"Tonight is the Night for Making Slow Love" – Interview with Carole R. Davis

“Prince was a hyper-religious person and a non-conventional religious person.” 

Back in May I had the pleasure of interviewing actress and singer Carole R. Davis, who met Prince in the mid-1980s and became his friend. She also co-wrote “Slow Love,” which is on Prince’s Sign O’ the Times album.

The funny thing is that I’d already had quotes from Davis in my book. They were from an old Rolling Stone article. She actually asked the publication to quote her anonymously, but through talking to her, I made the connection. I love the mystery-solving aspect of being a biographer.

I spent about $100 calling Davis long-distance–she was in France at the time–but our chat was worth the expense. Through my interviews, I’ve learned that Prince showed different sides of his personality to different people, which I guess we all do to some extent. As a result, some of his friends and associates describe him as religious, and others do not. Luckily, Davis saw the spiritual side of the artist during his early career; as an atheist, she disagreed with his strict beliefs and they often argued.

Davis shared some pretty funny stories about Prince. She was also forthcoming about his personality flaws, which I appreciated. I think some people are hesitant to present the full picture of the musician now that he is gone. And that’s not to suggest that I’m trying to paint him as a villain. It’s just that the more honest people are, the more likely I will be able to convey his spiritual journey, which included some internal struggles and setbacks.

As always, you’ll be able to read more from this interview in the book.

Difficult question: If you could only listen to one song from the Sign O’ the Times album, what would it be? (I’d go with “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” because of the instrumental section at the end).


"Tell Me a Bedtime Story" – Interview with Devin Devasquez

Whenever you hear about “Prince’s women,” the same handful of names are mentioned: Vanity, Mayte Garcia, Sheila E., Carmen Electra and, if you’re really informed, Susannah Melvoin. However, there are countless others who have stories worth telling, including Devin Devasquez.

Devasquez is a former Playboy centerfold who dated Prince in 1985, but remained in touch with him off and on through the late 1990s. You can read her People magazine story here. I spoke with her shortly after Prince passed, and it was one of the most important interviews for my book.

Yes, you read that right. As you know, my book is about Prince’s spiritual journey, and Devasquez and I talked for two hours on the subject. Our interview demonstrates that every source is worth contacting; you just never know who is going to have the insight you’re looking for, or connect you with other valuable sources. And you can’t dismiss someone because they aren’t well known in Prince lore.

People often complain that I don’t share enough details from my interviews in my blog posts. Well, I have to give people a reason to read the book, especially so they can grasp the full story. So, unfortunately, I can’t really go into the specifics of my conversation with Devasquez. What I can say is that the interview provided more support for my initial feeling that Prince’s oscillation between the sacred and profane in his art was informed by an internal struggle.

In fact, as I transcribed the interview, I kept thinking of Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

I can also reveal one unrelated tidbit: Devasquez said Sheila E.’s song “Bedtime Story” was composed by Prince and originally written about Devasquez. It has a jazzy feel because Devasquez is from Louisiana.

As a biographer, it’s always exciting when you find that one source’s story corroborates another, especially when you weren’t even trying to make that connection. That’s what happened when I talked to Devasquez; her experience with Prince validated some information I received from Jill Jones.

Before speaking with Devasquez, I never thought I would help people who knew Prince find closure or make sense of their time with him. I experienced that with Devasquez as I shared some of my findings with her. It was such a cool feeling.

Finally, I am so grateful for her encouragment. I always wondered what Prince would think of my book. I guess I’ll never know, but it always feels good to get approval from those who knew him.

“When you e-mailed me, I immediately felt–and I am very, very intuitive–that this is something he would want,” Devasquez said. “These are the kinds of interviews and the kinds of things he would want to see out there on him now that he’s gone.”

"I Want to Play You this Old Song" – Interview with Chuck Zwicky

It’s been a while since I published a sneak peek at an interview I’ve completed for the book. A few months ago, I spoke with Prince’s engineer, Chuck Zwicky, who worked with the artist from 1987 to 1989.

I ask everyone if they think Prince was religious or spiritual during their time with him. Some say yes, some say no and others don’t know. Some had conversations about God with Prince, others didn’t.

Of course I can’t give it away here, but Zwicky had one of the most unique answers to that question. He made me think about Prince’s spiritual music and performances in a way I hadn’t before. In fact, he had a fresh perspective on a lot of topics, including Prince’s method of working and the way in which his staff received credit for recordings.

I will share one random, interesting fact: Prince had strep throat when he recorded “Elephants and Flowers” (I’ve always loved his voice on that track, ha!).

Stay tuned for more interviews; at this point, I have four more to transcribe.

"Posters all Over the Walls" – Decorative Prince Pieces

Since moving to my new apartment in Columbus, I have yet to hang anything on my walls besides a calendar and dry erase board.

