Written by John Mendelsohn
Videos by American Songwriter
This year, the annual event known as “Celebration,” which honors Prince, will feature the first-ever unveiling of a vault of unreleased music, courtesy of the legendary singer’s Chanhassen, Minnesota estate, Paisley Park. The event will take place between June 9 and 11 and will debut a presentation of the never-heard-before music of Prince, who tragically passed away in 2016 at the age of 57. Paisley Park is used as a museum that honors Prince’s legacy.
Paisley Park’s vault reportedly holds 1000s of records that the “Little Red Corvette” singer recorded but never released to the public. In 2021, Paisley Park released Welcome 2 America, which was recorded back in 2010.
“Celebration” will feature performances from a dynamic line-up of artists, including Sounds of Blackness, The Steeles, D-Nice, DJ Rashida, and Mint Condition. Chaka Khan, Chuck D, D-Nice, and Doug E. Fresh will appear as special guests at the event.
[RELATED: 5 Spellbinding Live Moments in Honor of Prince]
Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, spoke to Rolling Stone in 2021 about how she felt about releasing her brother’s unheard music. “For me personally, as one of the heirs, I can’t speak for all of them, I don’t mind if people hear the small stuff—the little stuff where he’s just sitting there playing with the piano and how he put it together, she said. “That might teach some little boy that wants to learn how to put a song together. We never know. Anything and everything, get it out there. If I live 100, 200 years, I would definitely be there helping to oversee getting it out. But Prince’s music will outlive me for sure.”
Nelson added, “Fortunately, it’s one of those easy jobs with a legacy who’s already said, ‘This is what’s going to happen and this is what I’m doing about it.’ He kind of pre-planned everything and I don’t know where it started or why he began to put all these tapes, movies, and scripts, and music together and preserve it. After Paisley Park was purchased, I thought it was going to be a soundstage, but it ended up being kind of a rehearsal hall, soundstage, and party place. So then he started planning the museum for it.”
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images