince-related artifacts and articles in two locations. These places are available to the public, but I'm going to keep them secret--I need to stay competitive among other Prince biographers (until I'm published, then I'd be happy to help other serious researchers with positive intentions).

Finally, here is the biggest news of all: I talked to a very special person on Friday. I can't say who it was, but there is a chance that Prince may find out about me.

I am feeling very lucky and encouraged, but there is still a lot of work to do! No matter how hard it gets, I will never stop believing in this project. It will get done!

Thanks for reading!

Do you like my fancy graphics?

Monday, November 5, 2012

"The Chord Strikes, Devil No Like" - the "Parade" Album

I had a nice vacation--well, it was really a "staycation" because I didn't go anywhere. I did take some time to work on the book, and I was excited to talk to another person who attended Prince's childhood Seventh-day Adventist church. I was able to get a great anecdote from him. I also made some progress ordering some Prince-related public documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc).

I want to talk about something that is top-of-mind for me today--Prince's 1986 album "Parade," which is also the soundtrack to his second film, "Under the Cherry Moon."


So...I don't know much about this album. I was listening to the album at work, and I realized that I've probably only heard the full album about four times. As many of you know, Prince has a huge discography of released music (let's not even get into the "vault"). In the current version of my book, I've analyzed a good chunk of his albums, but there are some that I still need to spend some time with, and "Parade" is one of them (unlike Matt Thorne, I will not reference every song that Prince has ever written, but I will cover all albums between 1978 and 2004).

I've been familiar with "Kiss" (of course), "Anotherloverholeinyohead" (one of my all-time favorite Prince songs--so funky I can barely take it) and "Sometimes it Snows in April" for some time. The others are pretty much new to me. So far, I'm really feeling "I Wonder U" and "Under the Cherry Moon." I'm also amazed that the album is so concise--I'm used to extended jams from Prince.

However, my personal taste is not important. I'm looking forward to analyzing the spiritual themes in the album and the movie.


Though I own the movie, I only saw it once years ago, so I don't remember much. I'm looking forward to watching it again with an analytical eye. Also, I now have some first-hand information about the making of the film from Prince's former press agent, Howard Bloom, who was working with him at the time.

What are your favorite tracks from "Parade," and what did you think of "Under the Cherry Moon?"

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Take a Break From 9 to 5" - Vacation!

Hi, blog readers! I am actually on vacation this week. I will be back on November 5.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 22, 2012

"All the Things People Say" - Interviews So Far

Hey, everyone! I think I need to join a support group for biographers who work full-time jobs and try to write at night and on weekends. There are also other things to juggle such as family, friends and health. For the past week, I've been focusing on the latter, so I don't have a ton of updates. As a result, I thought I'd take the opportunity to provide links to interviews I've done so far, for those who haven't read them:

Interview with former pre-Revoluation band member Gayle Chapman

Interviews with Rolling Stone journalists

Interview with former press agent Howard Bloom

Interview with former Warner Bros. Director of Publicity Roberta Burrows

Interview with gossip columnist CJ

Interview with former church youth group leader Art Erickson

As I mentioned last week, I've also interviewed one of Prince's family members. Also, I have identified his childhood Seventh-day Adventist church, and I talked to a church member who remembered Prince as a kid. Those interviews will be included in the book (gotta leave some things for the final product).

I will be on vacation next week, so I'll have a new blog post the following week. See you in November!

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Somewhere Here on Earth" - Looking for Tyka Nelson's Book

I'm excited to say that I talked to one of Prince's relatives last month! I won't mention the name for privacy purposes, but the relative let me know that Prince's younger sister and only "full" sibling, Tyka Nelson, wrote a book about her life, "Mama Never Taught Me How to Sing."

"Royal Blue" CD cover (Amazon.com)

That is not a picture of the book. I actually don't know what it looks like; I haven't been able to find it anywhere. In addition to reading books on Prince, I try to read the biographies of those who are--or were--close to him. As you know, I've read Dez Dickerson's book, and I plan to buy Denise "Vanity" Matthews' book.

So, Prince fans, I need your help. Does anyone own Tyka Nelson's book?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Now, Turn the Page" - Book of the Week

SO sorry for the late post. I had to take care of some important business yesterday. My last "Book of the Week" highlighted the very first Prince biography (to my knowledge), and now I'd like to talk about the most recent Prince biography: "Prince," by Matt Thorne (released Oct. 4, 2012).


