Date printed: Mon 19th Feb 2018 3:45am PST
JUNE7's EXCLUSIVE 'ORG' INTERVIEW w/ SHARON NELSON - PART I
1ST I want to thank Ms. Sharon Nelson for taking the time and answering the questions we submitted to her. She didn’t have to do this and take the heat from anyone, but we’re glad she braved the ‘Org’ waters and did it! Thank you so much!
2nd I want to thank Mr. Charles F. Spicer, Jr. for helping me set this up. Sir, you are so amazing in getting this done. You were always prompt and responsive to everything and even so graciously put up with my delays! So, again, thank you, sir!
3rd I want to thank Ben & Val for allowing me to do this in this venue – what better place for this to take place! You guys are awesome – and I love when you are in L.A. and we get together – hopefully soon!
4th I want to thank my fellow moderators Militant, OldFriends4Sale and especially luv4u who all contributed in getting this done, either with wonderful support and council or by helping with the questions and organizing. You guys are awesome!
5th I want to thank the members of the ‘Org’ who respectfully asked the questions for Ms. Sharon to answer.
In order to straighten out the history behind how this came about, I thought I’d write a little note.
A little while ago, Ms. Sharon posted a YouTube video about the upcoming album release of John L. Nelson (Her & Prince’s father). I noticed on this post she was thanking those who posted on the page directly, and I thought ‘wow, how awesome is that!’. So, I posted a note on there, asking if she’d be interested in doing a full on Q&A on the ‘Org’ for members to ask questions about her brother and what’s going on with the estate and his music. Imagine my surprise when she, through her business advisor Charles F. Spicer, Jr., answered so quickly saying that she’d love to do so! After some small agreements back and forth, and threads and questions – here we are.
----- THE INTERVIEW --------------
I want to make sure that you are aware the interview you are about to read has not been edited or changed in any way (other than spacing and adding the color purple coding to her answers, which is how she sent them to me) – what you are seeing is exactly how it was sent to me, and exactly how the questions were asked by our members. I hope you all enjoy this exclusive interview with Ms. Sharon Nelson.
However, Ms. Sharon is a very busy person, what with all that is going on in the estate and with the release of her father’s music. As a result, she couldn’t answer all of the questions all at once, so this Q&A will be done in III parts. This being part I. Keep in mind, all questions submitted by you will be answered, if not in this one, then in the other II – unless, of course it was deemed too personal or insensitive, then it would not be answered at all. Of course, this was at her discretion.
I hope you enjoy this interview, and I look forward to posting the other II parts very soon.
Tomás G Robinson – aka June7
Sharon also shared with us these two links to her current project with the John L Nelson Project.
QUESTIONS - PRINCE
Greetings Prince. Org family, first and foremost, I want to thank you all for the kind words and expressions of sympathy regarding our brother. He truly has the best fans ever and I appreciate the opportunity to be asked to participate in a Q & A with you. I was not able to provide answers to every question and have not completed going through all of them, so please pardon me I will be getting more to you as time permits.
So let’s begin.
In regards to the Vault, could you please enlighten the Org with the following:
1.) Has the Vault been inventoried, and if so, what is the amount of material in the Vault?
The tapes are housed behind the silver door known as the vault and there is a lot of content that it is still being looked at this time.
2.) Aside from legal contracts, what is the probability of the contents being released?
Contents from the Vault will be released, however, we just ask the fans to be patient. It should be noted that we know there is a variety of suggestions by fans about what they would like to have released but it may help us if the fans can come to a consensus together to let us know what they would like to hear or see. I know that may be quite challenging to the satisfaction of everyone.
3.) Are there currently any plans for preservation and digitalizing the Vault Material?
Yes, Vault content is preserved and will be digitized.
4.) Aside from the audio and video contents, are there a vast amount of photos or miscellaneous items in the Vault that most are not commonly aware of?
Prince liked to keep stuff so there is all sorts of photos and miscellaneous items.
5.) Lastly, were there really multiple Vaults?
Yes, there is an outside room called the vault, then there is the actual vault, and a video vault that exists the editing room also.
This is one you probably get asked constantly, but do you know what the next Vault release will be?
We currently do not have the next vault release identified, however, if the fans can come together and make 2 suggestions we can consider them.
And can you give us any more information about the rumors of the 1983 First Avenue Benefit Concert DVD being shopped around?
We do not have any information on this to share at this time.
And secondly, what do you wish the world knew about Prince that they don't know already?
While he was a very quiet person he was always contemplating his next move
I was wondering what the current state of the music left in the vault is? Has it been catalogued, or digitized? There are rumors that much of the music from the 80s has been degraded or damaged by time. Do you have any knowledge of how it's held up?
Considering that a lot of the magnetic tape is quite old there is probably a little degradation, however with today’s digital technology this is not something that we are that concerned about, it can be re-mastered and digitized to restore the sound quality.
