Twin Cities music community shares stories about Prince and his legacy


In a year that's already seen too many musical legends leave us, Prince's death hit the Twin Cities music community like a shockwave.

We reached out to a some local musicians, DJs, and industry people to share their memories of The Purple One, and what his music meant to them.

Annie Sparrows – The Soviettes

"When I was 5 years old, I remember there being about 30 albums in our living room. '1999' was one that we 'weren't allowed' to listen to, but was the first one we pulled out every single time our parents weren't around. We made up a thousand dance routines to 1999 and later became obsessed with 'Purple Rain.'"

"Prince & Michael Jackson were EVERYTHING to us, and Prince especially represented a way out of mediocrity. He was FROM MINNEAPOLIS for chrissakes. We went there to see my aunties (who had Prince dance parties with us on their front porch in Powderhorn) there all the time – you could get there in a CAR."

"When I was 17 I moved here and got hired to work at First Avenue. 'Purple Rain' was shot there, and before we even moved I had scored a dress that was worn by an extra during the club dance scenes. We even SAW PRINCE UP CLOSE a few times. When he'd come down for shows, our coworker would grab us and run us upstairs to look at him in the DJ booth through the glass behind it. If I remember right, my friend bawled her eyes out, just being able to be in the same building as him."

"Later on, I got to play on that stage. I remember being up there for the first time and thinking 'Prince stood here.' It was as close to holy as things get for me."

Maria Isa – Villa Rosa

"First Avenue, that's our church, and Prince built that church."

"Everybody talks about his persona like 'Prince is weird' or whatever, but Prince ain't human! He'd have to be weird to make the music he makes, and every artist is weird or they're not an artist. But Prince took it to a level of saying, Dominate what you create. Don't let anybody tell you that you can't."

"As a teenager, we had a hip-hop community but you've got to think about what established that foundation for our hip-hop community to be as strong as this, locally, nationally and globally. If we didn't have that in our backyard, it would take a lot more for us to be inspired."

"[W]hen I was living in New York and performing out there, every time I'd do a show, whether it was at a Latin club or a hip-hop night, they would always play a Prince song before I came out. I held a lot of pride with that. Prince was that symbol of where we come from."

Lazerbeak – Doomtree

"Prince affected every single member of the crew in many different ways. No crazy hangout stories (although we've got a lot of 'almost sightings' like everybody else in this town), but the music and the style and the attitude and the independence was second to none."

"When we put out the 'No Kings' album we would often chuckle in private about really calling it 'No Kings, Just Prince.'"

"The only happiness I can take from his passing is knowing that the outrageous shit and the music and the style and the attitude and the independence will continue to pour out of this city (and cities all over the world) for decades and decades to come. And we have him to thank for that."

Midway Felix – Heiruspecs

"I think that element of funk that he brought has been very important to the Twin Cities music scene. There are artists out there today, including Heiruspecs, but I would also point to artists like Mayda, who probably owe a lot of our Funk to Prince and to his influence."

"It's also great to see that he has stuck around town. As big as he'd gotten, he could have easily left the Twin Cities and never given us so much as a nod."

"My mom tells this story, when I was a baby, there was this guy who was working part time at my day-care center changing diapers and helping out. And he grew up to be Prince, that guy became a music legend."

Jon Jon Scott – Sound Verite Records & KFAI Radio

"Me and everyone I know are devastated. There is no equal, no one to pass the torch to. The word 'original' is the first way to describe Prince. Black Excellence personified"

"I moved here from Chicago and wanted to be in the city that produced Prince. Prince is beyond any words that would thoughtfully capture his true significance. Not James Brown, not David Bowie, not Jimi Hendrix, not Little Richard, but some combination of them and many more. Rest In Power Prince."

Tom Loftus - Modern Radio Records co-founder & DJ

"In the history of Minnesota's big musical legends, he's kind of the first one to go in this era, and I think no one would have expected that. Prince performed last week, you just don't think of someone like that going away that soon."

"As a music fan, he came late to me. Being a DJ and seeing how people really connected with his music. I can't say that his music directly influenced the music that [Modern Radio] has documented, but I think some of that attitude, that 'fuck you, we're going to do our own thing,' I think has inspired a lot of people. He did things on his own terms."

"He pushed boundaries and social norms. I think that gave people a lot of support, to come out, to do things, to be brave. It's nice to see that legacy live on. The trees that branched out from what he created are still growing, and they'll grow for a long time. I think having your legacy be the people that were really brash, that were outliers, that's part of why the Twin Cities has that weirdo, outlier type of culture."

DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip

"I'll just say that I'm really sad, but I'm also thankful and happy that someone like Prince even existed and flourished in the first place. I think he made the world a better place, especially the creative world."

"He's one of the people that showed me, by example, that it's okay to be as weird as you wanna be and to embrace it. I really appreciate that, and love him a lot."

Kyle Werstein – Fury Things

"My one close encounter of the Purple kind occurred in 2010 when I first moved to Minneapolis. I was waiting in line at the Entry to see Foals when I heard that Prince was in attendance at the Janelle Monae show in the Mainroom next door. Suddenly, the doors to the Entry opened and I was pushed aside by a throng of tall bodyguards. Prince walked past and made eye contact with me."

"I didn't think this would affect me as much as it did. On the way over to the Turf Club today to see Bob Mould, I heard '1999' and cried in the car. Life is a just a party and parties weren't meant 2 last."

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