Whenever I hear about a new Prince book hitting the market, the first emotion that I feel is fear. Did the author cover my angle for my Prince book?

According to a review by The Independent, "Prince's religious journey is hardly mentioned, despite teasers."


I read two other reviews by The Guardian and The Telegraph, and the consensus is that although the book is extremely detailed (it has 672 pages), Prince, the man, is still a mystery.

I'm hopeful that because I'm focusing on just one specific area of Prince's life, I will be able to shed just a little light on the incredible musician as a person.

I do want to commend Mr. Thorne. I know how difficult it is to cover one angle of the story; I can't imagine the hard work he had to put in to encompass Prince's whole life and career. The reveiwers said that Thorne references every Prince song, released and unreleased. The Independent notes that, unfortunately, there is an "absence of lyrical quotes, presumably for legal reasons." That is an issue that I, too, will have to deal with, but that's another blog topic...

Thorne and I both talked to Howard Bloom, but I'll bet our conversations were very different. Thorne also talked to Wendy and Lisa, which I'm sure was a terrific selling point for his publisher.

I plan to read the book eventually, but I'm wondering what I would discover that hasn't been covered by Alex Hahn or Per Nilsen. I agree that it seems to be a book for the hardcore Prince fan and perhaps not your average person who wants to learn more about a famous musician. I'm trying to reach both audiences with my book.

I definitely respect Thorne's years of research, and I'd love to chat with him one day about our experiences covering this enigmatic musician.

Will you read "Prince" by Matt Thorne?

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Funk So Pretty, You and Me" - Sheila E. on "Unsung"

Happy October!

So, I ADORE TV One's music documentary series "Unsung." It is a staple on my DVR. I've been saving percussionist and Prince collaborator Sheila E.'s episode for weeks (it premiered in February), and I finally watched it.

I really enjoyed it. There were great anecdotes, especially about her duet with Prince on "Erotic City." I'd always assumed they were saying "funk;" it's interesting that it was so controversial back in the '80s (some radio stations still censor the song, and TV One also utilized "bleeps" during the show).

"There were some words in the song that I thought that 'I can't say that.' So I didn't, and he [Prince] said it." -- Sheila E.

 I've read about Sheila's relationship with Prince, and Howard Bloom talked a little bit about it during our interview, but I hadn't heard Sheila talk about it until this documentary. I was surprised to hear her admit that they "fell in love."

Like "Hollywood Exes," the documentary provided some nice quotes for my book. They aren't about Prince's spirituality, but they will serve as a good foundation for Prince and Sheila's professional and personal relationship. Of course I would love to speak with her one day, but we'll see...

Speaking of spirituality, Sheila talked about her own faith. I'm fascinated by the amount of Prince's family members, friends and colleagues who have had their own spiritual journeys. That is something that I am addressing in the book.

 Enjoy a bonus clip featuring Sheila E. from TV One's website below:

What did you think of Sheila E.'s "Unsung" episode?

Also, who else wants the "Unsung" series released on DVD?

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Come Back, Nikki!" - Prince's Backmasking Part 1

Hey, everyone! Ok, I'm super tired and fighting a horrible case of hives, but I wanted to make sure I stayed on schedule with a blog post today.

Yesterday, one of my best friends found this beauty at a trade show for $5, and kindly bought it for me (whenever anyone who knows me sees or hears something Prince-related, they automatically think "Erica."):

 So, I immediately tried to do what I've always wanted to do with "Purple Rain" on vinyl: play the end of "Darling Nikki" backwards.

Prince used the backmasking technique--recording sounds or messages backwards (rapper Tupac Shakur actually sampled this backmasking on his song Heartz of Men). Like many Prince fans, I know what the message says, but I've never heard it for myself.

Because I have very limited knowledge about vinyl, I thought that this task would be easy, but it's not.  I've learned from a couple YouTube videos (found here and here) that it's going to require tools. So, I'm going to wait until this weekend to try it again.

For those of you who are wondering what the message says, I'm not going to tell. Hint: it is relevant to my book. It's going to be fun to confirm it for myself. I know you're going to Google it, but why not try it on your own?

By the way, did you catch the cover of "Darling Nikki" by Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live alum and daughter of the late singer Minnie Riperton)? She performed the song with The Roots on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." She even mimicks the backmasking as part of the performance! Watch here via Gawker.

What do you think of Maya's performance?

