Soup With Prince

 

 Prince

Chance notes: According to the New Yorker Prince said: On the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got blue, you’ve got the Democrats, and they’re, like, ‘You can do whatever you want.’ Gay marriage, whatever. But neither of them is right.” When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’

The New Yorker did a behind the scenes interview with Claire Hoffman and Hoffman said that Prince said he wasn’t black, and he also said he did not vote in earthly contest like the presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain.

Claire Hoffman: He told me he didn’t have a horse in the November election and that he didn’t believe in getting involved with these kind of earthly contests.
 Claire Hoffman:  I had asked him if the fact that Obama was black didn’t compel him to get involved.

He said, “Why?”

And I said, Well, because you’re black.

And he said “Am I?” and held up his wrist next to my ruddy one. Indeed his skin was lighter, and he cracked up.

Prince is definitely his own man, and does what he prefers.

Soup With Prince
by Claire Hoffman

 

Claire Hoffman interviewed Prince for the New Yorker

 

The thirty-thousand-square-foot Italianate villa, built this century by Vanna White’s ex-husband, looks like many of the other houses in Beverly Park, a gated community in L.A., except for the bright-purple carpet that spills down the front steps to announce its new tenant: Prince. One afternoon just before the election, Prince invited a visitor over. Inside, the place was done up in a generic Mediterranean style, although there were personal flourishes here and there—a Lucite grand piano with a gold-colored “Artist Formerly Known as Prince” symbol suspended over it, purple paisley pillows on a couch. Candles scented the air, and New Age music played in the living room, where a TV screen showed images of bearded men playing flutes. Prince padded into the kitchen, a small fifty-year-old man in yoga pants and a big sweater, wearing platform flip-flops over white socks, like a geisha.

“Would you like something to eat?” he asked, sidling up to the counter. Prince’s voice was surprisingly deep, like that of a much larger man. He picked up a copy of “21 Nights,” a glossy volume of photographs that he had just released. It is his first published book, a collection of highly stylized photographs of him taken during a series of gigs in London last year. “I’m really proud of this,” he said. Short original poems and a CD accompany the photographs. (Sample verse: “Who eye really am only time will tell/ 2 the almighty life 4ce that grows stronger with every chorus/ Yes give praise, lest ye b among . . . the guilty ones.”)

Limping slightly, Prince set off on a walk around his new bachelor pad. Glass doors opened onto acres of back yard, and a hot tub bubbled in the sunlight. “I have a lot of parties,” he explained. In the living room, he’d installed purple thrones on either side of a fireplace, and, nearby, along a hallway, he had hung photographs of himself, in a Moroccan villa, in various states of undress. At the end of the hall, a gauzy curtain fluttered in a doorway. “My room,” he said. “It’s private.”

Prince has lived in Los Angeles since last spring, after spending years in Minneapolis, holding court in a complex called Paisley Park, where he made thousands of songs, far away from the big labels. Seven years ago, he became a Jehovah’s Witness. He said that he had moved to L.A. so that he could understand the hearts and minds of the music moguls. “I wanted to be around people, connected to people, for work,” he said. “You know, it’s all about religion. That’s what unites people here. They all have the same religion, so I wanted to sit down with them, to understand the way they see things, how they read Scripture.”

Prince had his change of faith, he said, after a two-year-long debate with a musician friend, Larry Graham. “I don’t see it really as a conversion,” he said. “More, you know, it’s a realization. It’s like Morpheus and Neo in ‘The Matrix.’ ” He attends meetings at a local Kingdom Hall, and, like his fellow-witnesses, he leaves his gated community from time to time to knock on doors and proselytize. “Sometimes people act surprised, but mostly they’re really cool about it,” he said.

