Tributes to the work of Prince continue to appear, more than a week after the legendary songwriter and performer passed away at age 57.
A recent story in Entertainment Weekly showcased Prince's strengths in the realms of creativity and talent development--and revealed how his passion for music was the key to his prolific career. Here are five highlights:
1. Prince had a work ethic born of passion. Even after he was a famous and rich superstar, Prince's work ethic never waned. "He'd come to rehearsal, work us, go work his band, then he'd go to his studio all night and record," is what James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, Prince's high school classmate and producer, tells EW. "Then the next night he'd come to rehearsal with a tape in his hand and he'd say, 'This is what I did last night.' And it'd be something like '1999,' and you're just like, 'Who does this?'"
2. Prince was a molder of young talent--a superboss. His proteges included Scottish singer Sheena Easton, dancer Carmen Electra, and his former drummer, Sheila E. "He loved working with women and helping them and encouraging them and saying, 'Hey, I think this would be a good song for you,'" Sheila E. tells EW. Like Miles Davis and other "superboss" artists, Prince prided himself on being the foundation of a talent tree, and watching his branches find their own paths.
3. Prince was tech savvy. You might think Prince was slow to change with the times because of his threatened lawsuits against YouTube and his own fansites for violating his copyrights. But as EW points out, Prince was just protecting his rights--and he was quite tech savvy. He launched one of the first digital subscription music services, the NPG Music Club, in 2001. And his final two albums were released through Jay Z's Tidal streaming service last year.
4. Prince was a fast and thorough learner. He did not lean on producers or techies to make his records. He learned to play almost any instrument. For example, EW notes that he played 24 instruments on his 1978 debut album, which came out when he was 19. "He had total command of not only the songs but of the production and the ability to do it all on his own," music producer Lenny Waronker told EW. "There was no technology. You didn't have drum machines, you didn't have anything--the only other person I can think of that was really capable of doing that was Stevie Wonder."
5. Prince had enduring gratitude for his fans. During his final show at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta on April 14, he performed three separate encores. At one point, EW notes, "he was so overcome with emotion that he briefly left the stage. He told fans that night, 'I'm going to take this time to thank each and every one of you for coming out and enjoying this time with us.'"