Monday, September 17, 2012

"From the Heart of Minnesota" - Minneapolis Research

Quick post tonight! This week is all about researching Prince's hometown, Minneapolis. I'm particulary interested in the number and type of churches in the city, church attendance, and number of families that identified themselves as "religious" over the years. When writing a biography, it's important to examine your subject's environment.

I'm also trying to look into Prince's involvement in the Seventh-Day Adventist church as a child. According to several books and articles, he was raised an Adventist, but no one has identified which SDA church he attended. I feel that I'm getting closer to finding out.

That's all for me.  I just watched a clip of Prince on "The View" today, where he talked about the "Welcome 2 Chicago" concerts and the Rebuild the Dream organization. He also released a new song, “RnR Affair.”

What do you think of Prince's appearance on "The View" and the new song?

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Stand Up! Organize!" - My New Purchase & More Pics

I'm super excited! I finally bought my mini file cabinet for my Prince research:

I've been organizing the content by category (don't say anything about my handwriting):

I keep my Prince-related books, DVDs and VHS tapes (yeah, that's right) on my bookshelf. There's a Bob Dylan book in there, too, but I promise it's relevant:

Here's a closer look at some of the things I've taped on VHS...and "Graffiti Bridge":

I keep my Prince music in various places. Here is some of it:

That "Musicology" CD is from the actual tour in 2004. I've saved that ticket, and my ticket from the "Welcome 2 America" concert at Madison Square Garden, of course:

Unfortunately, I won't be attending the "Welcome 2 Chicago" tour. I promised myself that the next time I see Prince live, I will be in the front row or VIP. So, I need time to get my purple savings account right. I also need to save for my inevitable trip to Minneapolis! :)

Who is going to Welcome 2 Chicago?

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Nothing Stays the Same, Anyway" - Changes to the Blog

Happy Labor Day!

As you know, I'm always trying to improve this blog. I took the time today to make some aesthetic changes and a content change:

Where's the Blogger Favicon?

Although this blog is powered by Blogger, I want it to stand on its own as much as possible. I asked my boyfriend to create a new icon in Photoshop for me. You should see this image in the left-hand corner of your browser very soon:

If you take a look at the right panel of this website, you'll see that I've added my picture and contact information (about time, right?). You'll see that my blog posts are still duplicated on my website. In the past, I thought about switching to Wordpress completely, but I decided to stick with Blogger. Now, I have to figure out if I want to keep the blog on my website.

The other visual changes are more subtle. I'm going to be consistent with my font type (Verdana) and size going forward. Unfortunately, I still need to update the font in a good chunk of my previous entries. Also, the purple that you see in this blog is the exact purple from the "Purple Rain" album cover:


All hyperlinks are purple, but they turn green when you hover over them, and change to pink once you've clicked on them.

In terms of content, I've altered the blog summary/purpose at the top of the page.When I started this blog in December 2010, I wanted to expand my book and meet Prince by December 2011. I then changed the end date to December 2012. Well, I am going to be more realistic. Obviously, I would still love to meet Prince and interview him for the book. While that would be extremely significant for my project, it is not mandatory. I am still going to finish the book whether or not I speak to him. Additionally, I am giving myself until 2015 to secure more interviews and add 80 pages to the 80 that I've written. I have to turn the book in to Ohio University by the summer of 2016 as part of my graduate school program.

So, follow me on a journey to expand my book on Prince in roughly five years, or on "a purple day in December" 2015!

Monday, August 27, 2012

"They Love Me Too Much" - Who's Talking Prince on the Web?

A few months ago, I made a list of people talking Prince on Twitter.  As part of my research, I’ve also started to keep an eye out for other blogs, articles, posts and videos about Prince on the Web at large.

I thought I’d share a handful of search results—some silly, some serious—that I’ve found over the past few weeks. Enjoy!

1) This little girl likes Prince...A LOT. She even has a special message for him in the video.

2) The good news is that there are numerous posts about Prince on Tumblr. The bad news is that many of them are GIFs, which I personally can’t stand--they hurt my eyes. For those of you who love them, you can find a sample here.


This is an interesting one. When I saw the title for this post in Jacqueline J. Holness’ s blog, which she describes as a “forum for Christians,” among other things, I thought it would  be about Prince’s spirituality. It turns out that she just used Prince’s song “Controversy” to frame the post. 


I really enjoyed this blog post matching certain Jeffrey Campbell shoes with rock stars including Prince, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury and David Bowie. Fun stuff!


