Prince Rogers Nelson (born June 7, 1958), better known as simply Prince, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. He has been known under the unpronounceable symbol, which he used between 1993 and 2000. During that period he was frequently referred to in the media as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince", often abbreviated to "TAFKAP", or simply "The Artist".
Prince produced ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. Prince founded his own recording studio and label, writing, self-producing and playing most, or all, of the instruments on his recordings. In addition, Prince has been a "talent promoter" for the careers of Sheila E., Carmen Electra, The Time and Vanity 6, and has written songs for these artists and others (including Chaka Khan, The Bangles, and Sinéad O'Connor).
Prince also has several hundred unreleased songs in his "vault". He has won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the first year he was eligible.
In that same year Rolling Stone ranked Prince #28 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Prince's music has been influenced by rock, R&B, soul, funk, rap, blues, New Wave, electronica, disco, psychedelia, folk, jazz, and pop. His artistic influences include Sly & the Family Stone, Parliament-Funkadelic, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Duke Ellington, Curtis Mayfield, and Stevie Wonder. Prince pioneered the "Minneapolis sound", a hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, R&B and New Wave that has influenced many other musicians.
Prince has a wide vocal range and is known for his flamboyant stage presence and costumes.
Prince Rogers Nelson was born June 7, 1958, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to John L. Nelson and Mattie Shaw. Prince's father was a pianist and songwriter and his mother was a jazz singer. Prince was named after his father, whose stage name was Prince Rogers, and who performed with a jazz group called the Prince Rogers Trio. In a 1991 interview with A Current Affair, Prince's father said, "I named my son Prince because I wanted him to do everything I wanted to do." Prince's childhood nickname was Skipper.
In a PBS interview Prince told Tavis Smiley that he was "born epileptic" and "used to have seizures" when he was young. During the interview Prince also said that "my mother told me one day I walked in to her and said, 'Mom, I'm not going to be sick anymore,' and she said 'Why?' and I said 'Because an angel told me so.' "
Prince's sister Tika Evene (usually called Tyka) was born in 1960. Both siblings developed a keen interest in music, and this was encouraged by their father. Prince wrote his first tune, "Funk Machine" on his father's piano when he was seven. Prince's parents then separated when Prince was ten years old. Following their separation, Prince constantly switched home: sometimes he lived with his father, and sometimes with his stepfather. Finally he moved into the home of a neighbor, the Andersons, and befriended their son, Andre Anderson who later became known as André Cymone.
Prince and Anderson joined Prince's cousin, Charles Smith, in a band called Grand Central while they were attending Minneapolis's Central High School. Smith was later replaced by Morris Day on the drums. Prince played piano and guitar for the band which performed at clubs and parties in the Minneapolis area. Grand Central later changed its name to Champagne and started playing original music influenced by Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Miles Davis, Parliament-Funkadelic, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, and Todd Rundgren. Prince also played basketball in high school.