Prince Biography

Successfully reigned The Billboard 200 chart for a week in early April 2006 before being replaced by T.I.'s 'King', Prince has really made a glowing comeback after his two-year hiatus looking from the public response on his '3121' album. WBAI-NY-99.5 FM has greeted him with presenting special broadcast of his music while BET eagerly included him in its '106 & Park', both aired in March, few days after the launch of the piece of work, showing that this guy indeed still holds his charms in music scene. Across the continent, another tribute has also come up from France for the country has been slated to roll 'Purple Rain' as part of its Mardi's music movies program by April 18 which surely will cover fans' disappointment upon his cancellation to make a guest appearance on this season's 'American Idol.'

Named after the jazz band his parents joined at the time, Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota to John L. Nelson and Mattie Shaw. His childhood was passed somewhat bitterly as the little boy had to face the divorce of his father and mother by 1965 following their relationship that had gradually soured not long after the birth of his sister, Tika Evene, in 1960. Worse, Mattie's decision to marry again in 1968 did not make life easier to undergo for him since he never got along with his stepfather, Hayward Baker, who subsequently became the kid's main reason to run away from home. Seeking for refuge in John's residence, it was during this time that he began to spark an interest in music upon being given a guitar by the older man.

In his effort to find a medium to develop his musical skills, Prince then joined his cousin, Charles Smith, in a band called Grand Central alongside Morris Day, Andre Anderson and his sister, Linda, the latter two being the children of a family which had taken him under their wing when he left his father. Formed in junior high school, Grand Central delightfully turned to be such an effective tool for the brown-eyed teen to hone his craft while broadened his knowledge about music, thanks to its mentor and manager Pepe Willie, a musician married to one of his older cousin. With this progress, he gradually became the band's frontman, even helped switching the troupe's focus from performing cover songs to self-written materials, evolving Grand Central into Champagne by the time he entered his hometown's Central High School.

Feeling that it was time for him to aim higher, this gifted guy afterwards put full concentration to land a proper deal from music label and so started to make a demo tape in 1976 helped by a sound engineer named Chris Moon who later brought the work to Owen Husney, a Minneapolis businessman. Deeply impressed by Prince's talent, Husney eagerly put up his money to establish a management company called American Artist through which he ran a campaign promoting the young man as a star of the future to finally find him a lavish contract with Warner Brothers Records in 1977. Granted a privilege to produce as well as to hold creative control of his own songs, he immediately set out to work on his materials and comprised them in his first major effort, 'For You', released on April 7, 1978.

Though managed to spawn a hit track of 'Soft and Wet' which took the 12th position on Billboard R&B chart, 'For You' only received lukewarm response from music listeners, provoking Prince to strive harder for better result in his next project. Putting more energy and skills, his dedication satisfyingly did not turn in vain when his second offering of an eponymous album made its way to the top 3 of the chart while generated a #1 Billboard R&B Singles hit, 'I Wanna Be Your Lover', in 1979. Sold over 1 million copies, it wonderfully led him to receive his first Platinum and undoubtedly to public attention that grew larger after he came up with his third album, 'Dirty Mind', by October 1980, partly because the work fully consolidated his reputation of being a controversial figure judging from the sexually explicit contents he presented, not to mention his provocative attire and action when performing onstage.

It was not until Prince launched '1999' on October 28, 1982 that he ultimately embraced the widespread recognition he had long waited since the beginning of his career. A 2-LP set, the album satisfyingly displayed the longish, danceable tracks appealed to disco and new-wave fans alike to garner huge praise from the critics, including Rolling Stone editor Kurt Loder, so that it was not surprising to see the record becoming such an excellent output for the artist. Strongly backed up by its popular songs of "Little Red Corvette" and 'Delirious' which both took place in the top 10 of Billboard Pop Singles, it soared to be certified three times Platinum, unmistakably boosting the singer's status to the top, especially after the music video of "Little Red Corvette" emerged into MTV and broke the white-act domination on the network.