Ok, so I'm not familiar with this type of writing (is this considered fan fiction?). People are writing fictional stories based on Prince and/or his work here.

6) The A.V. Club reviewed "I Wanna Be Your Lover" last month. I thought it was an interesting read.

Prince has also been in the news for allegedly putting together an outdoor show in St. Paul, but you can see those types of stories on Prince.org and Princefams.com. I just wanted to give you a taste of some quirky content that you may not easily find.

Which one of the above is your favorite?

Monday, August 20, 2012

“Don’t You Touch My Stereo!” – New Gift & Other Updates

Hey, peeps! Check out my anniversary gift!

Ever since I moved in my new apartment, I’ve been talking about getting a record player, and my boyfriend surprised me with one last Saturday! As you can see, he also gave me my first Prince vinyl record—“Around the World in a Day” (he bypassed “1999,” “Sign O’ the Times” and “Parade” in our local record store, but he still came home with a good choice).
I’ve been so excited to hear Prince’s albums on vinyl, especially after learning about the benefits on the Peach and Black Podcast’s first “Sign O’ the Times” episode (see my comments about the show here). I’ll be making a trip of my own to the record store to get that classic album.

As I mentioned some time ago, analysis of Prince’s performances is an important part of my book. My new record player will make listening to his albums even more fun!
Besides my new gift, I have some other updates for you:

  • The Jon Bream interview is not going to happen. He no longer gives interviews to other Prince writers. However, he was super nice about it. It’s fine; you win some (see my interview with Art Erickson), and you lose some.
  • I’m waiting to hear back from Mayte Garcia’s “people.” It would be awesome if she agreed to chat. Whatever the case, “Hollywood Exes” has produced some great quotes.
  • I’m starting to get better at scheduling time after work and on the weekends to work on the book. This past Saturday, I worked on the book from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (I’m approaching it like a second job). During that time, I learned a lot about Prince’s family. I’ll have more on that later.
  • My next immediate tasks will be to track down the Seventh Day Adventist church that Prince attended as a child, and give myself a lesson in Minneapolis geography.
Thanks for sticking around!

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Remember All the Way Back in the Day?" - Interview with Art Erickson

As I promised last week, I have details to share about my interview with former Park Avenue United Methodist Church youth group leader, Art Erickson. Prince participated in the church's summer programs from sixth to ninth grade.

Erickson was very, very kind and patient with me. I enjoyed speaking with him and even transcribing the interivew afterward!

Other writers have interviewed Erickson, but I contacted him because I want to rely on my own research as much as I can. I also wanted Erickson to elaborate on some things I'd read.

Erickson provided more details about Prince's involvement in the church. We talked about the messages that Prince would have heard in sermons from Dr. Hinerman, the pastor at the time. Erickson also shared his input on Prince's early music, and those anguished chats with God onstage during the "Purple Rain" tour.

Of course I asked Erickson the same question I asked Gayle Chapman and Howard Bloom: "Are you surprised that Prince is a Jehovah's Witness now?" The responses have been so intriguing. Chapman said, "No," and Bloom said, "Yes." Erickson gave the same answer as Chapman.

My chat with Erickson really showed me that I need to learn more about the Jehovah's Wintess doctrine. We discussed it a little bit, and I'm not sure I comprehend it as well as I thought I did. I'll be heading back to the library soon...

As for other sources, Erickson recommends Jimmy Jam, of course. I told him that I wanted to speak with Keith Johnson, the pastor who presided over Prince's wedding to Mayte, and Keith's brother Kirk, who was the best man. Erickson said that Kirk, who was a member of Prince's New Power Generation band, would be the "key person," because he knew Prince better (I wrote Keith a letter a couple weeks ago, but I haven't tried Kirk just yet).

Erickson gave me his blessing to mention that I spoke with him, and to follow up with him, if needed. Also, like many other people who knew Prince in the early years, he wishes he could chat with him today. In fact, a few years ago, Erickson wanted Prince to compose music for a movie that was filming in Minneapolis, but he couldn't reach him.

"You can keep in touch with me," he said, "and you can put on the Intenet that you talked to Art Erickson, and he'd love to talk to Prince again."

Prince, did you get that? They still love you.

Monday, August 6, 2012

"Boom" - Computer Crash

Last Thursday, my computer crashed. When I logged on, I was greeted with a message that said my laptop was in critical condition, and there was something wrong with my hard drive. I literally watched my files disappear, one by one, from my desktop. Next, I was prompted to purchase file recovery for $80. The first thing I thought was, "what about my Prince book?"

