Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2004: Prince

Purple reign will continue in Cleveland

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A career milestone like induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame usually brings pause for reflection. But with a new album, Musicology, and extensive world tour set to begin March 29th in Los Angeles, Prince says he's too busy to look back. "No reflection," the reclusive singer wrote in a very brief email, "things r moving 2 fast."

That does not mean though that he is not moved by the tribute. "I've always felt that any honor is just that, and it makes me feel good to receive that," he said at a February 24th gathering of fan club members and journalists at Los Angeles' El Rey Theater. "I'm not much for awards, competitions, but I really love when people show respect for the work that I've done."

And he will be present and accounted for when he is inducted March 15th. "They've asked me to perform, so I'm going to perform on the show," he says. "I'm gonna probably open the show and I have an extended amount of time, so I'm going to do my thing."

The Hall of Fame induction is the latest in a series of accolades for the multi-hyphenated singer/multi-instrumentalist/producer/songwriter, whose influence on today's artists is noticeable in a wide range of acts, from No Doubt to OutKast (among the artists that have recorded a Prince song are Madonna, Warren Zevon, Patti Smith, Leann Rimes and Alicia Keys).

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of his film Purple Rain and the landmark album of the same name, Prince kicked off this year's Grammys with help from Beyonce. "The Grammys was really special for me because we got a chance to show a new generation what it is that we do," he said. "And one of the things we're trying to do on this tour is bring music back, bring live musicianship back."

Prince also says after working with Beyonce, he can be counted among her legions of fans. "It was cool working with Beyonce because she's a real talent, really cares about music," he said. "She seems to have a relationship with the music that we all have, which means that she does it naturally. When the music starts she'll move naturally, and she has impeccable rhythm and pitch."

And Prince embraces his longstanding role as a mentor to the other artists. "A lot of the younger artists are giving props to what came before them," he said. "When you hear stuff like that, it really warms your heart. The one thing I want them to do though is to understand that a lot of things I did when I was younger was because I was younger and I was seeking attention. At the same time I was being very true to the music and my spirit. But your spirit evolves. Mine is constantly evolving and I hope that if they want to follow me, they keep following me."

Prince is without question still evolving, as evidenced by the experimentation he's shown on recent works like The Rainbow Children and last year's all-instrumental N.E.W.S. At forty-six, he's one of the younger entrants into the Hall, an honor that signifies a lifetime achievement award. Just as he refuses to look backwards, he's not giving into the notion that he's entering any sort of golden years. He even rejects that his career is at the halfway mark. "Midway point?" he fired back at a questioner. "Everyday is a new beginning!"