On April 21, 2016, we lost an iconic figure in the music industry, one whose influence will be felt in generations to come. In conversation, it’s clear Prince had an innate ability to leave a lasting impression, and those lucky enough to spend time with him, like Mariah Carey, understand why he was so special in and outside of the studio.
“The late, great Prince, he was one of the best people I’ve met,” Carey says in her new Complex cover story. “Aside from his genius, his artistry, he actually helped me through a lot of [business] situations with his knowledge. He always had a plan. He was ahead of everybody on the whole Internet thing. Ahead of everybody with putting his music on the Internet. He didn’t care about the big system and I was always like, in the back of my mind, at any time Prince could write a No. 1 song because he’s that talented but he chooses to do what he wants. I respect that.”
Another reason Mariah respected Prince is through his well-publicized stance of prohibiting anyone from using his music, the ultimate power move from a musician. “He would deny anybody the right to use his song for something because he didn’t like that,” she remembers. Interestingly enough, Mariah made her own rendition of one of Prince’s tracks, and his response upon finding out was very Prince-like. “I actually remade one of his songs [‘The Beautiful Ones’] without knowing he didn’t like it and then he was like, ‘I like ‘Honey.’ I don’t like when people do other people’s songs.’”