Prince did not always keep his opinions to himself during his life, and his fans are learning more about his musical tastes even after death. In a recently unearthed letter, the Purple One made it clear he did not think much of singers Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran, accusing the music industry of trying to force them on listeners. The letter was unearthed by Dan Piepenbring, a die-hard Prince fan the singer hired to write a memoir before his death.
"We need to tell them that they keep trying to ram Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran down our throats and we don’t like it no matter how many times they play it," Prince wrote in the letter, reports The Guardian.
Piepenbring was hired to co-write the memoir, now titled The Beautiful Ones, in 2016. At the time, he was writing for the literary journal Paris Review. He worked on the book for three months before Prince's tragic death in April 2016 from a fentanyl overdose.
"He had a great, deadpan and warm sense of humour. I was surprised by his autonomy and his ability to put people around him, including me, at ease," Piepenbring said of Prince.
The writer thought he was going to write a traditional memoir for a rock god, but Prince wanted this to be something more.
"The fact that he wanted to produce something so formalist and postmodern and strange was the most surprising thing," he said. "Especially because, at this point in his career, he was writing songs in various generic modes rather than, as he did in the 1980s, shattering those modes. But what a burden! There’s no guarantee it would have been readable, or necessarily true to what he had imagined."
The last time Piepenbring and Prince spoke was four days before his death. During that conversation, Prince was surprisingly reflective on his parents' influence. Piebenbring was asked if he thought Prince was in pain at the time.
"My thinking on this changes hour to hour," he told The Guardian. "There were moments when I was certain he must have known because to do those stripped-down Piano & A Microphone shows and to pair that with an autobiography seems so summative. It’s rooted in a past that for the longest time he would have eschewed. Prince may have known he was in poor health, but there’s a difference between that and knowing he was dying."
After Prince died, the book was in a "mess," Piepenbrig said, and he was not sure if he could even finish it. He did gain access to Paisley Park archives, but that did not make things easy. The piles of paperwork were disorganized.
The final product includes cartoons Prince drew as a kid, his memories of his first kiss and watching R-rated movies as a kid, along with the letter about Perry and Sheeran.
In a letter about his mother, Prince wrote, "She would spend up what little $ the family had 4 survival on partying with her friends, then trespass in2 my bedroom, ‘borrow’ my personal $ that N’d gotten from babysitting local kids, & then chastise me 4 even questioning her regarding the broken promise she made 2 pay me back."0comments
The Beautiful Ones, named after a song on the Purple Rain album, will be released on Tuesday.
Photo credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for NPG Records 2013/Getty Images