Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson; June 7, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Prince has produced ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. Prince founded his own recording studio and label; writing, self-producing and playing most, or all, of the instruments on his recordings.
In addition, Prince has been a "talent promoter" for the careers of Sheila E., Carmen Electra, The Time and Vanity 6, and his songs have been recorded by these artists and others (including Chaka Khan, The Bangles, Sinéad O'Connor, and even Kim Basinger). He also has several hundred unreleased songs in his "vault".
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Prince developed an interest in music at an early age, writing his first song at age seven. After recording songs with his cousin's band 94 East, seventeen-year-old Prince recorded several unsuccessful demo tapes before releasing his debut album, For You, in 1978. His 1979 album, Prince, went platinum due to the success of the singles "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover". His next three records, Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and 1999 (1982) continued his success, showcasing Prince's trademark of prominently sexual lyrics and incorporation of elements of funk, dance and rock music. In 1984, he began referring to his backup band as The Revolution and released the album Purple Rain, which served as the soundtrack to his film debut of the same name.
After releasing the albums Around the World in a Day (1985), and Parade (1986), The Revolution disbanded and he released the critically acclaimed double album Sign o' the Times (1987) as a solo artist. He released three more solo albums before debuting the band The New Power Generation in 1991, which saw Prince changing his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol known as "The Love Symbol". In 1994, he began releasing new albums at a faster pace to eject himself from contractual obligations to Warner Bros, releasing five records in a span of two years before signing to Arista Records in 1998. In 2000, he began referring to himself as Prince once again. He has released thirteen new albums since the beginning of the 21st century, including his latest record, 20Ten, released in 2010.
Prince has a wide vocal range and is known for his flamboyant stage presence and costumes. His releases have sold over 80 million copies worldwide. He has won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the first year he was eligible. Rolling Stone has ranked Prince No. 27 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Prince's music has been influenced by rock, R&B, soul, funk, rap, blues, New Wave, electronica, disco, psychedelia, folk, jazz, and pop. His artistic influences include Sly & the Family Stone, Parliament-Funkadelic, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, the Isley Brothers, Duke Ellington, Curtis Mayfield, and Stevie Wonder. Prince pioneered the "Minneapolis sound", a hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, R&B and New Wave that has influenced many other musicians.