This coming Labor Day weekend, Paisley Park will be giving amateur musicians a chance to showcase their skills in a battle-of-the-bands event entitled Musicology. It’s inspired by the competitions held among high school students in North Minneapolis community centers and parks during the 1970s, which helped pave the way for Prince and other artists like André Cymone, Sonny Thompson, and Jellybean Johnson.
In a press release, Cymone recalled how participating in events like this helped shape both his and Prince’s careers. Coinciding with the competition, Paisley Park will debut new exhibits related to Prince’s early days — including Grand Central, a band he and Cymone both played in.
“Music has taken me and my best friend and first bandmate Prince from virtual obscurity to world-wide fame, and it all started with the inspiration of competition,” Cymone said. “The Minneapolis Sound was born from the Battle of the Bands contests – we took the step and jumped into the game, who’s next?”
Musicians interested in participating in the battle of the bands have until July 30 to submit a video recording through Paisley Park’s Facebook page, but while the event is open to musicians around the world, Paisley Park will only select nine artists, showcasing three per night from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2 and selecting a total of three winners to move on to the final round on the last night of the festival on Sept. 3.
The winning artist will receive “a unique Artist Development award package, consisting of studio recording time at Paisley Park, a mentorship session with members of Prince’s supergroup New Power Generation, and additional career development opportunities soon to be announced.”
Single-day passes for Musicology are available for $100 and include a tour of the Paisley Park museum and a dance party after the competition. Updates on the event, including detailed instructions on how to apply, are available on Paisley Park’s Facebook page.
Simone Cazares is a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas, majoring in communication and journalism. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene.