I am a huge fan of Elvis and Prince–says so right in my bio at the bottom of this page! I pretty sure I fell in love with Elvis because of his good looks. I discovered him in 1976 when he was 41 and I was seven. I discovered him on TV. In his movies, he was still young. And super attractive.
My love for Prince didn’t happen the same way. I was never attracted to his physical appearance; I was attracted to his music. It was 1982 and I heard Little Red Corvette on the radio. There was something about the lyrics to that song that grabbed me. There was something about the rhythm that incited me. It only took that one song to hook me. I spent hours listening to the radio trying to get a perfect recording of the song in its entirety without any interruption from the DJs. I listened to my homemade tapes so much that I wore out a “belt” inside of my boom box that turned the cassette tape. Being my father’s daughter, I learned to replace the “belt” with precisely sized rubber washers. If I picked a washer that was too big or too fat, my music dragged and played too slow. Picking a washer too small or too skinny, caused my Prince music to play too fast. Picking the right size was key.
My 34-Year Love Affair with Prince
When I finally got an official copy of 1999, I wore that out too. I listened over and over until I knew every word, every moan, every breath and every hand clap to every song on the A- and B-sides. Free quickly became my second, all-time favorite Prince song. To this day, Free is like my personal anthem. Prince and his tunes has gotten me through many times in my life—good and bad. When Doves Cry was my little sister’s favorite song when she passed away. To this day, I can’t hear the song without thinking of her.
In 1997, my best friend bought two 6th row seats to his Jam of the Year concert in San Antonio on August 8. Not counting SA Rodeo performances, I had only been to a handful of concerts in my life and I was super excited to see him!! I rushed home from work, showered, purchased a 12-pack of Bud Light (<- dumb move!) and we made our way to the Alamodome. Before even getting inside the place, we had managed to polish off the beer (<- dumb move #2!). Prince hadn’t even took the stage yet, and I had finished my first large concession beer with a straw (<- dumb move #3!). I was on my second large concession beer with a straw (<- dumb move #4!) and Prince was only three or four songs into his playlist. I think right about the time he was finishing up Little Red Corvette, I was looking for the nearest exit out of the Alamodome (<- finally, a smart move). I spent the entire remainder of the concert laying on the edge of a cement planter purging my body of all the alcohol I had consumed so irresponsibly. I missed the entire rest of the concert. I was devastated, grief-stricken. Not counting truly bad things, this is in the top ten list of worst things ever to happen to me in my life. I was so sad.
The next day, I woke up about twelve o’clock. I ate “breakfast” and went back to bed. I got up again about two o’clock and made the fantastic decision that I was making up for the previous night. I called my dad—who had never watched by five- and two-year-old daughters—and asked if they could spend the night with him because I was going to Dallas (<- another smart move)! Still not sure on this, but I think he agreed because I sure enough left my kids there. I drove about 100 miles an hour all the way to Dallas and screeched into town with barely enough time to buy two scalped tickets, walk two miles from where I parked to the Coca-Cola Starplex Amphitheatre and find a nice seat on the grassy hill to enjoy the concert… the entire concert free of alcohol. I didn’t even get up to go to the bathroom. I sat through and enjoyed every second of every song. I did not mess this up. Not even a tiny bit.
By the time I walked back to the car, I had huge blisters on my feet. They hurt. I wasn’t done yet though. A few months ago, I told about the time I was three degrees of separation from Prince. Let me tell you about the time I was one degree, or actually 180° from Prince.
In San Antonio and again on our way into Dallas, I kept hearing radio commercials advertising an official concert after the concerts. According to the radio, Prince was going to play at Cafe Hollywood in San Antonio and Mirage in Dallas after his concert. I seriously doubted this in San Antonio, but in Dallas, it peaked my interest. I didn’t have my kids with me and could spare of few hours. Without a map or GPS or any real familiarity with Dallas, I was going to find the Mirage and see if Prince would actually show up. I only remember asking one or two people how to get to the Mirage, but I found it. I think it was a miracle.
