I was getting ready to perform in Las Vegas when I heard that Prince died. I felt a real emptiness. At the end of my set, I got a standing ovation and I said, “This standing ovation is for Prince — and I would like to have a moment of silence.” So we had one.
Since his album 1999, I was a fan. Prince and Michael Jackson — they were the soundtrack to my life. I remember when my pops died [in 1987], I listened to “Condition of the Heart” [from 1985 LP Around the World in a Day] as soon as we got back from the burial, for 24 hours [in a row]. That was the last song I said, “Dad, listen to this!” And my father said, “That’s a good record.”
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About seven years ago, I went to a party at Prince’s house in Los Angeles. We had to take a bus there — Jennifer Lopez, everybody was on this bus — and Prince performed with his band in the living room. The liquor was flowing and everybody was getting nice. At the end of the night, me and my boy Bradley were drunk. We had these two girls on the sofa and we were talking, joking, laughing. Prince and his wife came downstairs and they had on purple pajamas. He said, “Tracy, get the f– out!” As I walked out the door, I grabbed him by the back of the neck and I pulled him close to me. I noticed that mole on his face — he was so pretty, I turned gay for about five seconds — and I said, “My father loved ‘When Doves Cry.’ ” And he said, “Yeah, yeah. Just get the f– out.”
Another time, when I was living in Los Angeles, I hung out with him and André 3000 at the SkyBar on Sunset Boulevard. He was down to earth: regular, no extra cheese, no pepperoni — just a slice and a Coke! He was shining like new money.
I hosted the Billboard Music Awards three years ago and Prince headlined. I didn’t get to talk to him because he disappeared: “Where did Prince go?” “He disappeared!” He was mystique.
Was he an influence? Absolutely! He was free, he came from the heart. He was talking about making love, he was a sexy man!
Prince’s music taught me how to suck titties! He taught me how to be gentle. Because of him, I once sucked a titty for an hour. At the end, it looked like a tater tot.
I love Prince.
–As told to Camille Dodero
This article originally appeared in the May 7 issue of Billboard.