Luckily, I have the current draft of the book and all of my research saved on the pink and black external hard drives and blue flash drive. I was so relieved that I'd recently saved an updated version of my interview transcripts on the flash drive--I would have lost my mind if I had to re-type the five-hour interview with Howard Bloom. I also have hard copies of almost everything. Unfortunately, I lost some new notes that I'd jotted down for the book, but that information was not crucial.

It turns out that I'd acquired a virus that wiped out all of my files. I correctly guessed that the file recovery prompt was also part of the virus, and I took it to a local computer shop. I paid $150 to get Windows 7 re-installed on my laptop. I don't download music, but I was told that I could have received the virus from any website, such as Facebook, which is rampant with viruses, apparently. The technician also gave me a couple other tips based on his experience:
  • Don't use Internet Explorer because it increases your chance of getting a virus. Use Google Chrome or Firefox.
  • Don't save files to your desktop. Always save them on external hard drives.
I was always fairly good at backing up my files, but now I'm going to back up each day. I'm not sure how many important files, other than the Prince material, that I lost. I'm not looking forward to finding out. I did lose a lot of my music, though, including some Prince tracks. What a pain!

Some good things happened, so the week wasn't a total loss.  I interviewed Art Erickson, Prince's youth group leader at Park Avenue United Methodist Church! I will post about that interview next week!

I'd also like to give a shout out to Rakabash, one of my readers who passed along some very important content for my book! Thanks so much!

Happy Monday!

Monday, July 30, 2012

"Somebody Watch Me Do My Thing" - the "Sign O' the Times" Concert Film

Quick post this week--sorry it's so late this Monday night. In addition to analyzing biographies, interviews and lyrics, I'm also studying Prince's performances for the book. I own several DVDs--and VHS tapes--of his videos and live performances. However, I have yet to buy the classic 1987 "Sign O' the Times" concert film.

I was almost afraid to write about it because it has always been a much sought-after film. I've been listening to the "Sign O' the Times" album a lot this past week. I will be getting the film on payday.

What do you think of this film?

I'm happy to say that I've seen him live on the "Musicology" and "Welcome 2 America" tours. I'm also excited to get my hands on the 1988-1989 "Lovesexy" tour footage.

 What do you consider to be Prince's best tour so far?

Monday, July 23, 2012

“The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” – Mayte on “Hollywood Exes”

So, I finally had some time to check out “Hollywood Exes,” a Vh1 reality show featuring celebrities’ ex-wives. Prince’s ex-wife, Mayte Garcia, who is the rumored subject of his song “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” is part of the cast. Unfortunately, the first few episodes are no longer available on Vh1.com, and I haven’t been able to catch re-runs on TV. So, I watched Mayte’s profile video online and some episode clips. 

I enjoyed Mayte's profile video. I pretty much knew everything she talked about from previous biographies, but I really feel the video captures what the books are not able to: her personality. She seems really sweet, fun and down-to-earth.

I didn’t expect to gain any knowledge from the show that is relevant to my book; the ladies are moving on with their lives. However, there are some tiny little anecdotes that I can include. I was surprised to learn that Mayte is friends with Prince’s second ex-wife, Manuela Testolini, who is now married to singer Eric Benét. It was also interesting to see a little bit of Manuela’s personality, as she is also somewhat of a mystery.

I have to say that the show isn't bad! R. Kelly's ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, is very funny ("Check your e-mail!"). I enjoyed watching her. Also, from what I've seen, there is no "Basketball Wives" type of drama. I will keep tuning in.

If nothing else, maybe my chances of talking to Mayte are a bit better because she’s opening up her life to the public.

I’d just like her to know that I don’t want to pry too deeply into her private life with Prince—I just want her perception of the spiritual themes in his music, and his overall spiritual journey.

