When I learned of the recent passing of music icon and creative genius, Prince, I was more devastated than I expected to be about the death of someone I’d never met.
Why did I feel this loss more profoundly than the recent passing of others I’ve admired?
I think the sudden and unexpected nature of his death contributed greatly to my shock at hearing the news.
If someone has a terminal illness (David Bowie), has struggled with substance abuse (Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston), or is older (Maya Angelou), you may expect their passing… not so in this case.
Another reason for my deep mourning: realizing Prince’s music represents the soundtrack of my youth (and that a lot of the double entendre and innuendo went way over my head when I was younger!).
Prince represents uncompromising creativity and a steadfast refusal to be placed in any one artistic box.
Not only did Prince create music at a dizzying pace, he also brought others along for the ride—introducing us to a bevy of other artists and generously showcasing their talent.
As someone with music firmly sewn into the fabric of my soul, I have a deep appreciation for his extraordinary songwriting ability, his gifted mastery of the guitar (and ALL of the other instruments he played) and his transformative showmanship in live performances.
To me, Prince represents living out loud. I feel galvanized by his determination to push back against the expectations of others, and truly inspired by his dedication to artistic expression.
Also, I have a collection of instruments that I’m determined to teach myself to play, and I’m inspired and encouraged by Prince’s self-taught musicianship.
After hearing Purple Rain on repeat for the past few days, I was no longer content to just listen to the beautiful melodies… I wanted to teach myself to play it!
Having never picked up an electric guitar in my life, I knew I needed to start small and the Purple Rain outro seemed like a great starting point.
I’ll admit, I was quickly caught up in delusions of grandeur, as I envisioned myself learning Prince’s guitar solo as well.
All it took was watching a few Purple Rain Prince tributes on YouTube to realize that guitar solo was WAY out of my league! The phrase “walk before you run” comes to mind.
The skill level required to play that solo would take years, and I wanted to learn to play Purple Rain in hours, so I opted for a simpler goal.
Because I’m inpatient in my learning pursuits, I searched for easy beginner chords—nothing that required tricky finger placement or complicated barre chords.
After a day of practice, I’m proud to say I’ve learned to play Purple Rain well enough to feel good about my efforts! ☺
Singing along while playing would have stretched my capabilities to the max (and thrown off my rhythm), so I chose to play while humming the song instead.
Here’s my Purple Rain Prince tribute… imperfect, but inspired.
Enjoy your day!