Prince at the Hop Farm Festival 2011. Photo credit: Stewart Rogers. All Rights Reserved.
I didn’t know Prince. I don’t know what he was like as a person and, aside from the hits, I don’t even know his music all that well. But yesterday, when I read that he’d passed away, I cried.
There’s a very special place in my heart for Prince. A place that’s feeling a bit broken right now. He was always there, a constant in my life from as young as I can remember. His songs were always on in the car, and I can remember my mum and dad rushing to change the track when it got too dirty for my little ears.
But Prince is more than that. He’s the reason I’m here, in this little house in Tunbridge Wells, looking forward to my weekly breakfast with my Dad tomorrow morning.
You see, I wouldn’t have the life that I have if it wasn’t for Prince. I mean, I’d still exist (though I’m sure there’s some other people that might not) but I wouldn’t be where I am, with the experiences that I’ve had.
I probably need to do a little background here. So my Dad, the most amazing, wonderful role model I could wish for is, technically, my step-Dad (but he’s really my Dad). He came into my life when I was four years old, and, alongside my mum, he’s given me the best I could hope for.
And it was Prince that led me to my Dad, or at least led my Mum to him.
My Mum has always been a huge fan of Prince, since before I was born (and Mum, if you’re reading this, please forgive me if I get any of the details wrong!). When I was a toddler, in maybe 1992 or 1993, my Mum went to a Prince convention in Norwich. At some point, maybe at an after party, she spotted the symbol spray-painted on the back of a leather jacket, asked the guy if she could take a picture.
I’ve only seen that jacket a few times over the years, but every time I do it feels like I’m looking back on an iconic moment of my personal history, the moment that made me.
For months after that first meeting they wrote each other love letters. My Mum would trace a picture of Prince onto each and every one of them, and after a while, she made the best decision of her life. She moved from Leeds to Kent, and created my family.
So without Prince, without that convention and without that badass leather jacket, I wouldn’t be me.
Thank you Prince,
I’ll be forever grateful.