Oh yeah, it’s Prince, y’all!
So, I have a running list of celebrities that I’d like to speak with, and for me, this isn’t so much a to do list, as a suggestion. I keep the list based on reader’s suggestions, and based on personal interest. But honestly, it’s really up to them. Which one of them wants to speak?
As a rule, I like to wait at least a year after death. I don’t want to hop of the celeb-psychic bandwagon of taking advantage of media hype. Prince, though, well, this this just kind of happened. Which is the best way, really.
I’ll preface this to say, I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m really not that familiar with Prince’s work. Yes, he’s ubiquitous. I’ve certainly heard his music. But he’s not the icon for me the way he was and is for so many others – and the grief that’s surrounding his death is audible and palpable when I turn my attention to his photos on facebook. Great musicians don’t just make music, they help people understand and love themselves. People love Prince for this.
I was in the car, listening to a podcast host talk about Prince and how much he meant to her, how she cried for two days after his death, and how his music helped her. Suddenly, there he was, right there and available, just as though I was on a phone call with his podcast host and she was asking me to tune into a loved one, someone she shared a connection with, and there was Prince, so accessible and happy to talk to me.
So of course, I had to follow that up. The first thing he said to me, in his small, soft voice with this unusual cadence, almost like he is turning his lips around the words differently than most people, like he needs to be careful to speak softly because every part of him wants to be ecstatically loud so he has to exert effort to be quiet: Hello (smile) You know, I just love psychics. I used to go to séances in the 80s and spoke to Marilyn Monroe! You should really talk to her, she’s just an incredible woman. I love her.
This, I think, is the beauty of Prince. He’s like, “Hey, we have this thing in common, let’s not make it about me, let’s talk about this other icon.”
So here we go, picking up where we left off:
K: What did Marilyn say?
P: (smile in a mischievous, secretive way, turns his head away from me a bit so he looks at me out of the corner of his eye) She said she loved our energy! She warmed up the room, we checked the candles, because the room was getting’ all heated and sweaty you know, like that. (Gives me the feeling of a flush, and the desire to take a deep breath.) I loved séances, back in the day. They fell out of fashion for a while, it used to be this fun thing you could do at parties.
I never had questions to ask Marilyn or any of the others, either, I just wanted to feel them in the room with us. I heard their energy, like music, you know. Everything around me in a séance was like watching coloured lights, like being high, in a way, high on the afterlife! (chuckle / giggle)
K: Thanks for talking to me,
P: Thanks for talking to me! I like to talk to everyone – I want to inspire as many people as possible. All of them. You know I checked our Michael first thing, right? And all the others. It’s funny how they all accept me, and I still feel separate from them all. I guess I’m just the beautiful mythical creature in heaven! One of a kind – I always knew I was!
K: Is that what you like to teach? I have a lot of questions, I’ll try and ask them all at once, and you can answer them in whatever order you want.
P: That’s the beauty of telepathic communication! Okay, you go now.
P: Okay, I will answer your questions in reverse order, because I enjoy symmetry. No I did not die by accident, it was my time. I felt called to go, and I left in peace. I know this is very hard on my family, and they will keep my memory alive. (Sister – he sends so much love to his sister.)
K: I just need to pause while I look up if I got sister right.
P: You got it right, my sister and I are very close. Okay, you ready to continue?
I lived a magical life. My life was a miracle, and full of miracles. I was amazed that I was allowed to live as long as I lived, and I’m so happy that I didn’t have the fear when I was younger, in my 20’s. I see that fear in so many people, fear of that would happen to them if they said how they were really feeling. So I said it for them, and I think that’s why they love me.
K: (my eyes are tearing up, because his love is so strong.)
P: You ask if I accomplished what I wanted to with my life, and I ask you, what is an accomplishment? What is a goal? (Gives me the feeling of euphoria) That was my goal! I wanted that for every one – for everyone to feel loved and happy, and to at least know they can get there. My music was about giving others the key to that feeling – of feeling okay, and happy, and delicious, sexifying glorious beast of themselves! Unhindered, you know? Humanity, unshackled.
