Yesterday, when I heard the news that Prince had passed, I was in shock. It didn’t seem possible to me. He was so magical on and off the stage, I suppose I thought that even death couldn’t touch him. He always seemed like this musical angel sent from the heavens sent here to dazzle and inspire us with his music.
Since my early 20’s I have spent a lot of time with celebrities, mostly because my best friend is a successful musician and has graciously let me be her side kick for Hollywood parties, awards shows, tours, and television appearances. I’ve met so many incredibly talented artists but the one who always “stood out” was Prince. He was just different. There was always magic in the air when he was in a room and then that magic would become even more powerful once he went on stage.
I’ll never forget the first time I met him. My best friend had invited me and another girlfriend to Vegas to see Prince perform. We were all excited. Prince handled our accommodations and we were staying in a villa with a private pool. During the first day in Vegas while we lounged and relaxed I thought I saw someone from the next villa over poking his head through the bushes. It was Prince! Later that night we were given the best seats in the house for his show. I looked at my best friend and said, “He must have a crush on you because how could we be so lucky to be here right now!”
That first show was mesmerizing. I was completely under his spell. I have never seen anyone like Prince on stage. Everything about his show was electrifying. At one point he came up to us and played his glorious guitar practically straddling our seats. I remember thinking that moment was like an outer body experience. I couldn’t believe it was happening.
The next day we were invited to his villa for dinner. When we walked into his place the first thing I saw was the huge Prince symbol adorning the entryway and gorgeous white piano. He was very polite and quite funny. He asked if I would like a drink and I told him I would have whatever he was having. The next thing I knew I was drinking apple martinis with Prince and talking about religion. He was a devout Jehovahs Witness and brought out some books on the subject and gave them to me. At dinner, we were joined by a couple of his friends. One was Larry Graham from “Sly and the Family Stone.” It was Larry who had introduced Prince to the religion and they were very close. At one point during dinner, Prince dissapeared from the room and began playing the huge, white piano. It was a surreal night.
As time went by, my best friend and Prince formed a close, platonic friendship. Whenever Prince was in town we would go to one of his shows and then stay out all night long at his after parties which were basically a jam session of ridiculously talented individuals. Spending time with this musical legend always felt like I was on a different planet. Everything about him was other worldly. Most celebrities are just like other people. Yes, they are public figures but they are still humans with problems and insecurities like anyone else. Prince, wasn’t like that, he seemed untouchable.
One time Prince was playing a big show in LA and my best friend asked me to join her. I tried to decline because I was feeling blue. It was the anniversary of my brother’s passing and I didn’t want to see anyone, not even Prince. She persuaded me to get my act together because if we went to the show we could dance, sing and celebrate my brother’s life. She was right so I went. We were given seats right next to the stage. There were so many dancers and musicians on stage is was like watching a perfect musical circus. Near the end of the show Prince invited us up onstage to join him. I will never forget what it felt like to be dancing with abandon on that stage while singing “Let’s go Crazy.” It was bliss to be a part of that energy. Later that night, Prince invited us to his after hours party that always turned into another all night jam session.
Another show I will never forget was when he played a smaller venue right near my home in Orange County. When we arrived Prince had already started his set. I was confused when one of his assistants started leading us to our seats because it was very obvious we were being directed to the stage. We were led to this comfortable sofa that was not only on the stage but was just a few feet from where the band was performing. It was CRAZY. Right in front of me was this musical powerhouse. I spent a lot of that show looking out at the audience because my view was perfect. His fans were so filled with joy it was like they were an extension of his music.
The last time I saw Prince perform was very special. We were in Los Angeles and the show was electrifying as always. After, he invited us to his hotel suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel. When we walked in the suite there were about fifteen people there and a piano in the middle of the room. Many of the people who were there were his backup musicians so it was like an all night sing along. I loved it. The comedian Dave Chappelle was there. He had me laughing so hard my insides ached. Janelle Monae was there looking beautiful and sounding ethereal. I felt so blessed to be in the company of all these incredible artists. At around 4am I told Prince I was tired and that we should leave soon. He looked me dead in the eye and said, “No. You are not leaving until the sun rises.” And so that is what we did. I will remember watching that sunrise with him and his friends for the rest of my life.
It is comforting to me that I can turn on his music and he still seems very much alive to me. And that same music, reminds me of all the crazy times I was lucky enough to spend time with a musical genius who was kind, eccentric, and a musical superhero. Rest in Peace sweet Prince and thank you for the beautiful memories.