PAYING HOMAGE TO MINNESOTA'S PRINCE
Visit Paisley Park, the home of Prince, for an unforgettable look into the late musician’s life
Images courtesy of Paisley Park/NPG Records
By Aubrey Schield
Like many Minnesotans, I have spent the last several months pretty wrapped up in my own fascination with Prince and the mysterious, eccentric life he led. In the wake of his sudden death in April, there has been an outpouring of questions, messages of admiration, news reports and more all seeking to get a grasp on a man who approached something like Greek mythology.
Unfortunately, I am not like most Minnesotans (or any other Prince fans around the globe) in that I didn’t listen to Prince’s music before he passed. And I’m kicking myself now.
I recently had the opportunity to tour Paisley Park, Prince’s recording-studio-performance-venue-place-of-residence located on an unassuming plot of land in the southwest suburb of Chanhassen. Driving up to the white building, I didn’t really know what to expect from my tour. (Then again, Prince was such a private individual, that shouldn’t come as a surprise).
Since Prince passed away, Paisley Park has been slightly modified and turned into a museum commemorating the artist’s life and music. Throughout the 65,000-square-foot facility, a number of Prince’s gold, silver and platinum records hang in frames on the walls, and his many awards (including seven Grammys) rest on display.
When we walked into the atrium, an airy room with skylights right off the little kitchen where Prince often watched basketball games over a meal, the tour guide directed our attention to a small, to scale model of Paisley Park sitting high on a shelf overlooking the room. He explained that the model contains Prince’s ashes as we all took a brief moment of silence. It was downright apropos as Prince’s pet doves, Majesty and Divinity, hooted in their cages on the second level.
The remainder of our hour-long tour included memorabilia from several groundbreaking albums, such as Sign O’ the Times, Controversy, Dirty Mind and more. One of my favorite parts of the tour was stepping inside Studio A, Prince’s preferred recording studio, and seeing handwritten notes on a music stand in one of the isolation booths. Our tour guide explained that most of the fixtures along the way were left as they were after Prince’s death; every room in the museum looked as if Prince himself could walk in at any moment and pick up where he left off.
Our tour reached its climax when we walked into the performance hall where Prince hosted his many Paisley Park After Dark events. Footage from a Paisley Park concert in January 2016 played on a large projector screen as we milled around the giant room, gazing at stage costumes, instruments and even his 1999 Plymouth Prowler and 2006 Bentley.
We saw and experienced so many other facets of Prince’s life and artistry, but I would be robbing you the full experience if I disclosed some of those surprises along the way. You’ll just have to see for yourself. Oh, and it’s more expensive, but I recommend springing for the VIP tour option—you’ll be glad you did.