The attainment amazingly still continued in 1984 when '1999' gloriously led Prince to earn two nominations for Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Album categories at American Music Awards, and more importantly, his first Grammy Award nomination of Best R&B Vocal Performance ' Male through its track, 'International Lover.' This string of success went uninterrupted for the rest of the year when he again achieved tremendous result with the soundtrack album of his feature film debut, 'Purple Rain.' While the picture was critically panned despite its great domestic gross of $80 million, the soundtrack's result was phenomenal for not only it generated two #1 Billboard Hot 100 songs entitled 'When Doves Cry' and 'Let's Go Crazy', but also received 13 times Platinum eventually, solidifying him as one of the influential artists of the 80s.

Also magnificently topped 2 U.S. charts of The Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, 'Purple Rain' soundtrack did not cease bringing Prince more honors as he superbly won 3 out of 10 American Award nominations then 2 Grammy Awards in 1985 before obtained an Oscar for Best Original Song Score at the 57th Academy Awards by March. Kept maintaining his productivity, this dark-haired guy spent the latter half of 1980s brilliantly, creating success after success continuously through his next efforts, 'Around the World in a Day' (1985), 'Parade' (1986), 'Sign 'O' The Times' (1987), 'Lovesexy' (1988), and 'Batman' album soundtrack (1989) while adding 5 other Grammy nominations to his awards' collection throughout. The numbers quickly expanded into nine by early 1990 for his outstanding effort in the latter work which previously had secured the number one spot on The Billboard 200.

Sadly, the golden age of Prince started to experience its dark period when he and Warner Brothers Records had a clash in 1994 during the negotiations regarding the release of album 'Gold Experience', later launched in 1995, thus ignited the fierce battle between both sides over artistic and financial control of the singer's works. In his protest, he, who at that time went under the moniker of O(+> which media pronounced as 'the artist formerly known as Prince' or TAFKAP, boldly appeared in public with the word 'Slave' written on his cheek as if to remind people of his statement describing himself becoming a pawn used to produce more money for the company. Even so, the collaboration still went on only to fulfill the terms of his contract and a final album under the label entitled 'Chaos and Disorder' subsequently was released in July 1996.

Following his departure from Warner Brothers, TAFKAP confidently continued his path in music industry through NPG Records, his own imprint formed since 1993, producing a series of albums, namely 'Emancipation' (1996), 'Crystal Ball' (1997), and 'Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic' (1999) which all merely encountered fair result in sales also Billboard charts if compared to his accomplishment back in the 80s. This later evoked the singer to rather focus his concentration on the core fans that still loyally supported him by the turn the 21st century, not long after he celebrated the reinstitution of his original name with throwing 'The Very Best of Prince' into the market in July 2001. It was materialized in the establishment of an Internet subscription service,, in which he primarily put his next works like 'One Nite Alone'' (2002) and 'Xpectation' (2003) though there were several of them launched for the general public consumption, such as 'N.E.W.S' (2003).

Much to Prince's delight, things turned to run better for him in 2004 as he found himself to once more receive a Grammy nomination, this time in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album for 'N.E.W.S', while also being inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in March. Looking on this good progress, he optimistically joined Columbia Records to then release his subsequent album, 'Musicology', on April 20, 2004 and instantly saw a great outcome for it fabulously reached Gold within a month and eventually garnered double Platinum in 2005 after breaking to the top 3 of The Billboard 200. What's more, it surprisingly directed him to secure 5 nominations at the year's Grammy Awards, later brought home 2 awards for winning the categories of Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance also Best R&B Vocal Performance ' Male.

Unmistakably propelled back to the spotlight, Prince smoothly proceeded to maintain his position in mainstream music scene with the arrival of '3121' by March 21, 2006, his first album in 17 years to score number one on both The Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album charts. Featuring catchy tunes of 'Te Amo Corazon' plus 'Black Sweat,' this piece of work really brought the artist back to his old glorious days when it satisfyingly sold for more than 183,000 copies in its first week of release. Just when people expected him to go hiatus again, Prince proved it wrong with the release of double CD 'Ultimate' in August 2006, just five months away from '3121'. Indeed, he was in full mood to enhance his career that he opened a nightclub named 3121 whereby he performed every Friday of Saturday nights. Off his solo career, he wrote a score for animated film 'Happy Feet' titled 'Song of the Heart'. This same song gained him a Golden Globe for Best Original Song which ironically its acceptance he missed due to a traffic jam upon arriving in the venue.

