By: Chris Heath (GQ Magazine)
Date: December 8, 2016
Springs: He just randomly hit me up on Twitter. He had a whole way of doing things. He wouldn’t follow people—he followed me for a brief second so he could directly message me, and then he would delete the messages. I kept screenshots! Then he called me, and we talked for a little bit. He was very mysterious.
Washington: He said that he was a fan of my photography. That was how his staff approached me, addressed me in an e-mail. I thought it was a prank, so I ignored it. [They] said, “Prince would like to work with you.” I’m very guarded. I don’t care who you are—if you have intentions that are sexual, I’m not interested at all. But when I met him, he genuinely was a fan of my photography and he wanted me to photograph his band. But I would say he might have been fishing.… I would be naive to say otherwise.
Van Jones: He’d always be on the Internet, going through YouTube, trying to find young artists. He’d find some 6-year-old kid that could play the violin, he’d have someone contact the parents: “Bring him to Paisley—I wanna talk to him.”
Danielle Curiel (dancer; directed Prince’s “Breakfast Can Wait” video and sang with Prince in her short-lived group, Curly Fryz): He was always sending me memes and funny videos. He liked memes of him when people take his face and write captions on his pictures. He was always sending me those. One, he had a duck face on, and it was how light-skin dudes roll dice or something. We were pretty close. He found me online when I was 18 years old, and he reached out to me to direct his music video, “Breakfast Can Wait.”
Vicky Curiel (Danielle’s mother and manager): From the very beginning, Prince wanted to go through everything through me, as respect to a parent, even though [Danielle] was 18 years old at the time. So that’s what drew me close to him, because to be honest with you, that’s the one person that’s given me the most respect in the industry. And he seemed so down-to-earth, very normal—not weird like everybody says. Super cool. He would Skype often. [One] day, Brianna [Danielle’s 13-year-old younger sister] was at a Harley-Davidson fashion show, about to perform Etta James’s “At Last,” and he asked if he could watch. Danielle was actually holding up the phone the whole time while she was singing the song. He said, “What key is she singing in?” We thought she did something wrong. A week goes by and he goes, “Hey, you guys want to come to Paisley Park?” We’re like, sure. And he’s, “Bring Brianna with you.” We got there at 10, 11 o’clock at night and the band is rehearsing, 25, 35 members, horns and everything, and then all of a sudden he says, “Brianna, go rehearse—you’re opening for me tomorrow.” Then they started playing “At Last.”
Brianna Curiel: My heart was racing. I was, “Oh my God, oh my God.” Like, I was about to open up for Prince. Like, he’s a legend, you know what I mean? So I was pretty freaked out. It was great. After I finished singing, I didn’t want to get off the stage and Prince grabbed the mic and was like, “Okay, stop taking my shine!” It was the best experience, like, I could ever ask for. You know, he’s the most coolest guy ever.