Logically, Prince would have inherited some musical talent. Born to a jazz singer, his mother Mattie Della, and a pianist and songwriter, his father John Lewis Nelson, Prince began playing music at 7-years old. Quickly it became apparent that he was unique, and he wasn't merely a singer or guitarist or songwriter. Prince literally could do it all. He was a virtuoso, a musical polyglot. Seamlessly fluent in any instrument he put his mind to, he could dissect it and then reach heights with it that shocked his audiences.
At 20-years old, he released his first album, "For You." Prince is credited with performing every instrument on it, all vocals, and all songwriting. The credits go on to list 27 instruments, including moogs, piano, and various percussion and strings.
He would release 39 studio albums, 103 singles, dozens of compilations, live albums, etc. He also made 152 music videos AND penned songs for several other artists, including; Cyndi Lauper, Patti LaBelle, Paula Abdul, Kate Bush, Ani Difranco, NoDoubt, Stevie Wonder, Janelle Monáe, and others.
His musical style was unlike anything people were accustomed to hearing; his shows just as awe-inducing. He took inspiration from everywhere and everyone. Prince would weave elements of funk, R&B, Latin, country, rock, new wave, classical, soul, synth-pop, psychedelia, pop, jazz, industrial, and hip hop into his work —creating something special and otherworldly. He is considered one of his generation's greatest musicians by critics, peers, and fans worldwide.
Below is one of our favorite interviews from 1999. Airing shortly after Prince had changed his name to a symbol, he and the late Larry King discuss his career, the name change, and more: