After Prince’s death in 2016, Tyka Nelson, the musician’s younger sister, was tasked with helping to preserve Purple One’s legacy. She shares a sixth from Prince’s Estate, with thousands of previously unreleased songs that would have been stored in Prince’s safe. Fans eagerly asked for a taste of what the artist never got the chance to do on his own. Tyka, along with others whom Prince has trusted with his most treasured collection, has spent the past four years uncovering and preserving treasures that only an artist as transcendent as Prince could create. For Tyka, it is an opportunity to make her brother’s wishes come true, which he shared with her three years before his death. “I will not leave this planet until he obtains every lonely thing he has worked so hard for and preserved for the whole world.”
This week, the domain announced the upcoming release of Welcome 2 America, a Prince album recorded in 2010 but never released. This is just one example of the part of his music that the world still has never heard. Prince was notably skeptical of the benevolence of the music industry and, in a premonitory move, fought to take back ownership of all of his masters. Now that its legacy lives on, the painstaking work of preserving these creations is taking place.
With four albums to her credit and one chart-topping single (“Marc Anthony’s Tune” reached No. 33 on Billboard’s Hot R & B / Hip-Hop Songs chart in July 1988), Tyka is no stranger to overcoming challenges. obstacles and obstacles in the music industry. The 60-year-old singer and songwriter spoke with Rolling stone sure how Prince’s legacy has been preserved since his death. She discussed what he saw in the music industry in general and why he had the foresight to archive and document his entire collection.
It is well known that Prince learned to play instruments himself and that you grew up in a very musical family. When did you realize Prince was becoming a star?
For me, for a long time he was not the caliber of Michael Jackson and Madonna, but the world thought he was. Of course, I thought it was great, wonderful, but it was all surreal. Especially go to Purple rain movie premiere and see Eddie Murphy and all those stars setting and I’m still sitting there saying, ‘Why did they come? What are they doing here? My brain really never caught up, and if I’m being completely honest, I only caught up with it about four years before he died. It was there that I realized that my brother was actually a star. This man was cold-blooded.
Why do you think it took you a long time to realize that he had become an icon?
I worked for him and had to watch videos, I had to listen to every song and every note and, when I saw this man in action over and over again, I had no idea. I had no idea. Because I’m a songwriter, I never wanted his name to affect mine. I didn’t want to copy it in any way, shape or form. I never wanted my name to be associated with it. I wanted to remove my last name. I didn’t want him to do anything for me because then I’ll never know if people liked my music. So I stopped listening to Prince’s music and missed a lot of years so I didn’t see what the world was seeing. But when he died and the whole world lit up purple, there was no doubt. Even still, I am amazed. After his passing, all of these fans came and shared their stories of what Prince has done in their lives, through his music. I was extremely amazed by this.
Prince was very protective of his independence, so much so that he sometimes operated without a manager or label, what impact do you think this had on the music industry?
He liked to be in control because he knew where the road was going to end. “If I control the car now, we won’t deviate from the road. Why sit here and let all these people in between tell me which direction to go? I need to control it because I know which direction I want to go. With the masters and the impact on the music, now we have Taylor Swift and Kanye West who also know if you’re not in control now, so what are you going to have later? Prince knew what the future held for him. “If I don’t control this, what will happen in 10 years?” He said often and I think that many artists who challenge this industry today, have learned from this same perspective.
He once said to LA Times: “If I knew what I know now before, I wouldn’t be in the music business.” What do you think he was referring to here? What was Prince’s biggest gripe with the music industry?
Lack of creative freedom. When Prince got into music, that’s what he wanted to do. He had always wanted to control his music because he knew what was on his mind and how he wanted it to translate. If you didn’t get him, if you didn’t think it was great – he didn’t want to have to convince people of his vision. Also, not being able to move around on your own timeline. Prince was making music at a rate that exceeded even the record industry or the label. “Why can’t we put out an album every month? Why can’t we do it three times a year? Why do we have to do it once a year? You disturb my music. I have some music on the shelf and you won’t post it. I have albums that I have already recorded, just take them out. “The timeline was definitely an issue.
I think the other issue was with the music industry standards for the control of masters. He wanted to get out of that because, and I’m just using an example, “My album sells for $ 12.99 and I get a dollar every time. However, it was I who wrote it; my name is on it; and I’m working my butt to make it look awesome, while you’re sitting back, collecting a check off my back. Hmm. Doesn’t that sound like slavery? And what we saw later was Emancipation, and the change of his name, and the demonstration of “the slave” on his cheek.
How has Prince’s legacy been preserved and not preserved since his death?
Fortunately, this is one of those easy jobs with a legacy that once said, “This is what’s going to happen and that’s what I’m doing about it.” He sort of planned everything in advance and I don’t know where it started or why he started putting all these tapes, movies, scripts and music together and preserving them. After purchasing Paisley Park, I thought it would be a soundstage, but it ended up being kind of a rehearsal room, soundstage, and party place. So he started planning the museum for it. All of these things were already being told to everyone, so they knew what to do. All we had to do was pick it up, put it down and take out the vinyl or CD, or help improve the picture a bit or make the sound a bit clearer. But Prince did the work for us, he kept it himself. Prince was always preserve its own heritage.
Prince once said to Michael Howe, a former record company executive, “All these recordings in the vault at some point would see the light of day after I left.” Its archives are known to have “thousands and thousands” of unreleased recordings, should fans expect to hear more like “Piano & a Microphone” in the near future?
Prince always wanted people to hear his music. How dare I not do what this man broke his back all his life? There would be no way that I would let a note of his music never be heard. I wouldn’t allow this museum to never open and not let people see what it envisioned. This man set this mess in motion and I will not leave this planet until he gets every lonely thing he worked so hard for and preserved for the whole world to hear.
It has been said that the unfinished business stays with the family, did you find anything in the safe super surprising or exciting for you on a personal level?
Certainly not surprised. Really amazed. I guess I’m so happy he put his life like this. Cicely Tyson, I’ve heard, wrote a 400-page book before she passed away. And for me, that’s exactly what Prince has done through his music. This is his life. Prince had old tapes on reel documenting his life. There are so many wonderful things in there, and Michael was brilliant to go in there and grab it all. But you also find these pieces of music that are just the beginning of a song or a chorus and all of a sudden there’s no other half in the song and it’s like, “Oh man, you stopped singing. ” So for me personally, as one of the heirs, I can’t speak for all of them, I don’t mind people hearing the little things – the little things where he’s just sitting there playing on the phone and how he said it together. It could teach a little boy who wants to learn how to put together a song. We never know. Anything and everything, bring it out. If I lived 100, 200 years, I would definitely be there to help oversee its release. But Prince’s music will survive me for sure.
In one Interview 2018, Howe also mentioned that Prince was working until his death and that there are records in the vault that are about as close to the end of his life as possible. Has Prince ever considered retiring?
It is not a Prince vocabulary word. Not that he wouldn’t use it, but he would never describe himself that way. At his last gig, which was at Paisley Park, he told everyone to get out and announced that he was going to stop playing guitar because he wanted to improve at the piano. For me, it’s because Judas was banging his ass on that piano and I think he thought that if he didn’t hold his playing on the piano – because he was too busy with his guitar – that he would. would lose. He wanted to improve at the piano, he didn’t think he would stop. Retreat for him – no way.
How do you think Prince wants to be remembered?
I think he would like to be remembered as an accomplished artist, but when you say artist, also add a designer: because he designed his shoes and his clothes, and he drew things and them. then sent people to recreate them. He would obviously like to be remembered as a musician, but also as a guitarist, a drummer… he could play the saxophone. He could play anything and everything, even little recorders growing up. He could play all the instruments sitting on the stage, and he took turns going for each of them. I wish he was remembered as the one who could do it. Prince really never needed a band. The only reason he had a band was that he couldn’t play everything at the same time. People don’t take that away from him when it comes to being a musician. He was also starting to write a book, so he was an author. What was he not? Prince was a philosopher, a philanthropist. He was a pure black man from the middle of nowhere. We barely had a radio station. We were no one and he was talking about a day he was going to be famous – and he did.
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