If we’re all busy being our most beautiful selves, people don’t really hurt each other, or themselves. Hardly at all. You forgive, when you’re in that state. I struggled to understand unhappy people. I felt like, people just need permission to go do what makes them real! That’s all of my work, all of my art, telling people and SHOWING THEM, life is beautiful when there are no rules.
K: That’s really beautiful. That state of euphoria, it’s almost orgasmic.
P: It is orgasmic – without the coital (raises his eyebrow, and his mouth makes a flirty smile). It’s sexual potential, to be sexual is to be uninhibited – and to be uninhibited creates happiness, art, humanity, beauty.
I think the hardest thing about being alive, for me, was to see other people suffer. I especially hated to see my sister or my mother cry. I wanted to fix it for them, so when I was small, I could play them a song, be silly, get them to feeling happy again. That’s what showed me the transformative / transmutive power of music and art. Uncompromising art. It moved people, and it can move others from a place of unhappiness, to okayness. Music heals. I wanted to heal the whole world, and in the 80s, I believed that I could.
K: Did that change over time? Did you get discouraged?
P: (Soft laugh, self-deprecating) No, I never stopped trying to heal the world! As I got older I started to believe that the world’s problems were too big for me. I always was a Peter Pan, I didn’t want to grow up. Adulthood will come and getcha! My sister was always telling me I needed to take better care of things, adult things, financial things – I preferred to leave all that to her and to people I trusted to oversee.
I think, I felt it was time for me to go, and that I would go when I could. I felt like I had done enough in the world, and my records could play my songs better than I could. I felt my energy waning, my mortality catching up with me. And I missed being young. I felt tired. It was my decision, and I hope you can respect that.
K: Sure, we don’t even have to talk about it if you would rather talk about something else. I’m up for any conversation.
P: I felt like I should die while we still had a black president! I don’t want to see the outcome of this race!
K: Not what I was expecting! Do you care this deeply about politics?
P: ART IS POLITICS. Art in pure form is always a political act. (Shows me himself, divided in half, a masculine version with dark features on his left side, a fairer feminine version of himself on the right side, as though he were split right down the middle.) Showing both sides of myself was always a political act. My mama always told me to be careful with the girly stuff, she loves me, she was so worried for me. My father would try to do boy things with me, baseball and all that, but he accepted me, loved me, and I could tell he was worried for me.
(smiles, reminiscent.) When I was a child, I didn’t see any of those differences, and I feel like so much of my life, and my art, is helping the child in me find the child in you, that we’re all just playing this game and making up the rules, so why not include everyone? I didn’t feel the need to change, I wasn’t going to ask anyone else to change! I knew I was loved and worthy of love. I also knew that other people didn’t feel that way, they didn’t have a mama and a papa to love them like I did.
I wanted my music to MAKE them feel that love, and know it’s out there for them. It still is! I haven’t changed! Just left my body! My wardrobe is better than ever! Gravity is such a downer, look at this fabulousness! (Shows me he’s wearing a – okay, this is complex so I’ll describe it top down.
He’s wearing an exaggerated flock of seagulls hair style, (Call them Elvis curls, girl.) Elvis curls, then. Gerry Curls on the sides, he’s showing me. He’s got a thin beard that travels along his jar line, then jumps up to join a thin moustache, nothing on his chin. He has a thin, straight nose, a beauty mark on his cheek that sparkles (Like Marilyn!) and he has heavy, beautiful thick eye lashes, liner, purple eye shadow that shimmers, and his skin shimmers with a bronze sparkle. Moving down to his throat, he has a lovely warm body smell, a mix of an aftershave that seems familiar and a warm clean body smell under it. He’s wearing a black tie tuxedo – but wait, let me describe it before you picture it.
