Prince Rogers Nelson (born June 7, 1958), known from 1993 to 2000 as an unpronounceable symbol (or informally, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, Tafkap, or simply The Artist), is a popular American musician. He had 1984’s biggest hit song in the US with “When Doves Cry” and is best known for his album and movie “Purple Rain”.
During the 1980s Prince was comparable with the “mega-superstars” of Michael Jackson & Madonna in terms of star power and sales. However, his popularity has waned since the mid 90s. None could match the formidable breadth of his talents, which included not just singing and dancing but also composing, producing, and playing instruments (not to mention directing videos and movies). In fact, Prince played nearly all the instruments on his first five albums, and has produced himself since signing with Warner Bros. at age 15 (Rolling Stone).
His music has spanned myriad styles; from his early material, rooted in funk and soul, he has constantly expanded his musical palette throughout his career, absorbing many other genres including new wave, pop, rock, blues, jazz and hip hop. Born in Minneapolis, he has based his entire career in Minnesota. He now resides in Los Angeles.
The distinctive characteristics of the early-to-mid 1980s work that raised him to super-stardom - which includes industrial sounding drum machine arrangements, the use of synthesizer riffs to serve the role of horn riffs traditionally used in earlier R&B, funk and soul music - became known as “the Minneapolis sound”.