Could you please please please elaborate on the state of Prince's vaults, is there any work being done to preserve the contents and are their any plans of releasing archival projects like the Bob Dylan sets or The Beatles sets? With singles, promo's, testpressing versions of songs and of course outtakes and video releases (Blu-ray or DVD) all remastered by professionals who understand and steer clear of the horrors of the "loudness wars"?
I think a 21 nights in London DVD set would be a good option, do you agree? There is a lot to choose from which doesn’t make it easy. If the fans can come to a majority decision on what they will support regarding releases that will assist in the decision on what gets released.
Rumors have spread through the Prince fan community about the Vault(s) not being in very good condition. Prince would record so much and often move onto the next project so quickly that previous recorded material (tapes) were not preserved properly leading to deterioration. Some have even said that he had older tapes destroyed or recorded over older material.
Can you give us the truth on the state of the vault? Has it been gone through by family? Isit being properly curated and preserved?
Having had a chance to review some of the various links and postings here on the org, there are a lot of rumours, take it all with a grain of salt as they say, there happens to be a lot of people who think they know but actually don’t.
How do you feel about celebrities like Stevie Nicks and Jay Z speaking out about Prince? Stevie Nicks recently gave an interview about Prince that was very disrespectful (in my opinion) and then of course the lyric of Jay Z's new song was throwing some disrepect around also.
I personally don’t think much about the Stevie Nicks comment it’s all opinion, as for Jay Z he listened to my brothers song Controversy and then he talks about the estate in order to create controversy to sell his new album, pretty clever. Some of his comments in the one song in particular shows he didn’t do his homework regarding what is really going on which was totally inaccurate on his part.
Also, did Prince ever show an interest in putting out some of his father's songs?
Prince did express an interest in dad’s music but as for putting it out he was waiting for me to do it.
What was your favorite song of Prince's and why was it your favorite?
Purple Rain is my favorite, I heard the melody of that first from our dad.
I would love an audio of your brother simply being silly and funny and laughing.
Respectfully how often did you see him in the last 10 yrs and
I lived in NYC for over 40 years so whenever he was in town we did our best to make time to get together.
Until recently, Paisley Park were having viewings of some unreleased live shows. Seeing material like that is a dream for many of us. Will such shows ever be made available to purchase in one form or another? Most of us can't get to Paisley Park to see them.
We intend to release great content for all to enjoy.
Would the estate consider releasing the "Piano And Microphone" Gala shows (January 21st) and "Piano And Microphone" Tour shows as a box set like several high calibre legacy artists like Prince have done in the past?
We will definitely consider this.
Is there any immediate plans to release the memoirs Prince was writing at the time of death?
At this time we are still waiting and unsure of the status of this project.
How soon will the "Black On Both Sides" album, Prince finished recording with Kirk Johnson, Adrian Crutchfield and Mononeon recording in February of 2016?
Not sure about this one at this time.
Lastly, the album Prince recorded with the late great John Blackwell, Andrew Gouche, Marcus Anderson and Xavier called "NPGQ", will this album be released in the near future? I think the general public should hear the the last projects that Prince worked on that was mainly improvisational with great musicians of jazz and fusion backgrounds.
I will note this but as you can imagine we have so much to consider.
I think with Prince’s material the sky is the limit, we are thinking about so many options to move forward and get the music to you guys.
We have talked and are considering options for releasing content independently.
Yes this is a great idea that we are also considering; there are so many options in addition to new innovative ways to provide content. Prince was not only a great musician but also an innovator when it came to thinking out of the box and we want to continue that for him.
We know Prince was often writing poetry along with lyrics of course. He also displayed an interest in photography. WOuld there ever be a chance we'd see a book with his photography and poetry together. Tha would be quite a special item. I, for one, would love to see the world through his camera lens. Just a thought.
Prince would hire a photographer, I don’t recall him ever putting any real interest in photography as a hobby.
I just wanted you to give a little bit of a background of how you worked with Prince early on and possibly when he went to NY early on.
Upon graduating high school, prince came to live with me in Rahway NJ to pursue a record deal. I took him to NYC to many of the labels, and I was the one who introduced him to NYC nightlife, taking him to clubs that wouldn’t start after midnight and this experience is the reason why he would start his after parties and after shows late into the night. I would tell him in New York people don’t come out to party until after midnight and stuck with him.
Did Prince sing when he was younger also, or did he just play instruments?
When he was about 12 or 13 years old he lived with our Aunt Olivia on 4th ave and he started singing around that time.
The question I would like 2 ask is have u met any of Prince's associates and if so what is your opinion of them?
In general all his associates respected and loved Prince, I had the opportunity to meet many of them who are great people, Prince associated with great people.
Also what is your favourite song that Prince wrote 4 another singer or group?
I feel for you Chaka Khan
Just a quick question about the "youngens" in your family. Are there any sons, daughters, nieces or nephews interested in musical careers?
