(Prince Rogers Nelson)
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Influential musician whose music combines elements of rock, pop and funk. His music has an erotic grind and sexually oriented lyrics. The Artist, then known as Prince, hit artistic sales high-water marks in the mid- to late-1980s with a unique blend of funk and punk attitude. In 1983, he had a single (“When Doves Cry”), an album (Purple Rain) and a movie (Purple Rain) at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard and box office charts, and won an Oscar for best film score. Though still prolific, his increasingly baroque pretensions and sugary ballads missed an audience that drifted toward hip hop. Troubles with his record label delayed the one album of the 1990s, The Black Album, that displayed a reinvigorated rebellion. Now released from bondage to Warner Bros., it remains to be seen if his new freedom will rejuvenate his career. A rock Renaissance man, Prince also produces, plays many instruments and directs movies and music videos. His appearance in Purple Rain (1984) and its soundtrack led to his greatest success. His other recordings include Graffiti Bridge (1990) and Emancipation (1996). He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and he enjoyed a surge in popularity. His 2004 concert tour was the top-grossing tour on Pollstar's list, taking in $87.4 million. “The Song of the Heart,” which he composed and performed in the 2006 hit animated film Happy Feet, received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.