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My Crazy Experience of When I Met Prince at the Recording Studio

Prince Portrait-1

First let me say that, both as an artist and businessman, Prince was an incredible inspiration for me. The very first time I heard Prince on the radio, I knew immediately that I was listening to someone that was extremely special. His talent was beyond measure. My first thoughts were that I was, at that moment, experiencing my generation of the next Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or Frederic Chopin.

In 1993, while working as an A&R Executive Assistant for Giant Records, (a subsidiary label of the Warner Music Group), I had the privilege to meet Prince. Prince was signed to Warner Music as well at that time. Additionally, at that time, he was in a very public dispute with Warner Music, because he strongly desired to take control his own product and his career.

When I met Prince, it was at The Record Plant (recording studio) in Hollywood. I was there under the direction of Irving Azoff (who was honored with the President’s Merit Award this year at the 2016 Pre-Grammys Gala).

Jeff Bowens (A&R) and I met up with Color Me Badd at the Record Plant on that memorable day. CMB, (Brian Abrams, Kevin Thornton, Sam Waters, & Mark Calderon) were in the studio that day working on their 2nd studio album, “Time and Chance.” The group was at the studio to record the cover song “Wildflower.”

Jeff and I didn’t intend to stay for the entire recording session. We were only there to make sure that the food caterer had delivered the group’s food and that CMB had everything they needed to be comfortable for their session that evening.

When Jeff and I arrived at the studio, CMB had already arrived before us. The studio manager had informed Jeff and I upon our arrival, that Prince was arriving soon and to send any “unessential” staff home. Thankfully, this request, which I was personally offended by at the time, didn’t impact us. The only members of our entourage at the studio that day was CMB and Jeff and I.

Jeff and I had no intent of staying at the studio that day because we had another artist to attend to at Larrabee’s Studio in West Hollywood that day. As we were about to leave the Record Plant, a white limousine pulled up to the curb outside of the studio. The legendary Prince himself had just arrived, along with two of his bodyguards. The first thing that I noticed was that Prince’s bodyguards were impeccably dressed in black designer suits.

But, what caught me off guard was seeing Prince get out of the limo wearing stage makeup and his full concert regalia! In my mind I was thinking, “What the hell? You’re about to begin a recording session. Shouldn’t you be dressed in something more casual? Maybe a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, perhaps? You’re only here to record a song or two for your “Come” album.”

As Prince entered the studio, I introduced myself and told him, “I love your artistry. I’ve been to nearly a dozen of your shows. In fact, I’ve probably paid for those shoes you’re wearing right now.” I was joking of course. I waited for Prince to smile, but got none. He simply said, “Thanks” and he proceeded to walk past me and into the studio.

At that point Jeff and I walked back into the studio to inform the guys from CMB that Prince was there for a recording session. Jeff told them that, “If they get the opportunity, to introduce themselves.” As Jeff and I were about to leave for the second time, apparently someone had informed Prince’s bodyguards that CMB were in the house. Both of Prince’s bodyguards came over to meet the guys.

So, I thought I would extend my hospitality by asking them if they would like to join the guys for some of the catered food that we had ordered for the group. Prince’s bodyguards declined my offer. Then one of the guards said that they “just wanted to meet CMB and say hello.” Suddenly, at that moment, Prince showed up and I can see that he was visibly upset to see his staff socializing with our group. He asked his bodyguards, “Why are you over here instead of doing the job that you were hired to do?”

I was a bit unsettled by Prince’s reaction at that moment. But, in retrospect, I understood that, even at this stage of the game, this man was a legendary superstar. His lifestyle and requirements were “different” from most other artists in the music industry. And although I personally may have handled that particular incident a bit differently, I respected the man’s right to handle his own business as he deemed necessary.

Now, nearly 23 years later, the memory of that day sticks in my mind like it was yesterday. It’s a moment in my life that I will cherish forever. And, now that Prince is no longer here with us, I personally appreciate his artistry and business acumen more than ever.

With that said, Prince, your mastery of the craft of music has deeply touched hundreds of millions of people from around the world. You’re irreplaceable and you will be sorely missed. Rest in paradise.

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