The Untold Story Behind the Prince Autobiography

Prince had big plans for the future.

He was just 57-years-old when he died of an accidental fentanyl overdose at his famed Paisley Park compound, but a new article from The New Yorker reveals he had a lot of living left to do. In the piece, Dan Piepenbring—writer and co-author of the soon-to-be-released Prince autobiography, The Beautiful Ones—details the strange selection process he underwent to become Prince’s literary partner in crime, which included never being notified he got the job after being told he wasn’t getting the job: ‘Many Prince associates have a similar story: they were never officially hired,’ Piepenbring writes. ‘Prince simply told them to show up again, and they did.’

From his first meeting with Prince at Paisley Park to their final phone call a few weeks before his death, Piepenbring was given a rare insight into the icon’s infamous quirks (private screenings of Kung Fu Panda 3) and aspirations for his autobiography.

He wanted the book to solve racism, to be about his mother, to be a ‘handbook for the brilliant community’ to ‘teach that what you create is yours,’ and everything else in-between. He promised stories about his interactions with stars like Michael Jackson (who he famously smashed in ping pong, referring to him as Helen Keller as Jackson stormed out of the room), and had already begun writing about ‘the first time he felt a girl up; his first R-rated movie; a girlfriend slamming his locker shut, “like in a John Hughes film,” just to hold mistletoe over his head and kiss him.’

One of the big takeaways from The New Yorker write-up was Prince’s fierce ownership over his creations, including the book that he and Piepenbring were in the process of writing together. Hardly surprising, from an artist who managed to claw back control of his master recordings from Warner Bros. and other industry fat cats, and also kept a trove of unreleased music locked in a vault—a vault which his estate managed to break into two years after his death, releasing remastered originals and new material.

Read the whole thing right here, and then keep an eye out for The Beautiful Ones coming out October of this year.

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