Prince was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to John L. Nelson and Matti Shaw. His father was a songwriter and his mother was a jazz singer.
As a child, Prince was nicknamed Skippy, and he suffered from epilepsy. He had a troubled childhood after his parents separated and he went to live with the family of Andre Cymone, who would later become his bass player.
Prince: Music Career
Prince started out his music career writing lyrics for his friend Pepe Willie's band 94 East.
Prince's first major label solo album came in 1978, and was entitled For You.
Prince had compiled his first backing band by 1979, consisting of Andre Cymone, Dez Dickerson, Gayle Chapman, Bobby Z and Doctor Fink. The intentionally multi-racial line-up was inspired by the band put together by Sly Stone, another of Prince's influences.
The second solo album was simply entitled Prince and he performed 'I Wanna Be Your Lover' and 'Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?' on American Bandstand in January 1980. He went on to open for Rick James's 1980 tour.
Later in 1980, Prince released Dirty Mind. Gayle Coleman disliked the explicit sexual content of the songs and left the band. She was replaced by Lisa Coleman. When he supported The Rolling Stones, he was booed offstage.
In 1981, he released the album Controversy. The same year, he formed a side project known as The Time, thanks to a clause in his contract with Warner Brothers that gave him full artistic control over his work. Morris Day was lead vocalist of The Time.
When 1999 was released in 1982, Prince became part of the first wave of African American artists to appear on MTV, along with Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. His backing band at the time were known as The Revolution and were credited as such on his next album, Purple Rain, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. Brown Mark had joined the band on bass.
In 1986, Prince released the album Parade, reaching number three on the Billboard charts. The album was also used as a soundtrack to Prince's second film, Under the Cherry Moon, which also starred Kristin Scott. That year, he also wrote 'Manic Monday', which would become a hit for The Bangles, though he was credited as 'Christopher'. At the end of the promotional tour for the album, Prince split up The Revolution; he fired Wendy, Lisa and Bobby Z, Brown Mark quit and Prince brought Sheila E. on board, as well as Miko Weaver, Eric Leeds and Atlanta Bliss.
The next album with The Revolution was 1986's Dream Factory. He then recorded a solo album, Camille, which was never released. Warner Brothers then forced Prince to release a double album, which became Sign O' The Times, released in 1987.
Continuing his prolific run, Prince released the hugely successful Lovesexy in 1988. The lead single was 'Alphabet St.' The following year, he made an appearance on Madonna's Like A Prayer album. Tim then asked Prince to record a soundtrack to his upcoming Batman film, which starred Michael Keaton andJack Nicholson.
In 1990, Prince released Graffiti Bridge. The following year, he changed the name of his band to New Power Generation and they recorded and released the 1991 album and Pearls.
Prince then released his twelfth studio album. It was untitled, but displayed an unpronounceable symbol on the cover. He later copyrighted the symbol as 'love symbol'. In 1993, he changed his stage name to this and was frequently referred to as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. His next full-length album, Come, was credited to 'Prince 1958-1993'. The next album, The Gold Experience was released via an independent distributor. Chaos and Disorder (1996) was Prince's final album for Warner Bros.
Emancipation was his first album on his own label NPG Records. The album featured covers of other artists' songs, including Joan Osborne. In 1998, Prince released a five-CD compilation of unreleased material. He returned to calling himself Prince in 2000 and went on to release The Rainbow Children, N.E.W.S. and Xpectation. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and performed a cover of George Harrison's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'. His next album, Musicology was released in 2004.
After signing to Universal Records, Prince released 3121 in 2006. His summer 2007 tour included 21 nights at London's O2 arena. The tickets, priced œ31.21, included a free copy of his latest album.