Prince Rogers Nelson left this world on Thursday, April 21, 2016, and his death not only shocked the music industry, but continues to impact millions of fans worldwide.
I am not the one to comment on his music, but I understand he could play about 20 instruments before he reached the age of 18 and many professionals consider him one of the most talented artists in the business. Ever.
I’m also a little embarrassed to tell you I had no idea he wrote so many songs that I absolutely love, including many performed by other artists.
The reason I sat down to write this now is because I am awed by his quiet generosity. As the hours pass since news of his death first broke across every channel, the tales of his charitable giving continue to be revealed.
One man interviewed near Prince’s studios told the story of how the mega-entertainer once heard that a local family who had fallen on hard times needed a new roof they simply could not afford. So, Prince called the head of the family, told him to call the roofing company, and tell them to send him the bill.
A grieving woman also standing in front of Paisley Park mentioned that whenever a local food bank in Minneapolis was short on supplies, a check from this very private performer would mysteriously arrive to fill the shelves. Of course, it always came with a short, handwritten note asking that the gift remain anonymous.
Prince also reached out to many after the horror of Hurricane Katrina to ask what he could do for the people of New Orleans, and eagerly gave to whatever organizations were identified by charitable foundations (again asking that his donations be kept private).
Perhaps most significantly, many professional musicians speak of how he not only gave of his fortune, but of his time and of himself. How he reached out privately to the ailing and retired members of the industry who had somehow been forgotten or run out of money to pay their rent.
So, while all of us can appreciate the musical contributions Prince has made to this world, I personally commit to learning much more from this beloved man. I will remember to give as much as I can to those who are hungry and those who are in trouble.
Good night, sweet Prince. Your music will live forever and, hopefully, your love of others in need will continue to inspire us to emulate a little of your generosity.
PS: If you missed seeing Prince in concert (like I did), I encourage you get out there and buy concert tickets for your favorite performers. Now. Nothing else matches The Magic of Live Music and, unfortunately, no one lives forever.
Image courtesy of conroz.com