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Courtesy: CNN

Cruz’n the Borderland: Dear Prince…

Dear Prince,

We never met.  Actually, we got close one time.  You were performing in Las Cruces in late 96 and I was front row at the concert.  You saw me once or twice.  I was wearing the Symbol cap and waving the LOVE SIGN at you.

I know you saw me, you acknowledged me a few times  Well, that next morning, you flew out of the El Paso Airport.

A friend of mine who was working there at the time called me up at work and said, “he’s here.”    That’s all I needed to hear.    I left work and raced over to see you. Jumping outta my car,  I had a cd in one hand and a sharpie in the other, knowing you WOULDN’T sign an autograph, but hey…just in case.    I ran inside, passed a black bus, blew by a security guard at thee door and went on the search.   Prince, I was told you were eating in a restaurant surrounded by your entourage so sticking my head in, I frantically looked.

Nothing.    Defeated I headed back to my car, thinking about what I was gonna say to work for leaving at 10 am.  There must have been something about the look in my face that  told the story of what just happened because I passed by the same security guard from earlier and he said to me, “ you JUST missed him”

WHAT?  Who…wait….how did he know??  I looked back and around the corner and saw the same black bus pulling off into the back of the airport.  “yeah, he just boarded and is heading to his private plane”

Ok, I know you’re a security official and I should have a degree of respect for you but  right now, shut up, dude.

Prince,  I first heard of you in the mid 80’s,  much like most everyone else with the release of Purple Rain.  My best friend at the time had seen it with his older brother and came back raving about what he saw….”and then he jumps on the piano, and he’s STILL playing the guitar…and….then he jumps off, and hits this most rad guitar solo….AND THAT’S JUST THE FIRST TEN MINUTES OF THE MOVIE!!”

I don’t remember if I went to the theater to see it, or if I had to wait for it to be released on to video tape (80’s, remember…)  but I DID go to Sound Warehouse on my bike and picked up the cassette.  It was the first time I enjoyed an ENTIRE album!  Every song, so uniquely different and yet the fit and blended into this concept so well.  I was intrigued.

Where most would have waited, Prince, for the next album,  I went backwards.  I went to to your past.  I looked for everything you had done prior to this.  And I was not disappointed   “1999”…..sure  I knew of it and its various singles,  but I didn’t realize it was YOU.

“Controversy”….such a politely charged funk/rock album.  “Prince”  “Dirty Mind” “For Your”…..all amazing, but what really blew me away was reading the liner notes to all these and the phrase “all songs written by, performed, recorded by  and produced by PRINCE”.  What??   You did ALL OF IT BY YOURSELF??   Holy shit!

Even at the ripe, young innocent age of 10 or 11, you left me knowing that it  meant something big.

You see, Prince…you left a mark on me at an early age.  In hind sight, maybe I didn’t really know what it meant then….but I do know.   You were the soundtrack to my youth, middle school  and you left me wanting more.  In high school, I would date girls,but before we did she would have to know who you were and be able to stomach listening to your music all the time.

Needless to say, you left me single and hanging with my buds on many weekends!   Your music stayed with me all my pre-adult life.  Working in a rock station, having to defend you when you changed your name to a symbol, writing “SLAVE” on your cheek, you left me explaining more about myself than about you.

I discovered myself thru you actions, and music  obviously.  Prince, I always said “whatever emotion you’re feeling, I can go to Prince’s music and find a song that fit it perfectly!”   how many artists cant that truly be said about ??   And it was more than just being able to play RnB/Funk?Rock/Jazz/HipHop/Pop….it was the feeling behind what you wrote.

Prince, you left me feeling what it was you were trying to say.  And at the same time, you made me feel my own emotions that were tied into those songs.  You left me a fan early, and I stayed a fan for a long time.

But Prince, I have to tell you…you made it hard to be a fan.   We would wait for new music, and sometime it took too long.  And then, we we DID get it, we didn’t understand it.  “hey, this doesn’t sound like…*previous album*…”   sometimes it took me a year or two to start liking the new stuff.    But now I see, that was a sign of genius!!

You  created something and it took ME time to appreciated it.  A mark that you, sir were indeed ahead of your time!!!  Genius.

