Prince’s ‘Purple High’ lives on through his vaulted music


Hayley Morgan

Prince is a worldwide inspiration to the music industry, and despite his passing three years ago, his legacy is kept alive by his music. This mural outside of Floyd’s 99 Barbershop downtown is a tribute to Prince and his impact on the world. “Prince is the greatest musician and performer of all time. Period. He changed the music industry forever…I just kept going back for more. It was truly a ‘Purple High,’” said DJ Dudley D.

Hayley Morgan, Staff Writer

Despite Prince’s passing three years ago, his legacy continues to live on. Prince’s music has had a major impact on the world, and his death has opened the public eye to many interesting aspects of his life. One of Prince’s biggest mysteries is his secret music vault, which holds thousands of unreleased songs and other unknown pieces. Prince’s legacy and music is an interesting topic, and the discovery of a vault filled with unreleased music adds to the mystery that often surrounded Prince. 

Sophomore Oskar McQuade is a big Prince fan and takes a lot of interest in his music. “My neighbor listened to him a lot, and she kind of introduced me to him. Then I just got all of his albums/records and loved his music and listened to it,” said McQuade. Prince’s music has reached all ages and demographics. People all over the world still listen to Prince, despite his death three years ago.

One of Prince’s dj’s, DJ Dudley D, has the inside scoop on many aspects of Prince’s musical career. “Prince is the greatest musician and performer of all time. Period. He changed the music industry forever,” he said. “His music changed my life. The second time I walked into Paisley Park he was performing. The sound, vibe, and atmosphere grabbed me and I will never be able to shake it. I just kept going back for more. It was truly a ‘Purple High,’” he continued.

Throughout Prince’s career, one of his biggest struggles was his battle with the music industry and big labels. “Very early Prince saw what the labels had that he didn’t: a recording studio,” said DJ Dudley D. Prince then went to take a $100 million advance from the Warner Brothers which he used to build a recording studio of his own. Now, most people know it as Paisley Park.

One main issue with his contract with Warner Brothers was that they had ownership of any song he wrote. “He once said his songs were like his children. They were personal to him. He didn’t want anyone to be in control of his creations. That is why he eventually changed his name to the unpronounceable symbol to get out of his contract with Warner Brothers and start the fight to gain control of his catalog,” said DJ Dudley D.

Many people supported this protest and it helped spark his unique legacy. “I think a lot of people thought that is was pretty cool that he was stepping away from some big label/corporation and did his own thing,” said McQuade. This simple act of changing his name to a symbol was something new to the music industry, as most artists don’t step away from big corporations as he did. 

One of the biggest controversies regarding Prince’s music is his music vault. After his passing, a vault filled with music and other pieces was discovered. Many people debate what should be done with the music, but most fans agree that the vaulted music should be released to the public. “His vault has been opened with a lot more music. He has thousands of songs in there that never got released. He once said in an interview that a lot of songs were more popular than Purple Rain, he just hasn’t released them,” said McQuade.

Leah Lewis-Frasier, a relative of Prince who is involved in the family, is very supportive of the vaulted music being released. When asked if she thinks the vaulted music should be released, she replied, “Oh yeah! This is the best way to remember what Prince did excellently. Come on now… those CD’s would fly off the shelves!”

DJ Dudley D knows more about the vault and the music inside than most of the public. “I never saw the vault. I recorded on some things that are in the vault, though. All I know is that he has thousands of finished songs and videos. Some are complete albums. From my understanding, Prince once said that everything in the vault would be released at some point over time. He didn’t leave instructions though,” he said.

While Prince’s legacy is still clearly relevant, some people would argue that it has changed significantly after his passing. “I think a lot more people have discovered his music after he died, he’s such a big inspiration now to lots of people,” said McQuade.

“I think just like any famous artist their body of work becomes a little more popular right after they pass. If anything, his passing has opened new sets of eyes to who he was and what his work was about,” said DJ Dudley D. “He was unique and made it okay to be different. He crossed musical genres like never before and changed music forever.”

Prince was unlike any other musical artist in history. He changed the music industry forever and paved the way for future artists. “When I first started out in this music industry, I was most concerned with freedom. Freedom to produce, freedom to play all the instruments on my records, freedom to say anything I wanted to say,” Prince once said. “Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people.”