Prince: The Loss of an Icon

This is probably the most difficult blog post I've ever written and I still don't want to believe it's true.

I was standing in New Look, trying on a skirt, when I read that Prince had passed away. I was confused at first and thought it may have been a hoax. As soon as I saw it confirmed by the Associated Press, I knew it was true.

From that moment, I haven't really felt the same. I managed to more or less hold it together, whilst we finished our shopping. It hadn't sunk in yet. I posted a picture on Instagram but managed to avoid most of the tributes online. When I pulled up at home, 'Sometimes It Snows in April' (from the Parade album) came on the radio. I listened to it in its entirety and then sobbed. When I got inside, I cried some more.

I always knew that this day would come but it really does feel as though the world is in mourning and I never thought that it would be so soon. I've certainly never had such a heavy heart, over the death of a celebrity. I can usually detach myself but this was different.

My phone blew up with notifications of friends and family asking if I was okay and I guess that shows just how much a) they care and b) how obvious it was that I was a huge fan of Prince.

My love affair with his music started when I was young, not even six years old. I had Purple Rain on video and would watch that and Michael Jackson's Dangerous over and over again. I was a fan of MJ too. I still am but Prince is the one who really captivated me.

I remember one summer, I sat up in my room and watched Purple Rain non-stop. I watched it until the TV broke and then I watched it some more. Maybe my parents thought it was a phase but 15 years later, I know almost every word of dialogue. I've played the album more times than I can count.

But this post isn't just about Purple Rain. There was so much more to him than that. He was a master musician. Every musician, famous or otherwise, worth their salt will acknowledge that. He played many many instruments and each one to an astonishingly high level.

No matter my age, there's been a little bit of Prince peppered throughout my life. Thinking about it, I was probably exposed to slightly more adult themes than I should have been, listening to him but it's done me no harm.

Many people look at their heroes and want to emulate them. In some respects, Prince had that effect on me but more than anything, he inspired me to be more of myself. This was a man who broke down barriers in every way possible. He was androgynous. He was unapologetically sexual but juxtaposed it with at times, deeply religious lyrical content. The line between the two was often blurred but the ever-present motif of his work was Love; in its deepest and purest form. He wrote songs that explored every human emotion. He was a perfectionist, a workaholic and a visionary.

Some of my collection 

Heartbreak, elation, celebration, defeat, victory, anger, loss, romance, sex, love, ups, downs, moments of clarity, moments of confusion - his music has been there.

I remember the moment that he announced his 2014 arena tour - his first since 1995. We plotted to get  tickets as soon as they went on sale and by some miracle, between two of us, we got eight tickets. When the night arrived, I took half a day off as annual leave and spent hours getting ready.

That concert was one of the best nights of my life and those memories are even more precious now, knowing that I will never see him play live again. That's the tragedy of it all really; he was active - touring, writing, recording, throwing parties and then all of a sudden, he's gone.

Hearing Purple Rain live was a moment that I had waited years for and as a single tear rolled down my face, I reminded myself that dreams really do come true. Everyone was right about him as a performer - he was incredible. It was effortless. Yes, he was late but I didn't care. I was at a Prince concert. I don't even care that he banned phones. I couldn't take my eyes off him. I danced until my knees hurt. I didn't want that night to end. It's like there was nobody else around me. I don't have a bucket list but if I'd had one, that would have been very near to the top.

The night that I saw my hero in concert

I remember my very first vinyl record. I opened it on Christmas Day 2011. It was the soundtrack to Purple Rain and I cried, when I realised what it was; my favourite album of all time and now I owned it on cassette, CD and vinyl. I was overwhelmed.

I don't know if I'll ever stop feeling sad about this. I don't even care if anyone reads this post. I just knew that I couldn't let his death go by, without sharing what his music meant to me personally. There has been no other artist who I've felt so personally connected to. He truly had a gift and his career, along with the vault of unheard material, locked away at Paisley Park is testament to the fact that there is a gift in all of us and that when we pursue it, we can create something wonderful.

If his life and music taught us anything, it's that you should absolutely be who you are, no matter what people say. Be good; do good. Love God. Work hard. Express yourself. Wear whatever you want to. Stay mysterious.

I'll never party at Paisley Park. I'll never see him play live again. What I do have is 20 years worth of memories, a huge back catalogue to listen to and gratitude towards an artist who truly gave all that he had to give. Music will never ever be the same again. I hope that in some small way, I leave my mark, with my gift, the way that he did.

With a tinge of sadness, 



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