MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been almost five years since Prince died at the age of 57. But now fans will get to listen to never-before-heard music from the music legend.
Prince never shied away from getting political with his music. His 1987 magnum opus “Sign o’ the Times” opened with the title track, a late 80s manifesto for all wrong in the world.READ MORE: Prince, Bob Dylan Make Top 10 In Rolling Stone’s Latest ‘Greatest Albums Of All Time’ List
And one of his last major singles released was “Baltimore,” a scorching response to the 2015 death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police officers.
Now, more than a decade after it was produced, an unreleased Prince album from 2010 is set to be released July 30.
Songs from Prince's 'Welcome 2 America,' an album written and recorded before a 2010 tour, but never made public, will be heard for the first time Sunday night on 60 Minutes. https://t.co/fJnLZ8J1fT pic.twitter.com/LtaD0o8jgb
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 8, 2021
“Welcome 2 America” is said to deal directly with racial inequality and social justice, and includes nods to the Black Lives Matter movement. The title track debuted on Prince’s YouTube channel Thursday.
“The injustice inequality, Prince knew about that firsthand, you know, growing up as a Black man. He knew what that was. And he could write about it and he could sing about it,” Shelby J, a vocalist who worked with Prince, said while speaking with “60 Minutes.” “When you got Breonna Taylor, you got Ahmaud Arbery, you got the George Floyd going on, it’s like we are the movement is happening. I think that the world is ready to absorb what he’s saying on this album. I mean it’s right on time. You know, right on time.”
Those who worked with Prince say there’s an untold wealth of unreleased material that the Minnesota-native singer-songwriter created through the years, some of which has seen the light of day since his death in 2016 at 57.
Prince asked longtime keyboardist and musical director, Morris Hayes, to help produce the album.
“I’d never seen anybody that had that much work inside of them. It’s just this unending stream of just music,” keyboardist and musical director Morris Hayes said.
The twelve-track record was recorded at Paisley Park in Chanhassen over a decade ago, but he never performed any of it live.
As of yet, this would be the first posthumously released studio album from the Prince estate. Prior to this, the live album, “Piano and a Microphone 1983” and a collection of outtakes, “Originals,” were released.
“We were surprised just like everybody else to wake up today and see, ‘Oh, there’s a new Prince song and a new Prince album coming in July,'” Electric Fetus’ music buyer Jim Novak said. “We’re scrambling to get everything ready to roll on to our website to be ready for it.”
Prince was a regular at the Electric Fetus record store in Minneapolis. Fans come from all over to get his music.
The album description says the songs touch on Prince’s vision for “a shifting society,” years ahead of a time of political division and a fight for racial justice.
“I think he worked tirelessly, and not even the tip of the iceberg has made it to the public ear yet,” Aaron Meyerring, an owner of Electric Fetus, said.
Fans will soon get a listen.
“It’ll be our number one album for the whole month. It’ll be a huge huge deal,” Novak said.MORE NEWS: What Do Continued Music Streams Mean For Prince’s Estate?