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15 Prince Quotes on Art, Freedom, and Cool

Prince’s appeal and acclaim extend far beyond his musical genius — though that is, no doubt, what initially catapulted him to superstardom in the late 1970s, '80s, and beyond. The artist, widely considered to be one of the greatest musicians of his generation, was also a rule-breaker, a peace-lover, and an advocate for artistic freedom and expression throughout his lifetime.

Born in 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Prince famously got a record deal with Warner Bros. Records when he was 19, and his star just kept rising from there. In his lifetime, he produced an incredible 42 studio albums, including the ever-popular soundtrack for the 1984 film Purple Rain and his 1982 album, 1999. He took home seven Grammys and a whopping 33 nominations over the course of his musical career. His sound was a unique blend of funk, soul, R&B, synth-pop, rock, jazz, and even hip-hop, and his voice was distinctly ethereal. In a 2016 Vulture article following Prince’s untimely death at age 57, one critic said, “He could sound innocent, forlorn, bluesy, funny, horny, seductive, desperate, mysterious, and like a cyborg (he does that all over 1999).”

Beyond his dexterous musicality, Prince was also a style icon and progressive trendsetter. He was known for his androgynous wardrobe and gender-fluid fashion sense, often playing with makeup, glitter, and frills in his stage outfits. According to his eldest sibling, Sharon Nelson, Prince especially loved wearing purple because “it made him feel princely.” The color purple has since come to be associated with other characteristics Prince embodied, such as a defiance of gender norms and flamboyance. Prince was also a huge advocate for women in the music industry, and made a point to have a strong female presence in his bands. In short, he was an artist who walked the walk and truly believed that music could be a way to heal the world. Below, we’ve rounded up 15 of Prince’s most illuminating, insightful quotes through the years, reminders of the enormous, far-reaching legacy he left behind.

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

I find freedom sexy. I find freedom so sexy, I can’t even explain it to you. You wake up every day and feel like you can do anything.

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

A strong spirit transcends rules.

Sometimes it takes years for a person to become an overnight success.

Cool means being able to hang with yourself. All you have to ask yourself is “Is there anybody I’m afraid of? Is there anybody who if I walked into a room and saw, I’d get nervous?” If not, then you’re cool.

I had a massive ego. Massive. But that’s not such a bad thing. Because at least you’re aspiring to be something, you consider yourself great because you want to be great.

That’s what makes the world go around. We all need each other, and again, it’s about good mentoring and good teachers. I had a lot of good people around.

Like books and Black lives, albums still matter.

Art is about building a new foundation, not just laying something on top of what’s already there.

I want to make heart decisions in business. If you can’t do that, you’re not free. I want to be able to dictate which way I’m going to go.

I’ve grown up, everyone’s got to grow up. But there’s something inside me, I’m always going to have that little sort of — how do you say? — child streak.

Everyone has their own experience. That’s why we are here, to go through our experience, to learn, to go down those paths and eventually you may have gone down so many paths and learned so much that you don’t have to come back again.

People fascinate me. They’re amazing! Life fascinates me! And I’m no more fascinated by my own life than by anyone else’s.

When you wake up, each day looks the same, so each day should be a new beginning.

Photo credit: Pictorial Press Ltd/ Alamy Stock Photo

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About the Author
Joyce Chen
Joyce Chen is a writer, editor, and community builder based in Seattle, Washington.
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