Ebony intervista Prince e Joshua Welton

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Prince Makes King Move with Tidal [INTERVIEW]

On September 7, Prince’s ‘HitNRun’ album streams exclusively on Jay Z’s service. Prince grants EBONY.com editor Miles Marshall Lewis a rare interview about the music industry’s future

Never turn down an invitation to Paisley Park Studios. Days after receiving an invite to speak with 25-year-old producer Joshua Welton about HitNRun—next month’s Prince album, streaming exclusively on Jay Z’s Tidal service starting September 7—I made my first speedy pilgrimage to Minneapolis. Last year, Prince unveiled the 3rdeyegirl power trio (guitarist Donna Grantis, bassist Ida Kristine Nielsen and drummer Hannah Welton), his first new band since the New Power Generation debuted in 1990. PlectrumElectrum by Prince & 3rdeyegirl dropped alongside Prince’s Welton-coproduced Art Official Age last September. Both albums marked Prince’s most exciting work since his 1996 triple album, Emancipation.

“So when he comes in here, you can just hide that phone,” Welton advised with a laugh. After a run-through of HitNRun (a particularly funky, powerful album with guest appearances by Rita Ora and Judith Hill) and a quick interview, Prince came down to Studio B for a few surprise words about Tidal, music streaming and the record industry. He wore purple and gold like the Minnesota Vikings, MPLS emblazoned across his zip-down jacket. His Afro was back to its 1979 For You fullness. He was laid-back, full of conversation and, as usual, averse to being officially recorded for this exclusive EBONY.com interview.

EBONY: What made you decide to move your catalog to Tidal and away from the other streaming services, and why is HitNRun about to be exclusively available on Tidal?

Prince: Tidal is a new company, it’s brand new. They’re just getting their footing, and I think when there’s a company like that, or the OWN network—situations where we finally get into a position to run things—we all should help. It’s been a lot of fun.

We’ve changed the format of how our music appears. Where it would normally say “RELATED” and have a bunch of random stuff pop up—I love D’Angelo but he’s just getting started, he came way after—what we did is we changed that to INFLUENCES. Then all these black and white pictures come up and you can go back and look at all the people who influenced me. Then in each one of those situations, Tidal allowed us to go and work on those pages.

That’s the problem with these formats is that there’s a lot of laziness out there. They have to do so much, so a lot of times it’s just a program. It’s an algorithm. I didn’t want to be a part of that.

EBONY: What is your perfect model of the music industry? You’ve been vocal about the changes it needs to make for decades now.

Prince: Technology is getting all of humanity to the point where we’re gonna be able to dial up our own experience here. So I may have a version of it, and Jay Z may have a version of it, and Kendrick Lamar may have a version of it. There isn’t gonna be one size fits all. You could see that with hip-hop, really. They didn’t say “courtesy of,” they just jumped on people’s records when they felt like it. You’re talking about grown men asking another grown man permission to sing. So yeah, there is no perfect.

Different situations call for a different approach, a different set up. The Musicology Tour for example, when we bundled the record with the tour, it was perfect for that time.

EBONY: We’ve got this rare audience with you. What would you most like to express to the EBONY readership at the moment?

Prince: I’ve always made it a point when I’ve spoken with EBONY to encourage ownership. Because we can look at situations, with Tidal for example. Apple, Pandora, Rhapsody, Deezer, when you give them your record, you might get paid six months later. Beyoncé, her last album came out, $18 million went into the kitty the very next day. She didn’t get that money. She got paid on a royalty scale, just like all the other artists. That’s what I’m talking about.

LeBron James, his deal is a completely designer deal, completely different than any other basketball player. So that’s what we need for the future. To stay afloat, it’s gonna need the Kanye Wests and the Kendricks and people like that who can make product and get people excited about stuff. And they’re going to dictate what the deal is gonna look like. And that’s what’s fun about the times now.

Miles Marshall Lewis is the Arts & Culture Editor of EBONY.com. He’s also the Harlem-based author of Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have BruisesThere’s a Riot Goin’ On and Irrésistible. Follow MML on Twitter and Instagram @furthermucker.

Sorgente: Prince Makes King Move with Tidal [INTERVIEW] – Entertainment & Culture – EBONY

 

 

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Is Producing Prince Impossible? Ask Joshua Welton [INTERVIEW]

The Chicago native co-produced Prince’s ‘Art Official Age’ and next month’s ‘HitNRun.’ Welton speaks from Paisley Park Studios

Never turn down an invitation to Paisley Park. Less than a week after receiving an email invite to speak with 25-year-old producer Joshua Welton about HitNRun—next month’s Prince album, streaming exclusively on Jay Z’s Tidal service starting September 9—I made my first pilgrimage to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Last year, Prince unveiled the 3rdeyegirl power trio (guitarist Donna Grantis, bassist Ida Kristine Nielsen and drummer Hannah Welton), his first new band since the New Power Generation debuted in 1990.

