Local Current Blog

Ten things you need to know about André Cymone

André Cymone performing with the Revolution at First Avenue (Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR)

This week’s Local Show features an interview and performance from André Cymone. Before we dive in Sunday at 6 p.m., here are a few key facts to get you properly acquainted with the artist, who grew up contributing to the Minneapolis Sound. 

1. As a young musician in the midst of the growing Minneapolis Sound, André Cymone played in various bands including Grand Central, 94 East and Champagne.

2. Cymone is a lifelong friend of Prince. He told Dan Rather in June about how he met Prince on his first day at a new middle school: “I saw this one kid and I thought, he reminds me a little bit of myself, I’ll go stand next to him … And then I said, what are you into, what do you do? And [Prince] said, ‘I play music.’ And I said, ‘so do I.’”

3. He and Prince would regularly jam together after school, collaborating and bouncing new ideas off each other. “To find someone else that had that same attitude and same passion as me, I almost couldn’t believe it,” Cymone told Dan Rather.

4. For a period of time, Prince lived with Cymone and his family. “It’s probably not the most flattering story, from his perspective,” he told Andrea Swensson in 2012. “Because, you know, it was an interesting time. But literally, we had so much fun … There’s so many stories that are real that almost seem like they would be made up, but they’re absolutely real, the way things happened. It was kind of a magical time.”’

5. As a high schooler, Cymone played in the ‘70s band Grand Central, which included Morris Day and Prince. While performing at a party, the young musicians caught the attention of Pepe Willie, who took them in as mentees and gave them parts to play with 94 East.

Grand Central: Linda Anderson, André Cymone, Morris Day, Terry Jackson, Prince, and William Doughty

6. He toured on bass with Prince and was a founding member of the Revolution.

7. In 1981, Cymone parted ways with Prince’s band and went on to release three solo albums. His 1985 single “The Dance Electric” was written by Prince and hit no. 10 on the R&B charts.

8. Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, he produced successful albums and singles by Jody Watley, Adam Ant, Tom Jones and Tina Turner.

9. After taking a decades-long break from releasing his own records, in 2014 Cymone released his fourth full-length album, The Stone.

10. He most recently was in town to play with The Revolution at First Avenue for all three shows. On Friday, he stopped by the Minnesota State Fair to chat with Andrea Swensson and perform a few songs. A taping will air Sunday on the Local Show at 6 p.m.

Jackie Renzetti is a student at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities. She is an editor at the Minnesota Daily and co-hosts Radio K’s “Off the Record.”