As more and more celebrities share their tributes to Prince following his death on April 21, I'm realizing that there is still so much brilliance to share about him and his spirit. In an appearance on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Stevie Wonder shared heartbreaking words about Prince's death and opened up about the "Purple Rain" singer's true musical genius.
We already know that Prince was a once-in-a-lifetime artist. Aside from being a talented songwriter, visionary, and public figure, he was a true musician, in every sense of the word. Prince could play many instruments and on the notes for his debut album, For You , he is credited as playing ALL of the 27 instruments on the recordings. That's right, 27 instruments, which include, but are not limited to: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, bass synth, singing bass, electric piano, acoustic piano, mini-Moog, poly-Moog, Arp string ensemble, clavinet, drums, slapsticks, bongos, congas, and finger cymbals.
As a prolific musician himself, Wonder took the time to speak about how Prince worked to create his music. He told Cooper,
He was a great musician. He loved music. He loved playing his instrument. The times that we did jam together were amazing with all of the various people that he would bring together, and most of all he brought all the various cultures together. He could play classical music if he wanted to. He could play jazz if he wanted to, he could play country if he wanted to. He played rock, you know, he played blues. He played pop. He played everything... And [he was] very cognizant of what his responsibility was as a musician and a human being.
Wonder was visibly shaken throughout the interview, freely crying at one point, while giving beautiful insights about his experiences with Prince.
Wonder continued emotionally through the interview, opening up to Cooper about his immediate reaction and shock to the news of his death. He said,
I didn't believe it as I find it so hard to believe. You know, in this journey of music, we as artists that create the reflection of society and reflect, really the people that really want to see a better world, a better people, a unity of people, all those things — as did his music do and will continue to do for those of us who will continue to listen to it — it's a heartbreak to lose a member of that army of love.
I appreciate Wonder sharing this account of his friendship with Prince and his creative process. It's just another comforting reminder that we were lucky to witness and hear his genius, and we can always visit him through his music when he's missed.