Prince announced that he was working on a memoir just weeks before his death on April 21, 2016. To fill out the unfinished manuscript that he left behind — more than 50 handwritten pages — The Beautiful Ones features behind-the-scenes photos, scrapbooks, and handwritten lyric sheets provided by Prince’s estate, including the original treatment for his iconic song “Purple Rain.”
It’s a coming-of-age story of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating an artistic vision — before the hits and fame that would come to define him New Yorker writer Dan Piepenbring, who talked to him four days before his death, has penned the introduction — which you can hear in this exclusive audio excerpt. For the Prince-penned parts, two life-long Prince fans are narrating. Jazz singer Esperanza Spalding and Nigerian-American actress and singer Adepero Oduye (Pariah, 12 Years a Slave) read the audiobook, available now.
“Recording with Esperanza Spalding and Adepero Oduye was an amazing experience,” says Laura Wilson, the audiobook producer. “We were looking for strong women’s voices to read Prince’s , in part because Prince himself was a powerful mentor to a number of different female musicians.”
As Wilson explains, Spalding brought a “musician’s understanding to the insights into his creative process” that Prince provided in his memoir. “Ms. Oduye is a remarkable actress who was able capture some of the immediacy of Prince’s stories from his young adulthood. Both actors were struck by Prince’s genius, and how much he still has to teach us about music.”