Tag Archives: I’ve Got You Under My Skin

Ruminations on Prince

22 Apr



I find it silly when a famous person dies then people get upset and, well, lose it. Wail, moan, it’s all about me, the whole thing. It’s not like you knew the person, right? How do you think the family feels? How could you be so affected? 


Yet for the second time in my life, I heard of a death while driving my truck and was overcome. Understand, I don’t cry. Like, almost never. 4 or 5 years between a cry — if I’m lucky enough to release the emotion that often. Yet Thursday morning my good friend Lisa, knowing my love for a dazzlingly talented man, texted me as I was navigating the freeways of Los Angeles. Prince had died.  I had to pull over to the side of the road. 


Um, no. 

My friend Andie reposted a beautiful and accurate tweet about this phenomenon. @ElusiveJ wrote:

“Thinking about how we mourn artists we’ve never met. We don’t cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves.” 

This makes me ashamed I’ve secretly made fun of those who mourn artists. Yet I don’t think this is why Prince Rodgers Nelson’s death hits so hard.

When listening to Prince’s music, it’s less about coming to know ourselves than experiencing a deep sometimes dangerous revelation. His music and lyrics are filled with desire. Not his desire. But ours. At least for those of us who are dreamers, there may never have been an artist to speak so directly to us, connect so deeply with us. His music confronts us with our desires, our longings, our passions. As his music plays, something begins to bubble up from deep within.

It’s up to the individual listener what happens next. I guess there are people out there who can resist the call. I myself have never been able to suppress what happens inside when Prince’s music plays. Feelings I’ve buried emerge, emotions of all kinds, waves of joy, sadness, longing, sexuality, melancholy. And I feel a deep connection to the one artist I have never been able to resist.

Prince reaches down inside of us and pulls emotion out. Through his music he says, “Hear this? Feel this? You have this inside you, too. Let it out. Don’t be scared. Experience it. And live free.”

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