PlectrumElectrum by Prince & 3rdeyegirl dropped alongside Prince’s Joshua Welton-coproduced Art Official Age last September. Both albums marked Prince’s strongest work since 1996’s Emancipation. Chicago native Joshua Welton spoke to EBONY.com about the origins of 3rdeyegirl and producing an artist who’s never been produced on a studio album since his 1979 debut over 30 albums ago.

EBONY: How did you meet Prince?

Joshua Welton: Through my wife Hannah. It was three years ago. She came out one time and I came out the next. We met and it’s been a wrap ever since.

EBONY: What first put Hannah on his radar? Were there already 3rdeyegirl gigs going on?

JW: They kinda came one by one. Ida [Kristine Nielsen] was already here, the bass player in 3rdeyegirl. Hannah came because Prince found her. I think was always excited about new young musicians. He was Hannah’s talent and was like, “You know what? Have her come out here.” And then Donna [Grantis] came through Prince reaching out to Hannah and I and saying, “We need to find a guitarist.” So we searched for her and found her.

EBONY: When Prince located you and Hannah, were you collaborating together?

JW: We’re both musicians so it’s inevitable. I think we’ll always do that. At the time, it’s funny, when we got the email, we were actually at church. We were doing a youth ministry at World Changers Ministry in Atlanta. So we were serving there and she ran after me, found me and hit me up with the email.

EBONY: Between 1979’s For You and 2014’s Art Official Age, Prince had never had an outside producer for his studio albums. How did it feel for you to assume that mantle?

JW: What’s cool about the whole situation is that I was here for about nine months, just supporting Hannah. Didn’t play no music, nothing like that, didn’t really talk about it like that. I just took everything in. We had a meeting upstairs with the girls and I, plus Trevor, which is Donna’s husband. [Prince] basically said, “We need a producer.” My wife and I were like, “oookay… alright, alright.” [laughter]

So there were some producers in town at the time. And we got some stems—which are musical tracks and vocals from a famous artist—and [Prince] basically said, “Whoever wins.” So I got thrown into it! We had two brothers in here in Studio B actually. Prince works out of Studio A.

EBONY: How many producers competed to produce Art Official Age?

JW: It was three. There were two producers that were in here, and then I was by myself in the smaller Studio D. And we did a track. They had the same stems I had.  And it was just kinda like, hey, whoever’s the funkiest. Let’s jump in.

EBONY: When the creation of 3rdeyegirl really become obvious for you all? Prince hasn’t had a new band since the New Power Generation.

JW: It was a slow but sure process, but it was very fast at the same time. It was slow for us because we were so excited. But actually if you look back, it happened really fast. Hannah came, and Hannah and Ida kinda vibed off of each other. And then Prince had told us we needed to find the best female guitar player. And so we reached out, found Donna. And over a month or so of time, it was a wrap.

EBONY: I saw 3rdeyegirl support Prince at City Winery in 2013, way before Prince & 3rdeyegirl released PlectrumElectrum. Was it clear from the beginning that 3rdeyegirl would make albums and be more than a backing band?

JW: The beautiful thing about Prince is that everything happens organically. Things begin to unfold. So I didn’t even know that he was gonna do Art Official Age, which is the album him and I did before, because 3rdeyegirl was such a priority at the time. We put all our focus in that. It kinda turned out that Art Official Age came too.

EBONY: What are the touring plans to support the HitNRun album?

JW: We take every day as it comes. We’re always ready to go onstage. Right now I think we’re taking it as it comes and seeing what tomorrow might bring.

EBONY: Were you present at Prince’s White House concert in June? How was that?

JW: It was one of the most amazing experiences. It was the first time I met Stevie Wonder. He was there and came and jammed outta nowhere with us. The Obama family is beautiful, they’re really amazing and we really enjoyed ourselves. It was definitely a lifetime beautiful experience.

EBONY: Since meeting Prince, what’s been the highlight of your relationship with him?

JW: Well, like you said, it’s the relationship. I think more than we actually make music, we converse with one another, build each other up. I’m a firm believer in Christ and so is he. And so that’s why those first nine months I wasn’t working, him and I connected on that, like, dopely. It was boom, right there. Before anything else, that’s my brother. And I think the relationship, to me, is the most treasured thing. [Prince phones from another studio, and arrives to say a few words.]

Miles Marshall Lewis is the Arts & Culture Editor of EBONY.com. He’s also the Harlem-based author of Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have BruisesThere’s a Riot Goin’ On and Irrésistible. Follow MML on Twitter and Instagram @furthermucker.

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