Prince Rogers Nelson, born June 7, 1958 and better known as Prince, is a US singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has released over 30 studio albums throughout his career and is one of the best-selling artists of all time: he has sold over 100 million records worldwide.
Prince grew up in a musical family – his father was a pianist and his mother a jazz singer – and he quickly developed an interest in becoming a musician himself: he wrote his first song, ‘Funk Machine’, when he was only seven-years-old. He released his debut album, ‘For You’, in 1978 and the follow-up ‘Prince’ in 1979. He continued his prolific work rate with the albums ‘Dirty Mind’ (1980), ‘Controversy’ (1981) and ‘1999’ (1982) in the following years.
Despite already gaining widespread recognition, criticial acclaim and commercial success, Prince’s next album proved to be even more successful: ‘Purple Rain’, released in 1984, is still considered one of the greatest albums of all time and has sold over 20 million copies. The album, which featured the singles ‘When Doves Cry’ and ‘Let’s Go Crazy’, also served as the soundtrack to the film ‘Purple Rain’, in which Prince played the main role.
Prince’s next two albums, ‘Around The World In A Day’ (1985) and ‘Parade’ (1986), were recorded with his backing band The Revolution but he disbanded the group and released his next LP, ‘Sign O’ The Times’ (1987), as a solo artist. After three more solo albums, however, he would form a new band, called The New Power Generation, with who he released the album ‘Diamonds And Pearls’.
During the mid-90s, Prince was embroiled in a lengthy dispute with his record label Warner Bros. He believed the label was trying to hamper his creativity and as a result began to release albums in quick succession in order to fulfil his contractual obligations. It was also during this period that Prince changed his name to the ‘Love Symbol’ – a combination for the symbols of male and female which had no stated form of pronounciation. As a result, he was commonly referred to as ‘The Artist Formerly Known As Prince’ during this time.
Prince’s output had dipped in quality during the end of his run with Warner – one of his final albums for the label, ‘Come’, became his poorest-selling effort of all time. He was unable to recapture his earlier success despite releasing a glut of albums including ‘Emancipation’ (so-named as it was his first post-Warners release), ‘Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic’ and ‘The Rainbow Children’. In 2000, he began using the name Prince again.
However, he restored his reputation with his 27th studio album, ‘Musicology’, which was released in 2004. His most recent album, ’20Ten’, was released in 2010 and he has recently been working with a new backing band called 3rd Eye Girl. In February 2014 he toured the UK, playing a series of intimate shows in London and Manchester. It has since been announced that Prince has re-signed with Warner Bros and is currently working on a new album.