Expert: Prince (1958-2016)


Published: 22Apr2016

"Prince, the superstar American singer-songwriter known for his incredible musicianship, diverse appeal across multiple genres and cavalcade of award-winning hits, has died at age 57." (CBC)

Nicole Biamonte, Schulich School of Music, McGill University

"When Prince changed his name in 1995 to an unpronounceable symbol to protest his recording contract with Warner Bros., journalists began referring to him as 'The Artist Formerly Known as Prince' and sometimes as 'The Artist' for short.  He resumed the name Prince in 2000 when his contract expired, but 'The Artist' could not have been a more appropriate moniker.  As a performer, Prince was a talented singer with a wide range of pitch and timbre; a multi-instrumentalist proficient on guitar, piano, bass, and drums; and most especially, a virtuosic and innovative guitarist: an underrated Hendrix. As a composer and producer, he integrated and juxtaposed a variety of musical styles (R&B, funk, soul, rock, pop) in his songs, and the sheer volume of music that he recorded and performed is astonishing--not to mention the tantalizing vault of his unreleased material.  As a cultural icon, Prince defied established conventions with his fluid constructions of gender, race, and sexuality.  We shall not look upon his like again."—Nicole Biamonte

Professor Biamonte is Associate Professor of Music Theory and Editor of Music Theory Online​.

nicole.biamonte [at] (English, French but not live)

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