Monday, April 9, 2012

“I Knew This Dude, He Was Very Cool” – Bios, Bios, Bios!

Every biographer knows that you have to check out what has already been written about your subject. When I started my book a few years ago, I made sure that I researched what was what out there on Prince. So far, I’ve read: "Dance Music Sex Romance: Prince: the First Decade" (Per Nilsen), "Possessed: the Rise and Fall of Prince" (Alex Hahn), "Purple Reign: The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" (Liz Jones), "Prince: A Thief in the Temple" (Brian Morton) and "Prince: A Life in Music" (Matthew Carcieri). In my opinion, Nilsen, Hahn and Jones provide the most substantial view of the artist.

Since the publication of the books above, and especially within the past two years, many more Prince books and documentaries have hit the market. Granted, many of them are “unauthorized” or “unofficial,” but it’s very interesting to see that there is still a great interest in Prince’s life. Luckily, none of the authors have tackled the spiritual angle in depth, so there is still room for my book. Also, no author has interviewed Prince for his or her biography, so I can still hold out hope to be the first!

It's that time again to do some reading. Whether or not there is new information remains to be seen, but so far, a lot of reviewers don’t seem to think so. Still there are a couple books that have received a positive response-- "Prince: Chaos, Disorder and Revolution" (Jason Draper) and "Prince: Inside the Music and Masks" (Ronin Ro). I’m also excited to read the more academic treatments of the subject, such as "Prince: the Making of a Pop Music Phenomenon" (Stan Hawkins) and
"The Lyrics of Prince Rogers Nelson: A Literary Look at a Creative, Musical Poet, Philosopher, And Storyteller" (Claude L. McInnis Jr. & C. Leigh McInnis).

Sometimes biographers will help each other out. For instance, Per Nilsen gave Alex Hahn access to his interviews. I would like to, at the very least, chat with some of these Prince authors. Years ago, I shared a little bit of my work with James E. Perone, who wrote "The Words and Music of Prince," and was delighted to hear that he agreed with my analysis of Prince’s spiritual journey. I think it’s great when writers support each other. I’ve reached out to Alex Hahn, but I haven’t heard back. Hopefully I will get to interact with other Prince biographers soon.

What is your favorite Prince biography so far?

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