Prince once called Wonder a 'role model' and 'inspiration'
Prince passed away at his Paisley Park home in Minnesota last month (April 21), aged 57. In the immediate aftermath of his death, Wonder paid tribute to Prince, describing the late music icon as “fearless”.
Now, in a tribute penned for Rolling Stone, Wonder writes: “Prince’s music was so picturesque that even I could see it… I could feel that “Purple Rain” too. Prince’s songs were that vivid, the images were that strong.”
Wonder continued to speak of the connection that he had with Prince, adding: “I think I related to the way Prince saw things because we both grew up in the Midwest, where we met all kinds of people and had a great spectrum from which to learn. We both grew up hearing blues, rock & roll, jazz and gospel, and found the value in it all.”
“Prince was so inspired, and so inspiring. He was kind, he was disciplined and he knew where he wanted to go. He was able to make big transitions. If Michael was the King of Pop, Prince should be the Emperor. Prince fought for his artistic freedom. He didn’t allow anyone or anything to get in his way. By following his own path, Prince took music to a whole other place, like the Beatles did. He wanted to change the way things were, like Marvin Gaye did. When you do that, you have to be very sure of yourself.”
“That spirit that drove him gave us an incredible reservoir of music. He loved funk, so he really needed to know how to make things funky. He loved jazz, so he needed to break down what made things truly swing. If Prince wanted to talk about love and sex, he got really into that – deep. And he made us see and feel it all with him. In fact, I’m trying to figure out which child of mine was born because of listening to Prince.”
In 1999, Prince called Stevie Wonder a “role model” and an “inspiration who I look up to a great deal for the way he crafted music and his connection to the spirit”.
Watch Wonder paying tribute to Prince on CNN last month below.
Since his death, tributes to Prince have ranged far and wide with President Barack Obama stating “Today, the world lost a creative icon” and musicians including Madonna, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd and Katy Perry leading the tributes.