Owen Husney tells NPR that the late superstar was "one of the greatest artists of our time"
Even as a precocious teenager barely able to vote, Prince, who died tragically yesterday at the age of 57, was obviously on another plane compared with other artists, according to his first manager.
Owen Husney was one of the first people to work with Prince, who at the time still went by his given name – Prince Rogers Nelson. He recalls a young man who was “beyond anybody that I had ever met”.
He told NPR: “You know, he had just turned 18, and it was very much a co-working atmosphere between he and I at that point. Once he went on to his second album and all the subsequent albums, obviously, he became Prince, and he was very much in charge. But he was very willing to listen to me and to take my direction, which I think is probably the only time that ever happened, to be honest with you.”
He recalls the single-mindedness his protégé displayed from the start – especially when he had to try and arrange a record deal putting unprecedented creative control in the hands of an unknown teenager.
“When we signed the deal with Warner Bros,” said Husney, “I had the great job of going to the chairman of Warner Bros and saying that an 18-year-old artist, who has never made an album before, is going to be producing his own album and having complete creative control. I didn’t relish that meeting!”
He added: “Prince is, to me, one of the greatest artists of our time. And I think he’s one of those legacy artists of which there’s maybe 10 or 11. I put him up there with Miles Davis, with Hendrix and Dylan. I put him up there in that stratosphere.”