It's been said way too often, but with every sudden passing, it bears repeating — 2016 sucks.
It may be arbitrary to base the experience of a year — one that we've barely gotten through halfway — on a single factor, but it's been a devastating few months to witness the passing of several key figures in music and entertainment: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, George Martin, Maurice White, Glenn Frey, Phife Dawg, among many others. Now, Prince has sadly joined the list, and his death has birthed a similarly widespread act of grief that we've not seen since Bowie in January.
And for good reason. Not only has Prince been a zeitgeist-capturing cultural icon, he also laid an innovative and uncompromising vision through several musically-enriching, genre-defying records that have since been regarded as some of the greatest of all-time. He was also one of the most unique voices in music, an exceptionally energetic live performer, and a technically-astounding musician in his own right.
To cut it short, Prince mattered. But even in death, he still does.
We've gathered tributes from a few Singaporean musicians who've believed his music has mattered in their lives. Read them all here.
TIM DE COTTA (TAJ, L.A.B.)
Prince never cared what he came across as to anyone. He was wild and free but also rooted in so much soul and funk that he made it cool for the masses. He kept inspiring newer and newer cohorts of artists bringing forward the best elements of the genre and making it for the masses with his own touch. He was so unique and quirky yet majestic and royal in his music, that he will live forever in all of the music you hear today.
He preferred to be controversial yet touch so many lives and will continue to do so long after his passing. True legend. He pushed it high man.
DEAN CHEW (Darker Than Wax)
Well it's a shock nonetheless, and he represented a certain dying breed of artists and creativity that's becoming a rarity in this age of instant gratification.
VANESSA FERNANDEZ (Vandetta)
Heavy way to start the day, hearing that the legendary Prince has passed away. Your music is a gift and will continue to inspire the millions of people who have found joy in it even though you are no longer with us.
MOHAMED HANIS B ISHAK (Spacedays, pictured centre)
To be honest, my appreciation and love for Prince grew pretty late on. I had listened to 1999 and Purple Rain back in Secondary School but I just could not dig it. In fact, I remember I was just skipping almost all the songs except 'When Doves Cry'. Doves is an epic tune!
But, it was only in NS, I began to appreciate the wonder of his exploration of love and his fierce individuality in his music. It hit me at a time when I was feeling isolated and everything just clicked and resonated. I spent many nights in my bunk listening to his songs. It really helps that his songs are super funky too! It was just a jam.
Last night, when it was announced that Prince had died, it really hit hard. Even harder than when Bowie passed earlier. To many people, he is lauded for being a forward thinker, a genius, a seriously funky cat with an enigmatic personality. He is all of those things but more than that, his music was and will always be my friend.
Prince, like David Bowie — but much more directly — gave me the freedom to explore my own sense of funk, spirituality, sexuality, artistry, and self-expression in music.
He, along with my childhood violin teacher are the biggest influences on me. He made me feel alright to be short, skinny, different and completely uncompromising in my art form. I was fortunate enough to meet and work with a few of his former band mates like Dr Fink and Maya & Nandy McClean and I saw how his influence and magic rubbed off on them.
Prince is in every note I play. He taught me to express myself in a sensitive way, in a falsetto, and to get deep and funky with my music too, if I wanted to.
His passing makes me feel that life is delicate, so always express yourself and do your best in whatever field you are in while you are still willing and able.