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Illustration: Rob Kelly

Since exploding out of Minneapolis in the early ’80s, Prince has been one of music’s most fascinating artists: creatively restless, always shifting, chameleon-like between musical genres; never still long enough to be either fully understood or pigeonholed; turning up unannounced at tiny clubs and rocking the joint till sun-up; and slaying a Super Bowl crowd and 100 million TV viewers at once. He’s always liked to do everything on his albums — even as he has hired great musicians and engineers to help him realize his vision. And those engineers and musicians understood that once everyone had cleared out of his Paisley Park studio for the night, the Purple One might very well go in alone and put down a new bass line, mess with the panning on that guitar part, maybe track a new backup vocal — or start from scratch because a brilliant new idea had come to this mercurial genius in the dark and quiet after midnight. As he once noted, “If you could go in the studio alone and come out with that, you’d do it every day, wouldn’t you?” Amen.
Blair Jackson, Mix senior editor

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