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One of the world’s raunchiest rock stars, Prince is in his stacked heels and flamboyant suit strutting from house to house around an ordinary suburban estate.
lanked by minders, he goes up a garden path, knocks on a door and politely asks the householder: “Would you like to talk about God?”
It’s an extraordinary image. You can only imagine the shock of a homeowner finding the superstar on their doorstep clutching a bible and delivering a message about the divine.
Can this really be the same man who shot to fame with outrageously explicit songs such as Sexy MF?
Prince admits his door-to-door missions as a Jehovah’s Witness raises eyebrows. “Sometimes people act surprised but mostly they’re really cool about it.
Sometimes he tries to escape his fame by going in disguise. He says: “My hair is capable of doing a lot of different things. I don’t always look like this.”
You only have to meet Prince for a few minutes to realise the extent to which God – rather than the colour purple – now influences how he lives.
Much of what he says, as well as his songwriting, revolves around his beliefs these days. Even the mysterious numbers he slots into his material are thought to be coded biblical references.
I join Prince at his Paisley Park base near his home city of Minneapolis in the US Midwest.
It is days before his eagerly anticipated new album 20TEN is released free inside this Saturday’s Daily Mirror in the biggest music giveaway of the year.
In my view it’s his best record since his brilliant Sign o’ the Times and, with references from “fat bankers” to melting ice caps, it’s his most socially aware.
The songs – and even his decision to give them away free to Mirror readers – have been
influenced by his faith.
He says: “It’s great to give away my music through your newspaper. God is a generous and loving being. It is written that we should act like God. There are enough opportunities.”
On my guided tour of Paisley Park it’s clear that for Prince the most important part of the 70,000 sq ft complex isn’t the recording studio where he’s created hit after worldwide hit but a peaceful sanctuary on the first floor which he calls The Knowledge Room.
Lined with shelves of religious literature, it’s where he contemplates the meaning of life, prays and studies the Bible for up to six hours a day, sometimes long into the night.
The teetotal vegan, a youthful-looking 52, is certain his faith has changed his life.
He says: “There’s an incredible peace in my life now and I’m trying to share it with people.”
He talks with a real missionary zeal though some of his comments are puzzling. At one point he says: “You know there are bad angels as well as good angels.”
It reminded me that he once revealed he had epileptic seizures when he was young – until “my mother told me one day I had said to her, ‘Mom I’m not going to be sick any more because an angel told me so.’”
I ask him about the story. He thinks for a moment and then says: “I never talk about the past.”
He avoids performing his most X-rated sexual material from the 80s and early 90s – those massive selling songs such as Gett Off – and cautions against swearing because “you call up all the anger”.
He is also known to donate huge chunks of his £100million fortune to good causes around the
world. And, perhaps most surprising of all, the man who was romantically linked to beauties including Sheena Easton, Kim Basinger and Carmen Electra – and sang about “23 positions in a one night stand” – is a fan of monogamy.
He’s been dating stunning singer Bria Valente, who is almost half his age, for at least three years.
For Prince that’s no small feat!
It is believed that, like his second wife Manuela Testolini, who he divorced in 2006, Bria has become a Jehovah’s Witness, has been baptised in a pool and attends regular Bible studies at their local Kingdom Hall meeting place.
The background to why he abandoned a world of hedonistic excess can be traced to a series of tragedies in the mid to late 90s.
It was a time when his glittering career seemed to be faltering and contractual frustrations with
his then record company Warners were boiling over.
SOURCE : .mirror.co.uk By Peter Willis 6/07/2010