Prince asked me 2 write a short note 2 U explaining the new show we plan 2 do 4 the upcoming european tour. Upon reading what I had originally written, I realized that without a full explanation of what’s been going on around here — reading a song list wouldn’t be much help 2 anyone. I asked Prince if I could write a longer letter and he said “cool, as long as U tell the truth.” and so I begin…
Ever since Prince and I walked thru the doors at the end of the “7” video — he has changed. Maybe it was the wonderful effect the children had on all of us, maybe it was the fact that he killed off several images of himself during the video (an act he has yet 2 explain 2 anyone). Maybe it was the trip he made 2 Puerto Rico, all I know is that he’s changed.
I should tell U that I don’t talk 2 Prince much, but he talks 2 me, and I listen. He tells me things I know he tells no other. He says in everyday situations he feels 4bidden 2 talk but compelled 2 sing. I don’t ask what that means, I just listen. And the more I listen, the more he talks. I think deep down he wants 2 talk 2 someone — anyone. And so I listen.
When Prince came back from Puerto Rico he said very simply, “I know what the symbol on the album is now…” And I said, “That’s nice, any chance in heaven of U telling me?” And he said, “No, U’ll find out at the end of Act III.” Act III — being the european tour — brought out the beggar in me. “Please tell me now, I won’t let anyone else know I promise” and he said “Well, I can’t say just yet, but I’ll give U a hint — My name isn’t Prince.” The next strange thing he did was disband the New Power Generation. They’re still friends but now they do music separate from what we did all together as a band. And he’s cool with that. He says being a part of the New Power means 2 be “free” completely.
The NPG’s music is still positive but there’s so much of it that doesn’t make sense 2 me. But they seem happy without Prince and I. As of yet I don’t know what 2 make of it. Then out of nowhere, using just Sonny T. — the bassist 4 the NPG and Michael Bland — the drummer, Prince began recording new songs. One after the other . Sometimes he would use Tommy Barbarella or Mr Hayes, the new keyboard player with the NPG but 4 the most part he recorded with just Michael or Sonny. Sometimes I would watch. The songs are really cool. They all have one word titles like “Come” or “Race” or “Pheromone” which is about following a girl 2 her house only 2 find she’s involved in some kinky affair with a maniac who’s got a gun fetish. Strange, and “Dark” which I watched him sing in the studio. He talked 2 me sometimes when he was doing the backing vocals but I sensed he was just talking 2 himself — things like “That was cool, wasn’t it?” and “Who can out sing me? Nobody! Good answer.” He was saying things I think he says when he’s recording alone anyway.
But then he did the strangest thing of all — after we finished the first leg of the U.S. tour he announced his retirement from recording. After all this great new music he had just recorded — none of us knew what 2 think. And then I remembered the lyrics 2 one song “Dolphin” that goes — “If I came back as a dolphin would U listen 2 me then? Would U let me be your friend? Would U let me in? U can cut off all my fins but 2 your ways I will not bend. I’ll die before I let U tell me how 2 swim…” Strange, I asked him, “Are U using the gun microphone on the european tour?” And he said, “I’ll always use the gun mike — it’s part of my image now.” So much 4 the suicide theory. The day before yesterday was the day he played in sequence all the new music he’s recorded. All I can say is that it’s unlike any music he’s done before. All one word titles and strange.
Very strange! Eileen, I know I keep saying that word, but even though I’m close 2 him I’m still so very far. He seemed happy when he played me the sequence but when I asked him, “What are U going 2 do with this new music now that U have retired?” He looked me in the eye and said, “I’m going 2 give it 2 my friends.” See what I mean? Strange! I don’t know what friends he’s talking about. And he laughs like I’m suppose 2 know. What’s really funny is that everyone thinks he’s bluffing. They think he has 2 put out another album — just like the sun has 2 rise.
But I remember once he told me “music should be free — just like air.” Did he mean — the way it’s played or paid 4? I’m really afraid he’s not going 2 release anymore new albums because now we’re rehearsing only the new music. With just Michael, Sonny, Tommy and Mr Hayes. But a part of me likes it better this way. We all feel brand new and so does Prince. The thought of playing all new music in a stadium full of fans ignites him. He says it’s just like a movie. No one knows what 2 expect, sometimes U win, sometimes U lose.
I think he really misses the days when no one knew who he was. Now everyone knows him. And they think they know what he’s gonna do. Eileen, please write and tell me what U think about all of this but all I can tell U is that I’ve never seen Prince this happy. And free. And loving! He finally kissed me! It was after I did backing vocals on the song “Pope.” He liked my performance so much that he kissed me and called me an angel. I know he loves me. That’s why I wanted 2 write U. Please tell the fans that being a part of the New Power Generation allows one 2 be free — 2 be one’s self — 2 have a voice, the color of your voice does’t matter. All that matters is that U do your best.
Please tell the fans if they allow Prince 2 sing whatever sets him free, whatever words that allow him 2 feel like he does 2 day, not yesterday, then it shouldn’t matter 2 us as long as he does his best. We all deserve 2 be happy. Please write back.