Lessons from Prince: Work Hard, Take Risks, Be Funky

by: bradashlock

Jun 18

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Haven’t posted for a while.

Or written that much of late.

When I was in my early twenties, Prince’s music was the soundtrack to my life. Him passing really took the wind out of me.

It was strange: the morning before I learned of his death, I dreamed I was an announcer for a late night TV show introducing Prince. I took a chance in the dream and introduced him as, “Prince Rogers Nelson!”

Later that morning, when I opened my Facebook page, I learned the news.

The shocking news.

How did Prince influence me besides entertaining me?

First thing was his work ethic. As Chris Rock had once said about Prince, it was hard to tell where his guitar ended and he began.

Prince was from a blue collar working class city, and I think some of that work ethic led to his astounding productivity. I recall learning that on one long bus trip he wrote thirty songs.

Prince took risks in his music. “When Doves Cry” has no bass, begins with a new metal style guitar, followed by a bizarre vocal intonation that cuts right to a Linn LM1 drum machine. He blurred gender, genre, and all expectations.

After he died, the world became a little less joyous. A little more plain.

But his music will forever live on. Some estimate the music in his secret Paisley Park vault could last 20 or more years even if you released an album once a year.

I’ve artistically mourned the great purple one by stepping back from my writing, taking stock, and remembering his lessons: work hard, take risks, and be funky.