I mentioned the blisters, right? After standing around for a few hours waiting for Prince to show up, my best friend was ready to throw in the towel. I wasn’t, but I did need a place to sit and rest. We found a short set of stairs on the side of the club near a back-entrance driveway. Not long after, two other girls joined us and we talked about being Prince fans for a while.
Then. Suddenly. There were men walking all around us. They were wearing black suits and shiny shoes. They had head sets. Some were talking into their watches. We had no idea who was showing up, but we knew without a doubt that some sort of celebrity was on their way. A few minutes later, a black limo backed into the drive. The driver emerged and opened the back door. Mayte Garcia, Prince’s wife at the time, got out and entered the club through a back door. At one point, a security man addressed us and told us we could stay if we didn’t move. We didn’t move. This was enough fuel for the four of us to continue to sit.
About five minutes later, a second black limo backed into the drive. Again, the driver emerged and opened the back door for his passenger. Someone got out, but all we could see were shoes. The driver shut the door and. IT. WAS. PRINCE. Y’ALL. I’m pretty sure the two girls with us screamed his name. I, on the other hand, just stared at him open-mouthed and wide-eyed. I could not believe I was close enough to Prince to see the whites of his eyes.
I was satisfied and it was now time to go home. I convinced myself we had already spent enough money on Prince this weekend, so we just decided not to go inside. Now, I wish I had gone inside—a small regret in my life. Turns out these small club appearances were One Off Appearances that Prince would play a 30-minute playlist for.
Fast forward to 2004. Another friend scored two Musicology tickets from her employer and gifted them to me—or at least that’s what she told me. These were also very good tickets, on the 12th row or so. I wanted to share my Prince experience with my two daughters, my niece and nephew and my best friend again, but I only had two tickets. How on Earth could I decide who’d go with me? Despite earning far less than the average income, I splurged and bought an additional four tickets for the Musicology Tour. Albeit they were in the highest section of the AT&T Center, but I could still take everyone with me I wanted.
My plan was to swap the kiddos in and out of the good seat next to me. Prince never took any breaks in the set long enough to do that. Even though I had good intentions, I wasn’t making any bad decisions like I did in 1997. My oldest daughter got to watch the entire concert sitting right by me. Twelve years later and even though he has no real love for Prince, my nephew still complains about not being able to see Prince any closer than he did. The neatest part about his concert was that Prince handed out a Musicology CD to every single person who left the building. I’ve never heard of any other musical artist doing that. Another reason to love Prince.
That is how my 34-year long love affair with Prince happened. I’m so sorry the music world lost him. Despite any reason why he died, Prince was a musical genius. He was uber-talented and unlike any other musical entertainer the world has seen. You can’t box his music into one genre. He played rock, pop, R&B, soul, jazz, blues, funk, psychedelia. He didn’t lip sync. He didn’t sample from other artist’s music. He wrote original songs. He danced. He played musical instruments… many of them. Once asked how many, he answered 1,000. He was original. He fought for just causes. He stood up to the music industry… and won. He gave back to his community and to the world. He was creative. Recently, I heard he wrote two songs every day; oftentimes, for other singers. I can’t even imagine having an iota of that much creativity inside my body or mind or soul.
Prince will be missed by many. Including me.
I do hope that whatever happens with his estate, that his legacy is able to live on in the same way that Elvis’ has. I would visit Paisley Park in a New York millisecond if it were open to the public. I would tune into an XM Sirius Satellite station at least half the time I was in my car. Of course, the other half would still be dedicated to channel 19, Elvis. (FYI… XM Sirius Satellite channel 50 has been the official Prince tribute channel since his death. Not sure how long they will do this, but I’m listening every time I get in my car.)
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I am San Antonio’s most unique wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
I am a full-time, internationally-awarded and WPPI-C certified professional wedding photographer based in South Texas near San Antonio. I offer a premier and personal service coupled with an unforgettable photography experience. I cater to clients who appreciate quality photography and help them to create family heirlooms that will last for generations.
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
When I’m not photographing a wedding, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of!
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