Ever so often an artist comes along who truly changes the game. Prince was definitely one of those artists. A constant innovator, he sold more than 100 million records worldwide and claimed accolades right and left, from multiple Grammy Awards to Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to name just a few. His death on April 21, 2016 inspired countless tributes, one of which comes to Park City as part of the Deer Valley Music Festival on Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. Here, Prince interpreter/vocalist Marshall Charloff, who is headlining the concert, shares his thoughts on bringing the music of Prince to the stage.
Why do you think Prince was such an iconic artist?
The charts and record sales prove his relevance, but he was iconic for many reasons. He was incredibly multidimensional. He had a look, a sound, a message and an almost supernatural ability to execute his vision. That, and he was the baddest musician on earth!
What’s the history of Purple Xperience, your Prince tribute band and why are you drawn to the music of Prince?
PX was formed in 2011 after Dr Fink (keyboardist for the Revolution) and I did a couple of live shows together. The first was with Andre Cymone singing lead, Matt "Dr" Fink on Keys, Bobby Z on drums, myself on guitar, and Pepe Willie and 94 east on background vocals. The second time we played together was doing a benefit concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After doing these shows, Matt and I decided to continue working together and formed The Purple Xperience. Like many others who grew up in the Minneapolis music scene, I couldn't help but become inspired by what was going on here in the '80s.
How do you prepare to sing and play the songs?
The preparation really began with years and years of studying music and developing my musical voice, regardless of whether I'm playing an instrument or I'm singing. Mentally, I prepare by knowing just how important this music is to so many people and approaching the role with humility and a deep sense of honor.
What’s your favorite Prince song or album?
The Ballad of Dorothy Parker comes to mind, off of the Sign 'O' The Times album.
What is the most challenging thing about doing a tribute concert?
I try to be sensitive to the varying reasons that crowds gather for this tribute. Some are still healing, some are celebrating, some want to share the experience with loved ones and some feel like they are now a part of a community. I'm sort of a community organizer of sorts, and music is a great equalizer. The challenge is to facilitate an environment that brings us all together.
*Marshall Charloff joins the Utah Symphony for the Music of Prince concert on July 20, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. at Deer Valley Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater. More info, click here.