At first glance, Prince appears to be the quintessential rock-star: flamboyant costumes, charismatic stage presence, and soaring rock-and-roll songs. However, a further examination into Prince’s lifestyle reveals not only a public leader, but also a spiritual leader as well.
In 2001, Prince became a member of Jehovah’s Witness, following a two-year discussion with fellow musician, personal friend, and Jehovah’s Witness, Larry Graham. “It’s like Morpheus and Neo in The Matrix,” Prince compared, explaining the process of understanding Jehovah’s Witness as less of a “conversion” and more of a “realization.”
Growing up in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, spirituality became an evident influence in his everyday philosophy and personality. In his first interview expressing his faith, Prince explained that prior to coming to the Jehovah’s Witness faith, he was in a position of seeking answers and truth, and that coming to terms with his spirituality changed the way he saw the world and everything around it, from life itself and even his own personal life.
One aspect in his life Prince acknowledges change in since becoming a man of faith is what he is most known for in the public eye: his music. Although Prince acknowledges that his music and lyrical content contains themes common to the rock-and-roll lifestyle, such as heavy sexual undertones, the amount of ideologies found in his music regarding faith, especially the music after his new-found faith, substantially outweighs the aforementioned.
Writer Touré explains in his book about Prince, I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon, that faith is at the core of much of Prince’s music, something fans may not be able to hear above the beats of his music, furthering that “the amount of discussion of sex is this much,” holding his hands a foot apart, “and the amount of discussion of religion and spirituality and God and Jesus is this much,” doubling the space between his hands.
“I was pretty wild in my younger days” admits Prince during his acceptance speech for an award at the 2010 BET Awards. “You don’t have to do what I did. You don’t have to make the same mistakes I made. The future is in your hands.”
Although maintaining the hectic lifestyle of an international music icon while making time to stay spiritually grounded may seem demanding, Prince handles both aspects of his life with success. Prince still plays sold-out concerts at venues around the world, and consistently releases newly-recorded music. At the same time, Prince still attends Kingdom Halls for service while evangelizing door-to-door around his Beverly Hills estate, according to bystanders.
Though fulfilling faith and stardom may prove to be difficult for many celebrities of his status, Prince credits this ability to stay true and rooted in his faith to his faith itself. “It [faith] is going to help you in all aspects of life” explains Prince in an interview, “once you can clean out the cobwebs, so to speak, and then you’re going to be able to see things more clearly.”