I think I’m going to put my old Prince poster in the kitchen. I also want to start displaying some recent pieces I’ve acquired. Before I do, I thought I’d share them with you below.

Back in May, my sister discovered that a neighbor was selling collectible Prince items for–get this–$1 each! Most people would have charged a fortune, especially since Prince had just passed away. Anyway, my sister bought this for me, and I plan to get it framed.

Rolling Stone, April 28, 1983

Back in October, I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum‘s Herb Ritts exhibit and, naturally, purchased a post card bearing this iconic image. I was thinking of hanging it in the bathroom, but I think I’ll put it in a frame on my desk, table or dresser.

Photo by Herb Ritts, 1991

I don’t expect to display these items, but just thought I’d share.

More Rolling Stone magazines

Various publications

My sister was so excited to give this to me.

Actual polaroid from the Purple Rain tour

If this is your first time here, my name is Erica Thompson and I’ve been writing a book on Prince’s spiritual journey for nearly a decade (ha, ha) and blogging about it here for over five years. I hope you’ll stick around and check out some of my older posts.

"When I Need Someone to Talk to" – Updated List of Interviews (2016)

I figured I’d create one go-to blog entry for the most updated list of interviews for the Prince book. In addition to keeping my readers up-to-date (and myself organized), it allows me to quickly tell potential sources whom I’ve already interviewed.

Interview with former pre-Revoluation band member Gayle Chapman

Interviews with Rolling Stone journalists

Interview with former press agent Howard Bloom

Interview with former Warner Bros. Director of Publicity Roberta Burrows

Interview with gossip columnist CJ

Interview with former church youth group leader Art Erickson

Brief chat with a very special person

Interview with a family member

Interview with members from the Seventh-Day Adventist church Prince attended

Interview with Larry Graham

Interview with former music collaborator Chris Moon

Interview with former girlfriend Jill Jones

Interview with former set and lighting designer Roy Bennett

Interview with former business associate Craig Rice

Interview with former stagehand and production assistant Cheryl Sonny Thompson

Interview with flower girl Ali Zampino

Interview with former girlfriend Devin Devasquez

Interview with former engineer Chuck Zwicky

Interview with former associate Yarima Karama

Interview with former girlfriend Terri Ivens

Interview with friend Carole R. Davis

"Tears Go Here" – Rest in Peace, Prince

Re-posted from Columbus Alive

My heart is heavy because we just lost Prince, one of the most significant figures in American popular music. In the 1980s, his cutting-edge music broke down barriers in a segregated industry. He challenged censorship and social conventions with his frank, sexually charged lyrics and performances, and the Purple Rain album and blockbuster movie solidified him as a pop icon.

Prince was also a musical virtuoso — he mastered numerous instruments and genres, released over thirty albums and penned songs for many other artists. An innovator in the music industry, he fought Warner Bros. to gain control of his master recordings, and became one of the first artists to use the Internet to distribute music. Another inventive business move comes to mind: He included a copy of his 2004 Musicology album with each ticket to his popular concert tour, thus securing high album sales and the number three spot on the Billboard 200.

But more than anything, Prince has been a major part of my life. I was first introduced to Prince via his 1990 movie, “Graffiti Bridge,” the “Purple Rain” sequel that my sister and I watched frequently along with Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker.” I am certain that I heard the song “1999” over-played on the radio, along with “When Doves Cry,” “Kiss,” and “Adore.”

However, I didn’t become a super-fan until my junior year of high school in 2002. BET was repeatedly running “Purple Rain.” I sat down to watch the movie and was surprised that I had never seen it. I thought the movie was interesting, but one scene especially caught my attention:  the performance of the song “Computer Blue.”  I was intrigued by the way Prince played guitar, and I knew in that moment that he was an extraordinary musician.  I was hooked.

I became obsessed with researching Prince’s career (listening to old albums, reading biographies, etc.). In 2004, I lied to my professor to get out of a school engagement so I could see him play at the Gund Arena in Cleveland. I was also fortunate enough to see him again in 2010 at Madison Square Garden. Call me superstitious, but I felt in my heart that this pattern of seeing Prince every six years would continue; I just knew he’d be coming to Columbus this summer, but he has passed on to a better place…

Prince is also the center of what I consider my life’s work, a book on his spiritual journey. It may seem crazy, but Prince always explored spirituality in his life and music, even in his most sexually explicit songs. He became a Jehovah’s Witness later in life, but my intention is not to convert the reader to a particular faith. The fascinating part of the story is how he overcame his internal struggles to achieve a peace which I’m sure comforted him up until his death.

I was hoping to meet and interview Prince one day, but I was prepared to finish my book if that did not happen. So even though I am distraught, I am committed to finishing what I started. Prince certainly completed what he was destined to do in his lifetime, and his amazing music will continue to be a part of my life (when I can bear to listen to it again). With that said, I’ll leave you with one of his quotes from a 1990 Rolling Stone interview:

“When I pray to God, I say, ‘It’s your call — when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. But as long as you’re going to leave me here, then I’m going to cause much ruckus!’”

