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Human Resources

Weekly Wisdom 4-27-2016

 


 he passing of Prince didn’t affect me personally as much as the deaths of other musicians in the last few months. Last Thursday, I was traveling to and fro from WSU in Pullman with HR colleagues when the news broke. I listened in on the conversations about times where Prince’s music provided the background…Prince was the first live concert for some.  It made me want to do some Internet noodling to learn more about him. 
 

From The Guardian:  www.theguardian.com/music/2016/apr/22/prince-obituary

Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis. His father, John Nelson, was leader of the Prince Rogers jazz trio, and met his wife-to-be, Mattie Shaw, when playing at community dances on Minneapolis’s North Side. The couple named their son after John’s stage name, though the boy was nicknamed “Skipper” when he was growing up. His parents’ musical leanings rubbed off on him, and at the age of seven he wrote his first song, Funk Machine, on his father’s piano.

His parents separated when Prince was 10, and he would alternate between living with his father and with his mother and her new husband, Hayward Baker. It was Baker who took the boy to see James Brown perform, an event that profoundly influenced Prince’s approach to writing and performing.

Wisdom from Prince:

“I don’t really care so much what people say about me because it usually is a reflection of who they are.” 

“A strong spirit transcends rules.”

“Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people.”

“As long as I do not take myself too seriously, I should not be too badly off.”

“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.”

 

From CNN:  www.cnn.com/2016/04/21/entertainment/prince-dead-    obit/  Prince's music transcended genres and generations. There were songs you could sing every word to, ditties that drove you to dance and ballads so poignant in their descriptions of love and life that anyone could relate.  Simply put, not that anything with the mercurial musician was simple, Prince had more hits       than most musicians have songs in their catalogs. Writing and producing music in five decades, he touched and inspired artists all along the musical spectrum, from Madonna to Beyonce, from Stevie Nicks to Foo Fighters, from Public Enemy to The Roots and from George     Clinton to The Time.

He stood out in other ways.

In 1993, Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, which was also the title of his latest album. He became known as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince," which he shortened to "The Artist," and his career underwent a setback after Warner Brothers dropped its distribution deal with Paisley Park Records.  According to Eric Deggans, NPR media critic, “He could talk very knowledgeably about the music business. And was very witty. Also a little shy. Had two twin assistants dressed exactly the same who trailed after him. And we met in a conference room that had doves in it, so it was quite an interesting experience."

For me, it’s another life ended too soon…another talent gone.  It makes me sad to think about celebrity and isolation, about our culture and how those we idolize sometimes die alone.  I hope he’s at peace.

 

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I’ve recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.  
     Staci Sleigh-Layman

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