Photoset of singer-songwriter-musician Prince at the French tennis open in early June. Prince has just finished an album, but has yet to reveal its title or whether or not it will be released. -- AFP
Prince: “We should be able to make music and put it out now.”
Prince marches to his own time. We’ve known that for years. His guy called late Saturday night while I was reviewing the Bruno Mars concert at Xcel Energy Centre in St Paul, Minnesota in the United States: Prince wants to play you his new album tonight.
When you arrive at Paisley Park, you switch to Prince time.
After nearly an hour’s wait, I was ushered into Studio B about 1am. This is a new Prince album, not to be confused with the one he made with 3rdEyeGirl, Plectrum Electrum, which hasn’t been released.
The ever-prolific Rock Hall of Famer hasn’t issued an album in the US since 2009.
My next two hours at Paisley Park would be filled with funk, frustration and funny lines – all courtesy of Prince.
Suddenly, the phone rang. It was Prince. Via speaker phone, we chatted. He said he believed in albums, not singles: “I’ve finally got something that is a cohesive statement.”
He didn’t mention the album’s title or release date.
But he did discuss the difficulties of getting in contact with top executives at Warner – his old label, with which he signed a new deal this spring – and complained about how slowly wheels turn in the record business.
“Every No.1 song, every Top 10 song, every song in the Top 40 is at least six months old,” he said.
“We should be able to make music and put it out now.”
He also carped about radio, wondering if programme directors really direct their programmes.
“I don’t need to be on the radio,” he said.
“I’ve been on the radio all my life.” Prince explained that one of the songs, This Could Be Us, was inspired by a meme of him and Apollonia riding on a motorcycle, clearly a scene taken from the 1984 movie Purple Rain. It’s a joyful ballad with some ecstatic Prince vocalising.
The ensuing number was a remix of Funk ‘N’ Roll, a single he made with 3rdEyeGirl this year.
Funkier and nastier than the original, it lived up to the title.
After hearing me praise his new recording, Prince asked if I had any money in my pocket and would I spend it on his new album.
“I spent most of it at Bruno Mars,” I said. “But I have plastic.”
“We don’t take plastic around here,” he said.
Ever impatient, Prince asked Welton to play a tune they made recently with British pop sensation Rita Ora.
It’s a rare rap song on which the music was as aggressive and menacing as the rapping.
Prince talked about the urgency of releasing that tune because with Ora “time is money.”
As a celebrity with lots of endorsements, she makes money walking out of the house wearing a certain kind of makeup or sunglasses, he explained.
Before Prince invited everyone to go to another room to watch a video of his recent Paris performance with 3rdEyeGirl, our ever-gracious but unseen host asked if anyone was hungry. The answer around the room was “No.”
“Good,” he said.
“Then I don’t have to come cook for you again.” — Star Tribune/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services