As the world continues to mourn Prince following his sudden death on 21st April, Rolling Stone has published a previously unseen interview from 2014, which was originally intended to be a cover story for the magazine. Writer Brian Hiatt explains that Prince refused to have his photo taken, hence why the interview was shelved. But not before Hiatt spent several hours with the superstar at his home, the result of which is a conversation which spans topics from celibacy to the influence of women.
So, what did we learn from the interview? Here are some of the most interesting points to take away…
He made some rather poignant comments about death and ‘retirement’:
Prince told Hiatt that he didn’t spend much time considering mortality, saying “I don’t think about ‘gone.'” He also suggested he had no plans to reitre: “I don’t know what that is. There’s always some way to serve. . . It feels like I’m teaching at a school, but also a student at one. I never felt like I had a job—does that make sense? So those words, ‘job’ and ‘retire’. . .”
Hiatt discusses Prince’s ‘abstinence’ from many (quite surprising) things:
‘That night, Prince doesn’t look his age – doesn’t look any particular age, really. He’s very thin, but not fragile – a strict vegan who, by his own account, sometimes doesn’t eat at all (“I have gone long periods with no food, and also water – people have to remind me to drink water because I always forget to do that”). He doesn’t sleep enough, either, and he avoids sex: One of the most deliriously sensual performers who ever lived – the one who sang “Jack U Off” and “Gett Off” and “Do Me, Baby” – insists he’s celibate. His reasons are both religious and “energy”-related (“The hunger turns into something else,” he says), though he maintains close relationships with several young female singer-songwriters. He is, at this stage in his life, a kind of cheerful musical monk. “I am music,” he says. Playing it is his greatest and perhaps only pleasure.’
He wanted to mentor Chris Brown- and even addressed what he did to Rihanna:
‘He mentions a desire to mentor Chris Brown, says he invited him to Paisley Park. I note that some people think what Brown did to Rihanna was unforgivable. He’s shocked. “Unforgivable?” he says. “Goodness. That’s when we go check the master, Christ. … Have you ever instantly forgiven somebody?” I shake my head. “It’s the best feeling in the world, and it totally dismantles that person’s whole stance.”‘
Prince- in case you didn’t know- was a feminist.
‘Prince specifically wanted a female band, seeking out members via YouTube – back in 2010, he had discovered Nielsen on MySpace. “We’re in the feminine aspect now,” he says. “That’s where society is. You’re gonna get a woman president soon. Men have gone as far as they can, right? … I learn from women a lot quicker than I do from men. … At a certain point, you’re supposed to know what it means to be a man, but now what do you know about what it means to be a woman? Do you know how to listen? Most men don’t know how to listen.”‘
He didn’t want to talk about the past:
‘”People say, ‘Why did you change your name?’ and this, that and the other. I’m here right now, doing what I’m doing right now, and all of the things I did led up to this. And there is no place else I’d rather be than right now. I want to be talking to you, and I want you to get it.”‘