Apart from his career in music industry, Prince once developed another profession as an actor in the 1980s and the first half of 1990s, appearing in a few big screen productions of 'Under the Cherry Moon' (1986), 'Graffiti Bridge' (1990), and '3 Chains o' Gold' (1994) following his 1984 film debut. Not only acted, he also handled the direction, writing, and songs composition of all those movies, but the cinematic results were below everyone's expectation for they distressingly encountered public indifference along with critical derision. However, the man is truly a very gifted composer as he frequently helped launching other music artists' career through his works for them, notably The Bangles, Sinead O'Connor, plus Martika among others. Also an owner of recording studio named Paisley Park, which was built in his hometown by 1987, he is known to have various monikers throughout his career, using such names like Camille, Spookyelectric, The Kid, and Jamie Starr.

Concerning his private life, Prince has been spotted to date several famous women that included Kim Basinger, Sheena Easton, and Sherilyn Fenn, before decided to marry Mayte Jannell Garcia on February 14, 1996 at a Minneapolis church. Later welcomed their son, Gregory, on October 16 of the same year, the couple was forced to face such a painful reality that their baby suffered a rare skeletal abnormality called Pfeiffer's syndrome which ultimately took his life by the following week. Less than 3 years after the happening, the guy shockingly announced the annulment of his marriage to Garcia that was finalized exactly on their 3rd wedding anniversary. Quickly flourished a new love in his Paisley Park employee, Manuela Testolini, he then happily held his second marriage with her on New Year's Eve of 2001 in Hawaii. Sadly, the knot only lasted for about five years as in July 2006 Testolini filed for divorce while remained tight-lipped about the reason behind.

The divorce came in the same period when he was working on 'Planet Earth', his latest album out on July 24, 2007. This record saw him reuniting with old label Columbia that successfully distributed his albums since 'Musicology' (2004). Along with the anticipation of the release, Prince geared a tour in London which he claimed to be his only performance in Europe before going away to study bible. It was at this point that Prince sparked controversy regarding the distribution of his new album. "Planet Earth" was heavily promoted through free giveaways. It first came as an additional item if fans buy his "3121" perfume at Macy's, but the worst was still to come. In June 2007 U.K. national paper, The Mail on Sunday announced that they have tied a deal with Prince to made "Planet Earth" available with the purchase of the newspaper that only cost $2.80 per set. Music moguls quickly turned angry at the decision for fear that the literally free album will damage the music industry in U.K. that has suffered a constant decline of record sales at that time. Even Prince's local label Sony BMG had decided to pull out their distribution in U.K. due to this. Many believe that Prince's decision to release the album with the newspaper is because he relies the income not on record sales but from his tours.

Following "Planet Earth", Prince released "Lotusflow3r / MPLSound" in 2009 and "20Ten" in 2010 before returning with two albums that he dropped simultaneously in 2014. The two records were a solo set called "ART OFFICIAL AGE" and a collaborative effort with his backing band 3RD EYE GIRL titled "PLECTRUMELECTRUM". The two album peaked within the top 10 on Billboard 200.

That year, Prince also announced that he had re-signed with his former label, Warner Bros. Records, after an 18-year split. Warner announced that Prince would release a remastered deluxe edition of his 1984 album "Purple Rain" later in the year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the breakthrough album.

In May 2015, Prince released a song entitled "Baltimore" following the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent riots in Baltimore. To honor Gray, he also held a surprise tribute concert at his Paisley Park estate called "Dance Rally 4 Peace." Prince's "Baltimore" song and "Rally 4 Peace" event were streamed by Tidal. Also in partnership with the Jay-Z-owned streaming service, he would release a new album called "HITNRUN (Phase One)" on September 7 exclusively on Tidal before making it available on CD on September 15.