The Prince Estate, in partnership with Warner Bros. Records and TIDAL, has released "Originals", a 15-track album featuring 14 previously unreleased recordings that illuminate the vital, behind-the-scenes role Prince played in other artists' careers. The tracks were selected collaboratively by Troy Carter, on behalf of The Prince Estate, and JAY-Z.
"When the tapes arrived from Minneapolis at Iron Mountain's storage facility in LA, Greg Parkin, Director, Digital Solutions hired me to build a control room so that the assets were secure and never left the building," explains Niko Bolas, the mixing engineer on the Prince project, who worked closely with Estate archivist Michael Howe. "I was responsible for the mixes for review, which went very well, before mastering the album at Bernie Grundman's in Hollywood."
Prince will forever be remembered as a commanding live performer, chart-topping recording artist, and music business revolutionary. Yet for all the time he spent in the spotlight over his four-decade-long career, Prince also worked tirelessly behind the scenes to nurture talent and pen songs for the rising artists he respected.
"Some of the tapes were finished releases," Bolas continues. "We re-mixed them with Prince's vocals, the guide vocals. We soon learned that whoever the artist was that had the original single tried to use his phrasing exactly."
On June 21st, Warner Bros. Records released this extraordinary body of work, sourced directly from Prince's vast archive of Vault recordings, via all download and streaming partners and physically on CD, while 180 gram 2LP and limited edition Deluxe CD+2LP formats will follow on July 19th.
Bernie Grundman mastered Prince's debut album, which was recorded and mixed by Tommy Vicari at Record Plant recording studios in Sausalito. "I was there when Prince first came on the scene, Grundman recalls. "Of course, none of us had any idea of who he was or what he was going to be. I just got the tapes and went ahead and mastered it. The recording had a really great feeling to it, as did the subsequent albums. He always did a great job with that. That feeling connects you to the music better, in combination rhythmically."
By the mid-1980s, Prince was dominating the charts even as a writer/producer with songs he'd composed and recorded for others. In addition to releasing nine of his most commercially successful full-length albums, he also wrote and recorded endless reels of material for proteges The Time, Vanity 6, Sheila E., Apollonia 6, Jill Jones, the Family, and Mazarati.
Fifteen Tracks Originally Intended as Demos for Other Artists
BY DAVID GOGGIN COMMUNICATION ARCS , JUN 25, 2019