Prince, one of music’s most fascinating artists, recently sat down with Billboard magazine to discuss his new music and his battle to gain ownership of his songs.
One thing you may not have known about Prince is that he’s extremely secretive, so it must have been very difficult for Gail Mitchell, the writer of the Billboard cover story to get so much information.
Here’s an excerpt from her story:
I begin wondering how much of that we’ll get to when I get word from Prince’s manager, Julia Ramadan, that I should spend what little time I have to prepare by watching “The Adjustment Bureau” (more on this later), reading the Twitter feed of an apparent (and mysterious) Prince bootlegger and watching an online video discussion between a Prince superfan and the blogger Dr. Funkenberry. And now I’m worried that the interview I’ve come here for may not happen at all.
One thing you learn quickly about Prince: He doesn’t suffer fools or folks who don’t know what they’re talking about. For the next three hours, we ricochet back and forth on a variety of topics. Later, back at my hotel, I’ll be re-creating our conversation from memory. This is how Prince interviews have unfolded for many years. He remains adamant about not allowing reporters to record their conversations with him. (“Some in the past have taken my voice and sold it,” he says. “I can’t remember the incident that triggered it and it’s probably best that I don’t.”) And he still frowns at the idea of a reporter taking notes. (“That would be just like texting.”)
Later on, I will watch Prince audition a drummer. Right now, I’m involved in an audition of my own. “Let’s talk a little,” Prince says as I follow him into a second-floor conference room, “and see if we vibe first.” Without missing a beat and keeping steady eye contact, he makes a few comments about media ownership and control, then shoots out a question. How would I get the word out about, and then monetize a lyric video for, one of his new songs, “Screw Driver,” that I’d been shown a few minutes earlier? I tell him an online post will generate enough interest to get us to monetization-given the fan clamor for new Prince music, there’s a community ready to pay a nominal price to get their hands on said track. Nothing revolutionary, but Prince pauses and thinks it over. I think I may have passed the audition.
Who knew interviewing Prince could be so arduous?
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