What do you think of “Hollywood Exes” so far?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

“All the Purple Hippies” – Shout Out to #TeamPrince, & Other Updates

As promised, here is my second post for the week. I want to start by giving a shout-out to #TeamPrince—a gathering of Prince fans on Twitter. I enjoy interacting with these folks and they always show me love with retweets and replies, whether I’m tweeting about my book or asking random Prince questions:

  1. I am still waiting to hear back from Jon Bream.
  2. Thanks to the help of blog reader Matt (see the comments section here), I am getting closer to interviewing people from Park Avenue United Methodist--Prince's childhood church.
  3. I've made a goal to purchase a file cabinet and organize all of my research in hanging files (I will have a pic soon).
I'll catch up with you on Monday!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"1 + 1 + 1" - 3 Cool Things about Jon Bream's Prince Bio

I know, I know, I’m a day late. I was supposed to post yesterday, but I didn’t make it. To make it up to you, I am going to post twice this week. The good news is that I set out to finish Jon Bream’s 1984 book, “Prince: Inside the Purple Reign,” last week, and I’ve succeeded. I really enjoyed it, and I want to single out a few reasons why:

1.      It’s the predecessor to all other Prince biographies. You may remember that, in an earlier post, I’ve pinpointed three books that I consider the most thorough profiles of the artist to date--"Purple Reign: The Artist Formerly Knownas Prince" by Liz Jones (1998), "Dance Music Sex Romance: Prince: the First Decade" by Per Nilsen (1999) and "Possessed: the Rise and Fall of Prince" by Alex Hahn (2003). Well, while reading Bream’s book, I came across information that I’ve seen quoted numerous times in at least two of the other biographies—Bream’s book is included in Jones’bibliography and Hahn's “Source Notes and Acknowledgements.” A longtime journalist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Bream also claims to have conducted the first one-on-one interview with Prince (excluding the interview that Prince gave to his school paper, the Central High Pioneer, in 1976). There is a lot of interesting information in all of Bream’s early interviews with the artist; they are included in the book.
2.      Bream is the only biographer—that I know of—who interviewed Prince’s mother, the late Mattie Shaw. It’s nice to read about her perspective.
3.      There are a lot of “fun facts” that I didn’t know. I’m sure you hardcore Prince fans are going to roll your eyes at me, but I didn’t know that Tina Turner covered Prince’s “Let’s Pretend We’re Married" in her live concerts. That is awesome! No one touches Tina!

You'll notice that Tina changes Prince's lyric "I'm in love with God" to "I'm in love with life," but I digress...
Also, when I blogged about taking a trip to Minneapolis, I wondered where they actually shot the Lake Minnetonka scene in “Purple Rain.” I found the answer from Bream’s book, if I’m interpreting this passage correctly:

“Most of the rest of scenes were filmed in thirty-two locations in and around Minneapolis. Appolonia went skinny-dipping in near-freezing weather in a lake near Henderson, Minnesota. Some interior scenes were shot on a soundstage in the Twin Cities and others in Los Angeles…"

Overall, I could tell that Bream spent a lot of time doing research for this book. It’s great that he was able to get it finished and published in 1984, during the “Purple Rain” madness. Fans must have been psyched to purchase it during that time.

Like all Prince bios to date, Bream’s book does not cover Prince’s spirituality in depth (you know I’m trying to fill that void). However, Bream does touch on the subject, and I’d like to interview him to get his perception of it, and learn more about Prince’s life in Minneapolis.

Wish me luck!

Does anyone have a story about buying Bream’s book or getting it as a gift back in 1984?

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Hey! Check it All Out" – Book of the Week

Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have any updates on my progress this week. The good news is that I’m officially settled in my new apartment, and I should have consistent access to the Internet by Saturday. In the meantime, I wanted to give you a look at a Prince book that I am reading this week, “Inside the Purple Reign” by Jon Bream:


As I mentioned before, I’d like to interview Bream, a longtime Prince journalist, when I’m finished with the book. Hopefully, that will be this week.
For those Prince fans who have already read Bream’s book, what did you think?

I promise I’m getting back on track…
Stay tuned!

Monday, July 2, 2012

"Whenever I Feel Like Giving Up..." - Thanks to my Readers!

Hello, everyone! Things are still crazy my way, especially because I'm in the middle of moving to a new apartment. However, I wanted to take time out to say thank you to my readers and supporters! My audience may not be big, but it's growing each week.

I really appreciate your time. I want to share some of your recent wonderful words of encouragement that have kept me motivated (click on the image to enlarge the text):

There have been many other great comments since I started in 2010.

I'll try to come back next week with some more updates on my progress.

Thanks again for cheering me on!



Monday, June 25, 2012

"The Mplsound, We Can't Be Beat" - Attention Mpls Prince Fans!

Well, folks, it's been another hectic week, so I'm devoting this blog entry to a simple call to action: If you're a Prince fan in Minneapolis, I need your help!

