Prince: Friends tell their stories about the late music icon

Prince, the late music icon, may be dead but he lives in our memories. A lot of stories have been told about this man – some quite interesting ones and others that are really weird.

The legend spoke with Carol Cooper way back in June, 1983, while answering a question on whether white people understand his art.

In his words: “No, of course they don’t. How many black people understand? White people are very good at categorizing things – and if you tell them anything they’ll remember it, write books about it. But understand? You have to live a life to understand it. Tourists just pass through.”

Prince loved people, and did his best to serve humanity. The musician said in an interview with NME, according to a report from the Guardian: “People fascinate me. They’re amazing! Life fascinates me! And I’m no more fascinated by my own life than by anyone else’s.”

It’s true that almost everyone has a Prince story.

He was a legend, a virtuoso, one of the true gods of music. But he was also (at times, anyway) a person in the world like anyone else. He liked to send goofy Internet memes to his friends. He made really good scrambled eggs – GQ Magazine.

Here’s a compilation of testimonies from those who knew him:

Corey Tollefson (Minneapolis-based entrepreneur and fan; attended events at Paisley Park for over 20 years): The thing that was funny was you never saw Prince [first], you smelled him. He always smelled like lavender. And you knew when he was there because you’d turn around and go, “Holy shit, I smell Prince.” And then, ten seconds later, you’d see him.

Kandace Springs (singer; befriended by Prince via Twitter after he discovered her cover of a Sam Smith song online in 2014): He smelled like lavender. Dude, I’m not even kidding you. Overtime. My sister burns lavender in my house and I’m, “Oh God, it smells like Paisley Park.” That’s Prince.

Maya Washington (photographer; befriended by Prince after he discovered her online in 2014): Before you meet him, you have the idea of him being this thing:He’s untouchable, he’s a unicorn, he’s a meta-planet. So the first thing I was taken aback by, and a lot of people are taken aback by, is his size. Because I’m short, I’m five three…and he’s shorter than me. But, that aside, he is a unicorn. He’s somehowfloating when he’s talking.

Morris Hayes (keyboard player; Prince’s longest-serving band member, 1992–2012): I remember taking him to the hardware store in my camping van. He wanted to go buy a lock. And we go to Ace Hardware—it’s snowing and freezing—and I say, “Okay, Prince, you stay in the car.” So I’m picking stuff up in the aisles, I look over, he just cruises by in a turtleneck sweater and his fuzzy boots, and people are looking like, “Oh my God, Prince is in the hardware store!” He comes and finds me and he’s got a handful of crap—like, “Can we buy this?” I’m, “What did you do with the car?” He says, “It’s out there—it’s just running.” I said, “Prince, you can’t leave the car running—somebody could just steal the car.” He said, “This is Chanhassen—nobody’s gonna steal the car.” So we get out to the car and sure enough it’s out there, just running, smoke coming out of the tailpipe. And he’s like, “I told you.”

Carmen Electra (dancer and singer; discovered by Prince in 1991): He never slept—he couldn’t sleep. I would wake up alone: Where’d he go? And his housekeeper said, “He’s in the studio.” Or he would leave the sweetest little notes on the stairs that would say: “Had to work! Couldn’t sleep. Come see me.”

Springs: I saw his room and all that. His room was so small compared with everything I saw. You’d never expect him to live there. It was kinda homey—he had this little queen-size bed, and a huge-ass TV, like a 52-inch flatscreen. He had a little private bathroom right there, a big-ass bathtub in there, and fake palm trees and a tan-colored floor—doing a little beach look. I saw his bathroom because I left my hair dryer at the hotel and I needed to do my Afro for the show, and he let me use his hair dryer.

Misty Copeland (principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre; appeared in a Prince video and live performances): He never called from a number you’d recognize, so you’d never know it was going to be him. Loved to speak in different accents—British and French…everything. Sometimes I’d be, “Who is this?” It would go on for a while, and then finally he’d laugh and it would be him.

Van Jones: (political activist; met Prince after he tried to make a sizable donation to Jones’s charitable organization anonymously): He always said the same thing whenever he was getting on the phone: “This is Prince.” Not “How are you doing?” Not “What’s up?” Kind of low: “This is Prince.”

Gwen Stefani: The first time I met him, this is my memory: He was wearing an all-purple velour jumpsuit with the collar that goes up, kinda like an Elvis jumpsuit. And high heels and makeup. He was such a cool, amazing guy that just never turned off. Like, he really was living that version of what you think he was—that was him.

Copeland: Yeah, he has made me scrambled eggs. Breakfast was his forte. He liked to use a lot of seasoning. Like Lawry’s, or one of those all-purpose seasonings. They were delicious.

As you would expect, the legend had something to say about himself, too.

“When people say about me that I live in a prison and don’t go anywhere, it’s just not true. I go to the store, I go to the video store, I go to ballets, movies, the park. I live like anybody else. But I play music every day.” — Prince, 1996

“Really, I’m normal. A little highly strung, maybe. But normal. But so much has been written about me and people never know what’s right and what’s wrong. I’d rather let them stay confused.” — Prince, 2004

In the 57 years he spent here on earth, his royal purpleness left behind many funny stories. The man who said he didn’t believe in time, was not only a true comedian but a teacher of good things. He schooled most of the world’s celebrated artists.

Most celebrities learnt ping-pong from him, reports confirm.

Prince literally painted the world with purple. Yet he didn’t think much about himself as a famous person.

“Your magazine probably won’t print this,” Prince told a news outlet in response to a question about his youthful appearance, “but I don’t believe in time. I don’t count. When you count, it ages you.”

Prince wasn’t a homosexual as many thought. He once fired a crew member for making eye contact with him.

“No crew members were allowed to look at him or talk to him. I literally saw him fire a guy for looking at him. He just said, ‘Why is that guy looking at me? Tell him to leave,'” one of the singer’s employee revealed.

Prince never cried since he was a child.

Reports confirm that when he was a boy, Prince’s jazz-musician father threw him out of the house. The young boy cried in a phone booth for two hours, according to a 1991 report from GQ. After that incident, he claimed it was the last time he ever shed tears.

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