In fact there is, our brother Johnny has a grandson who is talented and quite special.
What was Prince like growing up with him? Was he as shy then as he was an adult?
Prince was very reserved, there were only a few people that he would hand pick to align himself with.
My other question was how did your family feel about his sexually explicit songs when they first came out such as Head and Sister for example?
Our family would simply say, well that’s Prince. He was great at exemplifying the point that mystique, controversy and sex sell! He studied the greats like Little Richard, Jackie Wilson, etc.
Pook (org monkey)
Prince was very curious about what his fans were saying and thinking, he was very aware of the various boards that exist.
During his career, Prince made many private donations and charitable acts to help out others - can you share any examples of these that we might not know about already?
Prince helped me out and performed charitable acts for our family.
Please share a memory of a special brother/sister connection you had with Prince.
As special moment I recall is Prince presenting me with a birthday cake and candles on my one of my birthdays. Another unforgettable moment was being on the stage at the Orange Bowl in Miami I think in 85, during the Purple Rain Tour.
How many Prince concerts did you go to?
I went to many concerts, can’t really count them all sometimes 2 and 3 shows back to back.
The only question I would have is relating to hobbies. Was he into other things besides his music?
Prince liked to doodle and write.
1) How many songs approx. are there in the vault?
2) Did Prince ever grow to love soccer the same as basketball?
3 Was Jeannette Gutierrez any good at teaching him chess?
Is there any chance his first album (my favorite) will be remastered? I would really love to hear more direct voice.
That’s a consideration for WB
When did your family first realize Prince's talents? Did your family have any idea when he was younger how enormously talented he was, and how his talent would influence the world? When did you all first notice his talent?
Prince’s piano playing talent was noticed when he was 5, he would sit and listen to the radio and play the songs he heard.
If at all possible, would you be able to share a bit of information on what your brother was like as a child; a family story/experience that somewhat typifies or speaks to what he was like? Once again, thank you so much for doing this.
What many people do not know is that Prince had his own rules even as young person. Regardless of what he did what he wanted to do and when he wanted to do it.
Just a couple of questions from me:
What's your funniest or favourite Prince memory/story?
When Prince lived with me he wallpapered his room, the whole room with aluminum foil even the windows so there would be no light coming in. I finally was told the real reason why he did it from his friend who helped him put it up during his memorial service.
- What Prince was like out of stardom life (i.e. your brother)?
- regarding his sence of humour: what it a sway to test people in a way of creative thinking and honesty?
Prince was always testing people, he would tellfunny jokes and he would give everybody a nickname, you know he liked you if you got a nickname.
- what were his favourite movies (i.e. comedy, tragedy)?
Prince liked to watch black and white movies, Humphrey Bogart, etc.
tons of Prince-bootlegs are circulating on the internet.
Currently it seems that some stuff is quite easily available.
Sharing bootlegs is imho a way of showing respect to the work of your brother (as long as no one makes money with it).
Are there discussions among the community of heirs how to deal with that in the future?
What should be tolerated and accepted- in your opinion - when it comes to sharing Prince-bootlegs?
Music is art that is created by the artist and it should be respected and at the artist’s discretion as to how the fans get it.
Do you think that there's a chance for Hardcore fans to have a digital platform opened in the near future ?
We will consider this option as well, NPG Music Club was great
Could there possibly be early concert footage from the "For You" era?
This is something we do not know of at this time.
How, if at all, was your own life affected by Prince's fame?
It was really hard to get people to understand as Prince’s sister that I had a life to maintain and he was not responsible for me. I had my own life and career going on and didn’t ask him for anything which he respected greatly.
I'm very curious about how you and your siblings got along growing up. Many siblings don't get along with each other. How close were you all?
We got along very well as youth, when we became teenagers we went our own separate ways.
I am extremely excited about our Dad’s project we are receiving great reviews on the singles and mini promo, and we intend on making it available in all formats and will be planning to host a listening session at Paisley Park very soon.
* If possible, can u tell us the story behind this picture of u and ur brother?
I remember this as if it were yesterday, this photo was taken in NYC during the Lovesexy tour, we were at the Helmsley Palace, and my dad was with us, in fact dad took the photo.
I used to tell Prince when he visited me in New York, you will know you have made it when you play Madison Square Garden. That night at the concert, I remember him telling the audience, “ my sister told me when I play Madison Square Garden, I’ve officially made it, New York, I’m here!”
That night after the show we went to a club on 14th St. called Nell’s, and Prince saw someone eating French Fries and asked if we wanted to share some, he ordered a big plate of French fries with cheese, and then didn’t even eat any.
This same night Prince and Dad were looking at a girl in the club and this was where they started working on Scandalous together, exchanging lyrics on a napkin as if they were playing a game of tic tack toe right there at the table at Nell’s. We always had a wonderful time joining my brother on the road.
(PART II COMING SOON!)
Date printed: Mon 19th Feb 2018 3:45am PST