Saturday, April 1, 2017

Prince, Interviewed

There is a hilarious interview with Prince by CNBC commentator Maria Bartiromo in which he refuses to sing, but offers to accompany her while she sings. Confusion ensues:

I like this because Prince is a creative guy and creative people like to do things differently whenever possible. In a typical celebrity interview, and they are almost all typical, the celebrity is basically performing their celebrity. But here, Prince just acts like a musician. Hey, you want to make some music, let's make some music. I'll play guitar and you sing. If Bartiromo were as creative as Prince, she would have at least tried. After all, everyone can sing, it is just that some do it better than others. So what comes across is how terribly afraid Maria is of people hearing her try to sing on television. That's the real story here. Clever how Prince does that...

So ask yourself: what would you have done in this situation? There is an easy and obvious solution, even if you don't know a single song by Prince. Everything is an improvisation. So you don't know Delirious from 1999? Doesn't matter, just sing anything. You don't even need words. Just riff on the lick he is playing on the guitar. Then you would be making music with Prince. And you can be sure if you sing something other than the lick he is playing, he will pick up on it and fool around with it. That's how it works. But what is interesting is how Maria won't allow herself to sing a single note. She thinks that it is just a joke, but it isn't. He really isn't going to sing. He'll play guitar, ok, but you have to sing. Actually, this is a fascinating clip because it shows what has happened to us, as a culture. Due to the professionalization of music, ordinary people feel that they are not allowed to be musical in public. And isn't that a shame.

You don't know any blues?

UPDATE: I keep thinking of things Maria Bartiromo could have done or said that would have made the interview more fun, or at least, less embarrassing! How about breaking out with "I got the Prince came on my show and refused to sing and I had to blues .... for Christmas!" Or, "I'm Italian, I only sing Puccini and Verdi? Do you know O mio babbino caro?"


Will Wilkin said...

So its obvious we agree that the professional music industry has crystalized a divide between those "good enough" to make music and the rest of us who keep it down even in the shower out of embarrassment of our sounds.

Bryan Townsend said...

I think both the causes and the result are pretty complex. But one thing is true: the arts have been turned largely into commercial enterprises and this has had some unfortunate consequences. Most people conclude that they are, as you say, not "good enough" to make music or paint or whatever. And arts institutions are run on commercial principles. A minor side effect is that when people decide they want to get involved in some artistic endeavor, people pop up who teach them as kind of a therapeutic practice.