The Private Life of Music Legend Prince

Rolling Stone writer Brian Hiatt reflects on his unique interview with Prince in the singer's Minnesota home.
6:18 | 04/22/16

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Transcript for The Private Life of Music Legend Prince
more on the passing of prince, Alicia keys now weighing in saying he was a gift. A genius and a reminder that we have no limits and then we want you to take a look at this, the cover of next week's "New Yorker" is a tribute to the icon and his legacy. You can see the purple rain, so simple and I love that. Just right. They always do get it right. We'll take a look now at prince's life offstage. The flamboyant performer was a very private man choosing to live out of the spotlight in his Minnesota hometown and ABC's linsey Davis is outside his home in chanhassen. Good morning, linsey. Reporter: Good morning, George. When asked once why he chose to still live in Minneapolis he said it's so cold it keeps the bad people out. He was a mystery and musician and the combination only helped to enhance the intrigue. ♪ Sigh cast so purple ♪ Reporter: Simply put prince was an enigma, kripty tick and captivating. Offstage you're quiet and mysterious. What is that all about? I'm just that way around you. Reporter: Intriguing and eccentric, androgynous and ambiguous. The lyrics in his song "Controversy" remind much of his life was shrouded in mystery, am I black or white, am I straight or gay, do I believe in god, do I believe in me? Okay, so people think you're weird. They think you're strange. What do you warrant them to know? The music. Reporter: Prince, he was music. He was the physical embodiment of pure music. Reporter: Christopher moon has been credited with discovering him. His dream really wasn't to be a musician. His dream was to be a basketball player. Height worked against him. He let the music do the talking. Reporter: The world listened eager as this 5'2" force broke all the rules. In 1993 when prince clashed with his record label Warner brothers journalists started to call him the artist formerly known as prince, he compared record labels to slavery. It wasn't until he ended his 18-year dispute that he went back to being called prince. A friend of mine said, so what should I call you now and I said you can call me prince and it just felt good to say that again because I hadn't in so long. Reporter: Still rocking his high heels in 2001 he famously became a gee jova's witness dean donning disguises to go door knocking to talk about his faith but in many ways he treated music like a religion. ♪ Scream out loud ♪ Reporter: Released hundreds of songs and reportedly filled vaults with thousands more. One day someone will we lease them. I don't know that I'll get to release them. Reporter: At least one indication that we've not yet heard the last of this enigmatic superstar. ♪ So sue me if I go too fast ♪ Reporter: Prince's name changed to an unpronounceable symbol is near the top of "Rolling stone's" list of boldest career moves in rock 'N' roll history. At times people didn't know what to call him. Today he's being called a genius, a legend and an icon. Joining us now is Brian Hiatt, senior writing for "Rolling stone" magazine and interviewed him and the piece never ran because prince ended up not wanting to pose for a photo. Exactly. Is it safe to assume it'll run now. A version of that piece will, indeed, run. Yes. What was it like? Incredible and surreal experience and feels dreamlike since I hadn't written about it yet but basically paisley park was this sort of self-enclosed world and I wouldn't say had a cultlike atmosphere but certainly had an insular atmosphere where some of the musicians said I literally don't know what day it is or what time it is. Like a Vegas casino. Exactly. I mean how would you describe him? Was he a complicated man? He was -- first of all in person he was very warm and personable and as Normal -- Funny. Funny, sure. Funny, absolutely. But, you know, as an artist and as a persona, yeah, he's about as complicated an as an artist could be. He chose to live in Minnesota, why? He likes the fact that the cold keeps the bad people away. So -- but the truth is, listen, he had built this compound here. It was a place where he could do his work and his work were all that mattered to him and it's the place where he could do the most work with the least distractions. And speaking of his work, he's talked about in the past having a vault that's rumored to have hundreds of unreleased songs. Did he reference the suit? Did you see the vault? Yeah, I didn't see the vault. I know the vault is actually a hard drive, maybe. Yes, we talked about the vault. He said, you know, it lives up to its legend. There are full -- we're going to be releasing a little bit of the interview online and there are full albums. They are from the "Purple rain" period even. So we can expect posthumously legendary songs perhaps. Assuming there's some provision for them to come out. His ex-wife, mate, said in an interview he was wearing heels. Not only was he wearing heels and the kind of detail you dream of, he was wearing clear lucite heels that lit up with every step. Lit up purple with every step. Seems very fitting. You're correct and we mentioned you heard linsey say he converted to jehovah's witness in 2001. Did you talk to him about his religion and how it affected his life. We talked about religion a lot. He never used the words jehovah's witness and I couldn't tell whether he had perhaps broadened his religious beliefs or what, but, you know, he certainly -- he talked about the bible and talked about being grounded in it. He was celibate in recent years. He talked about being celibate. He was rechanneling that energy into other things, he said it was like fasting from food, that after a few days you don't feel it anymore. He said he wasn't perfect, though. He was perfect in terms of his music. Brian Hiatt. Thank you so much. We appreciate it. Can't wait to see the article. Coming up here, Tony Stewart

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