Prince: A Look into the Life of Minnesota’s Most Eclectic Artist  

by Kaia Ryden on June 6, 2024

Prince was one of the most accomplished artists to come out of Minnesota, becoming an international star through his beautiful voice and wacky style. Born in Minneapolis to his parents John Lewis Nelson and Mattie Della Shaw in 1958, Prince grew up surrounded by music and creativity. His father, who played in a band called the Prince Rogers Trio, had always been a big inspiration and intimidation for Prince.  

Unfortunately, his parents ended up divorcing, and he moved in with his neighbors. He grew close with his neighbor’s son, André Cymone, and together they created a band called Grand Central. The band was a big success locally, and André would go on to be Prince’s bassist for the early years of his fame.  

Prince was a notoriously private person, when he wasn’t out performing his music. He was also a noted perfectionist, often rerecording and rewriting things until he was completely happy with them. 

“Anything Prince did, he did it 110%… He wanted it perfect, he wanted it right. He was a consummate workaholic, always trying to raise the bar for himself and for us.” – Morris Hayes, a longtime ‘sideman’ of Prince. 

In 1993, Prince decided to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol, causing him to be known as “the artist formerly known as Prince”, a gimmick lasting 3 years. He had done so in protest of the way that the Warner Bros were releasing his music. 

After two unsuccessful marriages and unfortunate circumstances surrounding his children, Prince stayed single for the rest of his life. He died on April 21, 2016, due to an overdose of Vicodin laced with Fentanyl. 

While the star is not with us any longer, his house is! His Paisley Park estate is only 20 minutes from Minneapolis, in Chanhassen MN, and open for tours through September 4th! The Paisley Park Estate offers fun, interactive tours that lead you through the life of Prince and lets you peer into the mind of the eclectic man. Go, have fun, and learn more about our local superstar!