Today, lots of people are trying to process the news of Prince’s untimely death. There will be thousands of words written in newspapers, magazines and online, and scores of experts will be interviewed on TV and on the radio. There will be quiet, sad conversations between friends and noisy pub arguments over his legacy. But at the end of it all, maybe we should heed his own advice, as he sang on I Would Die 4 U: “I am something that you just can’t understand.”
Prince wrote his first song aged just seven; he would go onto release 40 albums, win seven Grammys and redefine one musical genre after another. Words that have become diminished by their overuse genuinely applied to him – he was a genius, a maverick, a cultural icon.
We came into his orbit on a November day back in 2013, when he Tweeted a link to the demo of his track Da Bourgeoisie, which he offered as a WeTransfer download. Our servers felt the full force of his fame and we were delighted to be able to connect him with his fans and bask for a short time in his reflected glory. Then, last year, he released the album he produced for Judith Hill on our platform. Our creative director (and massive Prince fan) Laszlito Kovacs has created this wallpaper as our own small tribute.
Prince was a creative tour de force. He followed through on the things that many people talk about but very few end up doing – he forged his own path and refused to compromise on his creative vision. Throughout his career he was delightfully, deliciously unpredictable.
His many fans will deal with the news of his death in their own ways. Maybe by watching his extraordinary Super Bowl halftime show from 2007. Maybe by marvelling at the quantity as well as the quality of his tracks. Or maybe by reading the tributes that will continue to pour in.
Perhaps President Obama put it best, when he said: “Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent. As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all.”