A Prince hotel, new merchandise, and music licensed for movies are among the projects mentioned in a new Rolling Stone article about the estate’s plans for the future.
After Prince’s death, the contents of his Vault of unreleased music and videos at Paisley Park was sent to a storage facility in Los Angeles. The estate’s entertainment advisor Troy Carter assigned Michael Howe, formerly of Warner Bros., to start to dig into the vault and see what was there. So, far Howe has said that he’s heard over 1,000 unheard Prince songs.
So when will we get to hear that music? There are a few confirmed projects coming down the hatch. On Sept. 21, Piano & a Microphone 1983 will be released. The album contains nine songs and is 35 minutes long. As the title suggests, the album is just Prince alone on piano performing songs including “A Case of You” by Joni Mitchell a solo version of “Purple Rain.”
A song off the upcoming album has been approved for use in Spike Lee’s upcoming film BlacKkKlansman. The song is a cover of the spiritual “Mary Don’t you Weep.” There is the possibility that more songs will be licensed for movies, but Carter and Nelson are trying to maintain his artistic integrity. Prince was generally against licensing, and some of his collaborators are worried that the licensing could go too far.
““I just hope to God they don’t turn his vault into a Burger King ad,” Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin told Rolling Stone. “You know what I mean? I just hope people don’t get too greedy.”
More music from the vault will be released chronologically in the next few years, keeping in mind Prince’s own markings on tapes — such as “W” for weak and a star for a take he liked. The estate will also consult musicians who worked with Prince during various eras to get their advice.
Other musicians may be able to start to pay tribute to Prince using his catalog. The Wolf Trap Orchestra will be heading on tour in the fall for their “4U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince.” Nelson told Rolling Stone that the family approved because “those are real musicians, and my brother liked real music.”
Other rumors have been flying around, such as the possibility of a Broadway musical or a Cirque Du Soleil show in the same vein as the “Michael Jackson ONE” show in Vegas. Nelson told Rolling Stone, ““We never said yes to any of that – they were just ideas.”
While fans can already get some Prince merchandise at Twins games, Nelson told Rolling Stone that the estate is finalizing a deal with an unnamed “large retailer” to handle Prince merchandising. (Could it be hometown chain Target?)
There will also be a Prince memoir published this fall by Spiegel & Grau. Prince had only finished about 50 pages at the time of his death, but the book will be filled out with pictures and archival material.
One of the most intriguing possibilities to come from the article is a Prince hotel, but that is idea is really more of a notion than a plan. Tyka Nelson, Prince’s sister, told Rolling Stone that “it was only an idea my brother had, and he spoke about it to his assistant some years ago,” she says. “In the future it is something I’d like to investigate.”
Nelson says she’s helping the estate exercise oversight of how her late brother’s music is used, consistent with what might have been his wishes. For example, what if there’s a request to soundtrack a sex scene with a Prince song? “The money sounds really good, but would my brother approve of something like that? He may not want ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ in a sex scene. ‘Darling Nikki,’ that’s what you do! Or ‘Do Me, Baby’!”