SXSWorld March 2017 - Music


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2 0 SXS W O R L D | M A R C H 2 0 1 7 M U S I C | SXSW.COM Laughing in the Purple Rain ... Remembering Prince By Odeisel  Like Stevie Wonder before him, Prince was a wunderkind who seemingly played every instrument and wrote songs that spoke to so many facets of our human identity. Sophisticated sexual themes shared album space with religious underpinnings and worries of an impending apocalypse resulting from nuclear war. Prince also bared his inner turmoil and openly displayed his gratitude for his fans.  Meanwhile, the rhythms and styling were lush with pop sensibility, layered with funk and infused with rock & roll. It was pop music that people could own, internalize and fit to their anonymous lives. It was music that brought strangers together in a mutual connec- tion. Where Michael Jackson was an overwhelming pop supernova, Prince was a slow burning flame whose impression deepened the longer it flickered in the minds of his consumers.  Yet, his influence ran deeper. "1999" actually preceded Jackson's "Billie Jean" as one of the first videos by a black artist on MTV. "Little Red Corvette" followed, providing some more much-needed colorization to the previously lily-white network. The sexy lyricism of "Darling Nikki" is noted as one of inciting causes that eventually led P rince Rogers Nelson's presence looms large over the musical landscape of the last half-century, and his death in April 2016 left a gaping hole almost as big. We know the résumé and list of accolades he earned during his career: More than 100 million records sold. Seven Grammy Awards. 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. SPIN magazine's "Greatest Frontman of All Time." Prince also ventured into movies, including his starring role in the iconic Purple Rain, which garnered a Golden Globe nomination and won an Oscar in 1985.  We normally see the arc of talent play out in public … The rising star ascends to the lofty heights of fame, then fades into the distance. But while the sex, drugs, and rock & roll cliché is almost expected of our musical giants, Prince was never one to play by the rules. He stayed active and relevant right up until his sudden passing, and though his romantic status and exploits are the stuff of legend and were a big part of his early career, they pale in comparison to the expansive range of artists and styles colored by Prince's enormous musical legacy. Prince at SXSW 2013, photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images

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