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 (

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?