What is your favorite memory of Prince?

"Comin’ From the Land of Snow" – Prince’s Autobiography

After publishing my blog entry on Wednesday, I was wondering if I’d find another topic for the week. Well, ask and you shall receive.

Prince just announced that he will publish his memoir in fall 2017.

I received this news at 4 a.m. in this morning. Of course my first response was to freak out, cry and send a frantic e-mail to the professor who helped me with the book. I wondered, “Does this mean I should quit?”

However, after receiving some wonderful encouragement, I’m OK. So, in the spirit of thinking positive, here is why I will keep going:

  • Prince’s publishers, Spiegel & Grau, mentioned that the memoir would be “unconventional” and “poetic.” So it’s likely that our books will be different, especially given that I am focusing solely on his spiritual journey.
  • People write books on artists all the time–even if the artists have autobiographies. It’s not the end of the world.
  • I can use this as an opportunity to push myself and finish the book before his comes out. I still have time. So, it’s time to get back on a schedule.
I am so grateful to have a few people who lift me up during times like these–especially people following my journey online. Here is a snippet of a nice message that I received from someone on Facebook:


“I don’t think you should give up….I will buy your book….Your book is a fresh perspective: spirituality. Prince has leaned on his beliefs throughout his career to explain his talents and success. Deep exploration will be fascinating.” 

"Rich on Personality" – Creating My Brand

I will not fail my 52-blog challenge! Due to my crazy, busy life, I didn’t blog last week, but I am still on track! I mentioned earlier that if I missed a week of blogging, I would make up for it with two blogs the following week. So, here is one blog of two for the week!

I am always thinking of ways to improve the blog. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to make a name for myself. I want to become well-known as a respected writer. As I gain “fans,” I increase the chances of getting new views on Here is what I have done to reach my goal:

1) I created a Facebook page. Facebook’s advertising platform is so sophisticated. I’m looking forward to building an audience and creating campaigns to drive them to the blog.

2) I got a full-time journalism job. At the end of March I will start a new job as an assistant editor at an arts and entertainment publication! This will only help my credibility as a writer.

3) I created a YouTube channel. My videos primarily showcase my opinion on new R&B and soul music. However, I hope that the audience will take me seriously as a music critic and therefore take an interest in my blog. Here is a little peek into the video series:

What album should I review next?

"Another 300 Melodies" – Unreleased Prince Music & Other Projects

What a week! I started an exciting new music journalism project (more info to come), and I came down with a terrible cold. In fact, I’m still sick, so this will be a short blog entry.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Prince’s “vault,” or vast collection of unreleased songs, albums, videos and other projects. The vault is legendary, and many fans are hoping that he will begin to share some of this material as part of his new partnership with Warner Bros.

I often wonder if I should analyze music from the vault, but I’m sticking to my decision to leave it alone. After all, the material is not readily available, and getting the material from a bootlegger would be illegal. Other biographers have heard the songs, but I don’t want to simply use their analyses and “water down” my book.

However, I am interested in some projects that were released but are just rare. One example is the ballet featuring Prince’s music. Additionally, I keep hearing about documentaries that were made about Prince. I have to find out if they were official or unofficial…

Well, I need to go take some Nyquil. Be back next week!

What is your favorite unreleased Prince project?

"Soul Psychodelicide" – The Graffiti Bridge Album

I have great news! After giving myself a much-needed pep talk, I locked myself in my house on Saturday and finally hammered out my analysis of the “Batman” movie and album. Now, all I have to do is write about the reception of the album, and Prince’s 1990 “Nude” tour, and chapter 10 will be done (for the most part)!

The next step will be to add to my list of interviews. Then, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I will analyze the “Graffiti Bridge” movie. Like the film, the soundtrack contains a lot of spiritual themes, and I’m really looking forward to exploring them.

As you know, if I absolutely had to choose my favorite track on the album, I would pick “The Question of U.” However, I pretty much love everything except the songs by The Time (sorry, guys) and the title track (a little too “syrupy”). Can we take a moment to applaud Mavis Staples‘ performance on “Melody Cool?” By the way, I am dying to see her new documentary on HBO, which will feature an appearance by Prince. I don’t have cable, so I’m having my dad record it for me. I still have to get over his house to watch the Michael Jackson “Off the Wall” doc.

Speaking of “The Gloved One,” I’m going to an MJ tribute concert tonight, and I have more plans Saturday and Sunday. It looks like I’ll be getting back to my book on Monday, but I’m not stressing about it! I’m happy with my progress, and I have a feeling I’ll be knocking out another chunk of writing very soon!

What are your favorite tracks on Graffiti Bridge?