As I've said before, I'd like to visit Prince's hometown in the near future, and I'd really like some insight on the must-see Prince places. Note: I am NOT trying to invade his privacy and go to his current Minneapolis home à la Kesha, so don't give me directions there.

I'm thinking more along the lines of the obvious landmarks, such as:

  • First Avenue, the club where Prince regularly performed, and the main setting for his masterpiece movie, "Purple Rain."
  • The real Lake Minnetonka, the place where "Appolonia" (Patricia Kotera) thought she was "purifying" herself in the famous "Purple Rain" scene (Prince fans - where was that scene really shot?). 
  • 915 Logan Avenue, the home where Prince lived as a kid.
  • Park Avenue United Methodist Church, the church that Prince has attended, and the setting for his wedding to first wife Mayte Garcia, who was recently interviewed about her upcoming reality show, "Hollywood Exes" (thanks for the tip, Dimitri).
  • Central High School, Prince's high school.
I'm really interested in meeting Minneapolis residents who remember seeing Prince and his family around town, before and after he became famous. It'd be great to chat with them about their impressions of the star.

So, Minneapolis Prince fans, if you have any tips for me, or if there are other places that I should definitely check out, please leave me a message in the comments section below, or send me a private message here!

Have a good week, and thanks for reading!

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Don't You Wanna Know the Word?" - Updates

Hello, everyone! It's been a very busy week, but I wasn't going to let Monday come and go without posting (albeit late). I'm staying on task with this weekly blog! Here are some more updates on my progress:

  1. Revamping the website: I've mentioned my intention to redesign this website in earlier posts, but I've finally taken the first step--changing the domain name. This blog is moving from "apurpledayindecember.blogspot.com" to "apurpledayindecember.com." The transition should be complete some time this week. Next, I can focus on changing the look of the site. I'm excited to see what I can do (within my limited means, of course).

  2. Finding out about Prince's experience at Park Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis:  Last month, a church member read my blog and offered to help me get in touch with people who were there when Prince attended. I'm happy to say that he provided me with some great contact information last week (shout out to Matt!). Hopefully I'll get another interview or two this week.

  3. Waiting to do an interview with a MAJOR source for my book (who has agreed to chat): The status has not changed since the time I first mentioned it; I'm still waiting. :)

  4. Talking to four more important Prince journalists: As you know, I've already interviewed C.J. I'm reading Jon Bream's "Inside the Purple Reign." When I'm done, I'll contact him.
As always, thanks for reading! Tell your friends!

To be continued....

Monday, June 11, 2012

“All Praise and Glory 2 the Most High” – 5 Other Famous Jehovah’s Witnesses

As I mentioned earlier, I’m going to research other“born-again” musicians to compare their experiences to Prince’s experiences. Last week, I realized that it would also make sense to get a little more specific and investigate other stars who are, or have been, Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are some pretty big names on the list. It’s also interesting that, while some were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses and later moved away from the faith, others, like Prince, moved to the faith in their adult lives.

Check out five other famous Jehovah’s Witnesses:

1.  Michael Jackson—It’s pretty well known that M.J. was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. In fact, there are legendary tells of the King of Pop dressing in disguise as he went door-to-door to witness.  Additionally, we can’t forget that he was pressured to place the disclaimer before the "Thriller" video, distancing himself from occult affiliation:
2.  Janet Jackson—Obviously, like her brother, Janet was also raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. Also like Mike, Janet seemed to step away from the religion later in life. In a 2009 interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News, Janet talked about having her first birthday party at 23-years-old (Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays and holidays):

See 4:30 mark

3.  Serena Williams—the superstar tennis player recently told Sister 2 Sister magazine that she is recommitting herself to the Jehovah’s Witness faith, which she grew up in.

4. Omarion—back in 2009, the R&B singer and former member of boy band B2K admitted to BV Buzz that he had been studying to become a Jehovah’s Witness, and even cited Prince as an inspiration for witnessing door-to-door:

Yeah. I can see myself doing it. Prince does it. I think it would be fun to go door knocking with him. It would be really interesting to knock on somebody's door and see them open it and be like, "Oh Prince!"
5.  Larry Graham—Legendary bassist and former Sly and the Family Stone member is a devout Jehovah’s Witness. He served as a spiritual guide for Prince as the "Purple Rain" star was learning about the faith. Watch Graham and Prince perform “The Christ” (originally titled “The Cross”) live: