I saw him perform live three times. That's as close as I ever came to meeting the guy, but he was still tremendously influential to me.
Over the years, I've encountered a lot of people who didn't understand. "You?? Seriously? Why are you a Prince fan?!?"
He was innovative, imaginative and fiercely, defiantly independent. He did what he wanted to do and didn't allow those who didn't share his vision to hold him back. Things didn't always work out but he refused to let others define what was a success or failure and didn't let the outcome either way restrict him in future endeavors. He believed in himself. A lot of people saw that as undue arrogance, but he had the talent and ability to back it all up. If somebody couldn't or wouldn't participate at his level, they could see their way out and he would do their part himself. He simply refused to deviate from the way he wanted things done for the sake of compromise.
I never dressed (or danced) like him or even know how to play music, but how does anybody who considers themselves in any way to be creative not draw inspiration from someone like that? There are other people like that out there. Not many, but some. Prince was my guy though. He spoke to me through his work. Without following his example, it's safe to say that I never write this blog or publish a book (there's a reason both of those are purple) or ever get up in front of a crowd to tell jokes. He made me want to be better.
I've never needed someone else to write a status update for me on Facebook, but my friend Jim Choquette posted this earlier:
"Prince taught me that it's ok to not conform. Who's going to carry that torch now...It was perfect so I copied it and added this:
I dont often apologize, but Im feeling extremely humbled today. I can be a real pill at times. If I've ever been a complete dick to you, I'm sorry.
Chances are, it was me - not you. I never meant to cause you any sorrow...."
"Yes, exactly. Same goes for me. Every word of this."And so now, how does one honor the legacy of someone they considered a leader? Well, JB Ball, another friend, posted the following, also earlier today:
"Don't stop grinding you guys. Don't stop critiquing yourself HONESTLY. Don't be afraid to take chances. I know this message can be perceived as corny but who cares. Do this and you'll be headed in the direction you want."I don't even know if this was inspired by the sad events of today but it's really good advice and totally appropriate.