The tux part is only the top half of his outfit. He has a waist, like he’s wearing an extra-tight cummerbund or maybe a corset under it. It nips in at the waist, and is quite tight, but he’s showing me he can breathe. His shirt is buttoned tightly and instead of being white, is a pale pink, with gold buttons, and there are red sparkly rubies or other bright red stone set into the buttons on his sleeves.
The jacket part of the tux is, of course, purple. A soft lilac, complimentary to the shirt, thick brocade / silk, just luxurious and rustly. Very warm. It has long tails – and here’s the part where gravity takes a role.
You make your own gravity. So the tails of the tux are floating out behind him like he’s floating in water – or just the outfit itself is defying gravity, because his body looks like he’s standing, not floating.
Under the formal jacket, where the waist nips in, a skirt begins. It’s a glorious skirt, full length, with pointed shoes showing from under it. The skirt doesn’t seem to be defying gravity as easily as the jacket. The skirt is iridescent, it’s hard to describe it as a colour, and it’s hard to even describe it as a skirt – because it’s not something that looks out of place at all – it’s gives the sense of being heavy and luxurious, but you’re aware of his body underneath it. I can’t even decide if the skirt is embroidered or not, it’s always moving and shifting.
The effect is very beautiful.
P: This will be my next album cover!
K: Did I describe it well enough? Anything you want to add?
P: Just that I look gorgeous in it!
K: You do!
P: I remember when Kurt Cobain wore that shift dress thang. I loved it! (Perplexed feeling, like “why does he want to look ugly?” but non-judgmental, just curious and empathetic.)
I thought that, I was coming at it (art/creation/music) from this angle (beauty, joy, passion, ecstasy, romantic pain) and he (Kurt) was coming at it from underneath. (Anger, hopeless pain, skepticism). I listened to his music, and it made me feel sad. I always respected him as an artist.
K: Yeah, the heartbreak over your death reminds me of the mourning after Kurt’s death. And Michael Jackson’s too.
P: (his face seems to widen, his cheeks get a bit larger as he smiles, and I’m to understand he looks more like his mother) Don’t be saaaaad I’m gone, children! You have Mama Beyonce! Ain’t she just fabulous right now? Oh, I’m so proud of her! There are so many right now – Gaga, you know. There are many you don’t know, girl (to me) you need to get out there more!
It was just my time to go home. We all know when it’s out time.
K: I believe it. Did you always know you’d be a famous artist?
P: I always knew that if I just did the things my body and my soul wanted to do, that God would look after me and everything else would take care of itself. It was more than that, I had to stay true to myself. You’re asking me if that was my greatest challenge, and I have to say, it was never really a challenge for me, in the way that you’re asking me.
I knew that it was my job to follow the breadcrumbs. Like I was some kind of dormouse, I only had to see the next crumb. When I was a little child, it was making my family around me happy. It was making myself happy too, and every child should have the opportunities to make themselves happy.
When I started to grow – I’m not going to say “Grow up” I’ll say “Grow out!” like hair, you know! When I started to grow out, and I found that there were certain aspects of myself, which did not conform with the expectations of others. I did not conform to the image of a black man. I could not be a black man, in this way. I would fail at being that kind of black man, and so, there was no one to be but myself.
I have to thank my family, for loving me, unconditionally. I didn’t need the love or approval of anyone else. I had my family. When I picked up, I was about three years old. I loved it, and my mother thought I was just the light of her life! My sister then would say I was stupid, but even then, she’d listen to me! I could change the room, and I loved making music. It was a better way to communicate.
(What he picked up, he shows me a miniature guitar, a ukulele maybe? According to the internet, his first song was written on a piano at age seven.)
