Friday, May 17, 2013

When A Prince Becomes King

So the annual Billboard Music Awards are this Sunday, May 19th, 2013 @ 8 p.m. on CBS. Most people will miss the show. After all, they are not as popular as the Grammys or the American Music Awards, but they have gained respect from music industry professionals.
This is why honoring Prince with an Icon award not only makes sense, but is appropriate. While the aforementioned award shows will inevitably honor Prince at some point, in a similar fashion, I'm anxiously anticipating the presentation of the award.
Many millennials have only a vague idea of who he is, beyond Purple Rain. That's to be expected. Prince turns 55 on June 7th. Knowing someone's body of work who has been around for 5 decades when you've only been around for 2, can create unfamiliarity.
But it's not about knowing Prince, it's about knowing his legacy - and his brand. It's his brand that musical millenials should study. They have a better chance at emulating that than his artistry and genius.

Prince proves that successful brands deliver and they consist of many appealing elements. What are his? I could identify his musical prowess, but that would diminish his sublime songwriting talents. I could also pinpoint his showmanship, but that would not do justice to his unmatched creativity, uniqueness, or charisma which have entranced both women and men. When you roll all of these elements into one, you get a truly distinguished, and timeless brand; one that was built consistently through decades which accompanied many management conflicts, music industry changes, legal battles, 2 divorces, and the death of his son. Prince transcended it all.
Our former King - the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, was royalty. Michael Jackson had the international appeal and cross over success that Prince longed for, and then worked diligently to get. It took longer for him than Michael, but he got it. Little did Prince know that his struggles were key to his positioning. They enabled him to grow as a person, obtain wisdom for the long haul, and evolve as an icon.

Good timing is everything. It's the one thing you can't plan or account for. Even in royalty.
When a Prince has lurked in the background for so long, and silently competed for his place upon a throne with fortitude, grace, and style, and that throne is vacated, that's when a Prince becomes a King.

Sunday's Billboard Music Awards is not a show; it's a crowning, and those who of us who appreciate royalty, will be tuned in to watch it.

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