A World Gone Purple; Why the passing of a music icon touches us so deeply.

photo credit Ben James/Yamaha Entertainment Group

photo credit Ben James/Yamaha Entertainment Group

I remember when Prince first hit the scene. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of him. Was he rock? Was he funk? Was he R & B? He pushed limits and tested all the norms. Like many, I couldn’t help but be drawn into his music and to his persona. To put it simply, he was a master of all that he did. He was pure genius in a purple overcoat.

We’ve lost many great artists this year. But the way the world has mourned the loss of Prince seems to stand out unlike some of the others. From musical tributes to world landmarks turning purple in his honor, the outpouring has been remarkable. Bruce Springsteen, on his current tour has honored artists lost this year through performing one of their songs in the encore part of his show. On Saturday night he broke the norm and the band walked on to a stage bathed in purple to open “The River Tour” with Purple Rain. Prince, in an interview,  when asked who he admired, cited Bruce and his band for their professionalism and dedication to performing at their best night after night. The feeling was obviously mutual.

The best artists have a plan and a command of the path they are on. They put in thousands of hours perfecting their craft so that when we as the audience experience their work we become part of it in what feels like an effortless embrace. Probably no other art form can accomplish this like music can.

Neuroscientists have found that music affects the brain unlike any other stimuli. They’ve discovered that music actually affect a special receptor part of the brain that not only stimulates emotion but at the same time motor response. Our muscles kick in automatically as we tap our feet or fingers to a beat. Nietzsche said our bodies “mirror the narrative of the melody, and the thoughts and feelings it provokes” Music is a part of our bio-humanity and our global history. Perhaps that is why no other art form is so celebrated  when greatness is experienced and mourned so deeply when it is lost.

Creativity and art is an evolving process. Being human is no different and perhaps that is why the act of creating is truly the act of giving; the highest form of humanity that we can achieve.

Thank you Prince for allowing us to be part of your humanity.