Prince , original name Prince Rogers Nelson, later called the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, the Artist, and (born June 7, 1958, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.—died April 21, 2016, Chanhassen, Minnesota), singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer, dancer, and performer on keyboards, drums, and bass who was among the most talented American musicians of his generation. Like Stevie Wonder, he was a rare composer who could perform at a professional level on virtually all the instruments he required, and a considerable number of his recordings feature him in all the performing roles. Prince’s recording career began with funk and soul marketed to a black audience; his early music also reflected the contemporary musical impact of disco. Later records incorporated a vast array of influences, including jazz, punk, heavy metal, the Beatles, and hip-hop, usually within an overall approach most informed by funky up-tempo styles and soulful ballads; the latter often featured his expressive falsetto singing.
Taking an early interest in music, Prince began playing the piano at age 7 and had mastered the guitar and drums by the time he joined his first band at age 14. With very few African American residents, his hometown, Minneapolis, Minnesota, was an unlikely site for the development of a major black star, but Prince even managed to lead other local musicians, most notably Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, to major success.
Mirrored by correspondingly intense music, Prince’s lyrics often address sexuality and desire with frankness and imagination. Much of his work, in its lyrics and imagery, struggles with the constriction of social conventions and categories. As one of his biographers put it, “The whole thrust of Prince’s art can be understood in terms of a desire to escape the social identities thrust upon him by simple virtue of his being small, black, and male.”
Prince explored typographical oddities in his song titles and lyrics as another way of evading convention. In 1993 he announced that he had changed his name to a