When Science Met Nature…

Prince performs at half time during Super Bowl XLI between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears at Dolphins Stadium in Miami, Florida on February 4, 2007. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

Jessica’s Science Blog- 04.21.18

A personal tribute to Prince

Dear Prince,

Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota

I saw you perform live at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was June 2001. You were playing for your hometown crowd in a giant indoor arena. I was a junior in college, in town to collect data on chimpanzee activity periods at the Jane Goodall Institute in St. Paul.

Even though I was in the nosebleed seats, I could see you on the big screen manipulating your guitar strings as if they were an extension of your hand. So seemingly effortless. You played a wide ranging set, including many songs I’d never heard before. I was there alone. Had you ever attended a concert alone?

It was a lonely month for me in Minnesota. I took myself on solo dates to the movies, the park, the zoo, Mall of America, and even a Twins game at the Metrodome. Then there was your concert. I can’t fully express how much your music meant to me. The countless hours I spent listening to your CDs in my room. In my college dorm. In grad school. Dancing to your songs gave me…a sense of freedom. I mean, even today “Darling Nikki” sounds risqué.

Prince performing at Coachella. Credit: Barry Brecheisen/WireImage

You shattered the pop mold with funky tracks like, “Erotic City, “Sexy M.F.”, “Peach”, “Cream,” and “Kiss.” Your falsetto was on point, and your deep register was rich. Where did you get this range? I’ll never forget watching you slay your guitar solos on covers of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” in 2004 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and “Creep” in 2008 at Coachella. You were a true virtuoso.

Your music liberated me from my Catholic guilt. You taught me that I didn’t have to be embarrassed by my sexuality. It was something to be celebrated! I admired your talent: your vocals, mad guitar skills, dancing in heels, groundbreaking fashion, sexual ambiguity, and on and on. It must have been incredibly hard being you. Especially being a young black kid growing up in a predominately white Minneapolis. I’ve heard it said that you were epileptic until the age of 7… and that your parents were strict and not very supportive or loving.

You took that pain and put it into your music. You inspired millions of people around the world with your music. Purple Rain was a masterpiece. You dared to be different. You were a prolific songwriter and performer. I’m floored by the LONG list of your performances, dating back to the ’70s. I wish that I could have seen you in concert…just one more time.

…”But all I can do is just offer you my love.” – Diamonds and Pearls

Rest in Peace, beautiful one.



If you liked this post, be sure to check out my previous blog entries on When Science Met Nature….

MAR: Feed your microbiome wisely!

FEB: Warriors of cold and flu season

JAN: Adult snow days

NOV: Gorillas have sex, too

OCT: Frogs and spiders, oh my! Surprising food web dynamics in neotropical swamps

SEP: The Long Trail

JUN, JUL, AUG: Tales from a far-flung forest: parts 1, 2, and 3,

MAY: We can be heroes! Finding your community on iNaturalist

FROM 2016: The health benefits of yoga: A scientific perspective.