As a child, I felt a bit, unheard. All children feel unheard. I’d shout at the top of my lungs, and I’d get told, “Stop shoutin’!” But if you were SINGING! That was shoutin’ people loved to hear. So I learned to sing. Not only do people like to hear you when you sing, but they stop what they’re doing and listen with a part of themselves that they don’t even listen to themselves! Do you get what I’m saying?
K: Yeah, I understand, they’re setting aside everything they’re thinking about. They stop thinking and listen to you completely.
P: They listen with their soul. And I liked that, singing for a person’s soul. My mama’s soul. My aunties and sisters and cousins. I liked performing too, at the church. I would ask my mother, “Mama, can I play music at the ____?” She would always say yes! I think she was my first agent! She would explain to me that I had to share the stage with other kids, so they could feel good playing to their parents too.
K: Did you know then you wanted the stage to yourself?
P: (Tilts head to the side, like he’s holding in a laugh) Yes, I believe I always wanted that stage to myself! I wanted to be heard! Oh, you understand my first songs were truly terrible, right??? I wrote some HORRIBLE love songs! (Shows me himself, surrounded by a group of close women friends, everyone just busting a gut over the lyrics of some of these old songs.) They were *poetry* back then! I didn’t mind though, I paid them no mind!
K: I understand you had to put up a fight with some record producers early in your career? You turned down some deals because –
P: Because I didn’t want to produce Pop Garbage! That was a garbage deal, and I was a bit dramatic about it. The music inside me was like a fire, and I was the dragon. I had to be a dragon, you couldn’t dress a dragon up, and make him pretend to be something less amazing, less beautiful, than what he already was! I wasn’t going to do a deal on those terms. I had all this energy, the fierceness and the fire – those were fighting years for me. I missed the energy of those days.
You know, me and Michael, we had a lot in common. We were both sent down, around the same time, to do similar things. And we went about it in similar ways. We are brothers in song. But Michael, he had it harder than me. That’s all I’m going to say about his life, he can speak for himself. We came to similar ends – we started to feel so tired, and felt the life force that used to fuel and overwhelm us, retreat back into heaven, and ask us to follow.
Hey! (excited, switches gears) I talked to these two girls through their Ouija board! (Not young girls, she’s showing me they have drinks, but he’s saying girls because they’re giggling, they’ve known each other since childhood and revert a bit to their childhood state when they’re together.) I think I scared them a little! Hey girls! Shout out to you, boo!
K: Did you always feel different?
P: Yeah, I was obviously different as I grew out. I learned to talk like this, with my inside voice, and I embraced the part of me that becomes a woman at times. I never rejected my masculine side though, I loved that part of myself too, just as much. David Bowie? He got it from me! I teased him a bit about it when I got here, of course, it is an artist’s greatest flattery to see their work stolen! The 80’s was a new sexual rebellion, and there was the HIV / AIDS epidemic. It was a dangerous time to be a male who looked like a female. David and I, we were on the same side.
(I asked if they ever played a concert together, and got a yes – with a qualifier from Prince. As though, yes, they were in the same place at the same time, not on the same stage. I googled “Did David Bowie and Prince play together?” And didn’t come up with anything obvious, so I won’t pursue that question.)
K: So, was there any one thing you wanted to say with your music? Is it too many to mention?
P: It’s a good question, I think most artists have the same point of view influencing all of their work. I would say different things with different collections. Touring would have a theme. It’s a shame you never saw me in concert, friend, I was (incredible / fabulous / amazing / the best!) I understand why you don’t like crowded spaces, you can see it later!
Overall, the work of my life has been: push limits. Push on those limits that hold you back, and grow out. Grow out, grow up or down or sideways, it’s all beautiful. We are all beautiful, we can learn to see the beauty in each other. We can feel the ecstacy of touch, love, understanding and acceptance. All my life, all of my work has been showing this in different ways, to different people. At one point, my dream was to make a song for everyone – so that every person on earth could find a song that I created that spoke to them, so that they would know they are beautiful and loved.
K: Did you do it?
P: Only time will tell.