(Fuck So Pretty – A Prince Story… with Kyle F)
Like everyone I was shocked and devastated to hear the news of Prince’s death. Immediately I was going through my vinyl to find every 7", 12" and LP I had of his work so I could listen and think. So many Prince songs have an individual meaning for me – they spark some specific memory, transport me to some place, or give me some emotion. Two of them in particular stand out…
“Erotic City”, b-side from “Let’s Go Crazy”, released 1984
When I was little I used to get taken along to bars so my mother could unwind after work. One of them was called O’Leary’s, on Wells Street near downtown Chicago. While my mother would drink I’d be in the back playing their Ms Pac Man arcade game. The other bar, whose name and location I don’t remember, had a fantastic jukebox. My favourite song to play was by Prince – not the big hit “Let’s Go Crazy” but its b-side “Erotic City”.
I remember that it had this power to attract single ladies to the dance-floor who couldn’t resist a dance with this cute little boy with the dirty mind. I recall a lot of high heels, tight dresses and huge hair, and me in the middle. Mostly I was oblivious to the song’s lyrics, apart from the stand-out line from the chorus: "we can fuck until the dawn, makin’ love ‘til cherry’s gone". But as I grew older, I grew more and more into this little boy with the dirty mind, the guy who was kinda nerdy but had the naughty streak that always shocked and surprised.
But here’s what’s so meaningful about Prince’s naughtiness. I don’t feel like he did it to shock. He wrote about fucking ‘cos he was just really into fucking. Know what I mean? It was authentic, not business-orientated. A true artist, he did what he was feeling. And that was a great influence to me, constantly worrying that I’m maybe doing the wrong thing but doing it anyway because it feels right and authentic.
“Little Red Corvette”, from 1999, released 1982
Another filthy little song but whose sexyness was mostly in its delivery. There was a time when I was a musician, almost as prolific a song-writer as Prince, but without even close to the level of talent. Like Prince, I wrote a lot of sexy songs, but my lack of confidence and self-esteem made me too self-conscious to perform them.
I remember preparing to cover “Little Red Corvette” for a live show, and struggling to let myself go as I practiced. Prince’s delivery is so fucking hot, I practically get a hard-on every time I listen to it. And for me, if I wasn’t getting my audience hard or wet during the performance, then I wasn’t going to bother.
Eventually I did perform it at the club Alchemia in Krakow, Poland. Despite the constant voice in my head saying “you can’t sing these sexy songs because people will laugh at you – they’d never believe anyone would want to have sex with a guy like you”, I performed one of my most explicit shows. And I included “Little Red Corvette”. It was the last live show I ever did, as if being able to unleash that real, honest sexual side of me finally in public was the release I needed. It was a breakthrough. Prince was another little boy with a dirty mind, but he didn’t care what people thought. He had confidence, conviction and a lot of courage.
Shocked to see Prince go so young, and I wanted to write something about what his work meant to me.