Even when we didn’t get the music we were waiting for, we stood by you.  Even when you gave music away, we vowed to subscribe to your website for a flat fee  just to get a monthly download.   And yes Prince, we know you did it first. And then as almost as quick as you would give it to us, you would take it away.

Shutting down the websites that you promised would give us our fixes, cure our cravings,  heal out wounds of the lack of music from you.  We know about the coveted VAULTS of music, and we were waiting for you to give us a small morsel from it.  But  no….you would deny us our dessert.

tatPrinceTime and time again…sometimes, even with the Prince symbol tattoo on my leg, I hated being a Prince fan.  Sometimes, as fans,  you left us feeling  insignificant.

I guess you can blame it on your being a Gemini  (if that’s a plausible reason.)   but Prince, understand…i stayed with you thru your career.  Even with some of you more extreme and radical ideals…I may not have AGREED but I supported    all because we loved you…I loved you.   I got it.

I think I knew you, almost like a friend. You introduced so many people to me.

Friends with mutual respect for your talent. I wanted to use the name SexyMF but couldn’t cuz that was your mark, I needed to come up with something similar.    Prince, we were together thru the good times and the bad times.

When my son was born, I remember driving home from the hospital listening to your music as loud as it could go, and feeling on top of the world.

When my dad died, you were there, wrapping your music around me, hugging me,  comforting me thru the darkest times.  Assuring me that no matter what, things will get better.  And they did, of course.  You left me me hopeful.

When I got married, you were there…in my mind, singing and serenading me and my new bride, in a private concert only we could hear.  I use your lyrics as quote on Facebook to express my feeling, my thought at that moment…I use them to help others in a time of need.

Prince, it’s a bit different than some one who discovers the Beatles or the Doors, or Bob Marley, or Jimi Hendrix.   Those legends left a legacy to be discovered, and researched.  I was with you thru the whole time, the rise and fall.   The dark and light…we rode the trip together.  You left me feeling like we were the best of friends.

And then yesterday, April 21.  You left me. Period.    No real warning, no time to be prepared.   You….just left me.   It felt like a kick in the nuts, a punch to the gut…i think I stopped breathing for a second or two.

Oh, I’ve experienced “loss” before…family, friends, dreams…but this is different Prince.  And I’m not even sure I can really explain why.   You see,  friends, family acquaintances, they associate me with you.

They hear a Prince song, and they think of me.  The see something sunny about you and send it to me.

I was buried in an avalanche of texts and phone calls and messages all day yesterday. People who haven’t contacted me in years, did.  Friends that I just met, knew to call me and ask me “is it true?”   I joke that I am your El Paso PR representative, but yesterday I felt like it!      And that’s ok…I’m fine with that.

And I’m fine with the fact that you left us a legacy of incredible music to remember you by.  And I look forward to finally hearing some of the music you promised us so many years ago.   Even though its not new, per say, I will act like it is and be as excited as that 8th grader riding his bike to pick yup the latest 12 inch remix at the store.

I’m even ready to hear from the bandwagon jumpers who SAY “oh, I love Prince…he’s one of my favorites!”  and yet can name any of your songs besides “Purple Rain”  “Let’s Go Crazy” or “Kiss”     I won’t say anything, I’ll nod and smile politely…but Prince, you know I was there….thru it all, even when I left for a moment (hey, blame gangster rap!)   I came back…because much like the tattoo, you left your mark on me.  You left me the man I am  and I hope the human I hope to  become before I have to leave.

…and Dear Prince, I can never thank you enough for it.   Now, as I sign off, I wont say I’m your biggest fan….but, *winks*  I’m sure you know.

Signed sincerely

“charmingMF”

About Victor Cruz

Victor Cruz was born in El Paso in the early 70s. Graduated from Burges High School and went to EPCC, where he got his first real taste of radio. He has bounced up and down the dial locally and continues to call El Paso home where family is. FULL BIO

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3 comments

  1. I loved this article!

  2. Victor Cruz –> Prince
    Prince –> Victor Cruz

    That’s all we knew before Prince died. That letter is from the heart and soul.

  3. This is a beautiful article… so deep and personal. And awesome tat, by the way. 🙂

    Hey, at least his music is immortal… even if he was (super?)human.

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