Recently, Prince hosted an executive who works for Philip Anschutz, the Christian businessman whose company owns the Staples Center. “We started talking red and blue,” Prince said. “People with money—money like that—are not affected by the stock market, and they’re not freaking out over anything. They’re just watching. So here’s how it is: you’ve got the Republicans, and basically they want to live according to this.” He pointed to a Bible. “But there’s the problem of interpretation, and you’ve got some churches, some people, basically doing things and saying it comes from here, but it doesn’t. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got blue, you’ve got the Democrats, and they’re, like, ‘You can do whatever you want.’ Gay marriage, whatever. But neither of them is right.”

When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’ ”

Later, in the dining room, eating a bowl of carrot soup, he talked about an encounter that he described as a “teaching moment.” “There was this woman. She used to come to Paisley Park and just sit outside on the swings,” he said. “So I went out there one day and I was, like, ‘Hey, all my friends in there say you’re a stalker. And that I should call the police. But I don’t want to do that, so why don’t you tell me what you want to happen. Why are you here? How do you want this to end?’ And she didn’t really have an answer for that. In the end, all she wanted was to be seen, for me to look at her. And she left and didn’t come back.”

Read original story Soup With Prince

November 17, 2008


Behind the Scenes: Glamorous Life

This week, in Talk of the Town, Claire Hoffman visits the home of Prince. He lives in a thirty-thousand-square-foot Italianate villa, built by Vanna White’s ex-husband. Hoffman talks about what it was like to meet Prince, and shares a couple of prints from his new book, “21 Nights,” a collection of stylized portraits taken while Prince was in London last year.

You had some colorful descriptions of Prince’s home: Bright-purple carpets, a Lucite grand piano, bearded men playing flutes. Is this how you imagined Prince’s home to be?

I think I imagined everything about Prince would be more bizarre, dare I even say celestial. I’ve been listening to Prince ever since I started listening to music so he’s less an artist to me and more a sort of galactic overlord. So to show up at his house and have it smell like a Pottery Barn showroom and hear Yanni on the TV was sort of shocking.

In his defense, Prince hasn’t lived there long. I got the sense that he had a sort of make-a-home-for-Prince suitcase that someone else had unpacked—a little purple velvet there, a statue here, and voila!

In your interview, Prince said the following about gay marriage: “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was like, ‘Enough.’” Did you two have a more in-depth conversation about this?

I was a little surprised when he said it, because he has always seemed so unrestricted sexually.

We were having a larger conversation about his belief system and his politics. He told me he didn’t have a horse in the November election and that he didn’t believe in getting involved with these kind of earthly contests. I had asked him if the fact that Obama was black didn’t compel him to get involved.

He said, “Why?”

And I said, Well, because you’re black.

And he said “Am I?” and held up his wrist next to my ruddy one. Indeed his skin was lighter, and he cracked up.

Anyway, he walked me into his library and opened a Bible up to the Sermon on the Mount, and that’s when he got to talking about trying to live Biblically. For what it’s worth, the way he said it wasn’t hateful so much as sad and resigned. Prince is a true believer, and I think that’s important to keep in mind in hearing his viewpoint.

We’re showing our readers some of the photographs from “21 Nights.” Are they like the photographs he has hanging in his house in, as you put it, “various states of undress”?

I interviewed the photographer, Randee St. Nicholas, who has photographed and made videos of practically every big-name celebrity. The thing she said about Prince that stuck with me was that he sees women in a way that most men don’t. He looks right at them. I felt that—he’s strangely considerate. In person, I found Prince humble and down to earth—if you closed your eyes you could imagine he was your fat old uncle and you were on the way to a (vegetarian) BBQ.

Finally, did you have any of that carrot soup?

I didn’t. I should have.

 

Read the original story Behind the Scenes: Glamorous Life

 


  1. toomanygrandkids

    Prince? A Jehova’s Witness? Okay….Anyway, I knew Prince wasn’t black. That’s too narrow of a description b/c he’s many things or he can be many things. Prince has entertained fans all over the world. He’s got millions of fans. He isbecomes them, and they are/become him when he’s on stage.




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