Despite recent events, fans of Prince will eventually hear the fabled trove of unheard music that was locked away by the singer in a literal vault throughout his career.
Songstress Shelby J, a close friend and longtime protégé of the Purple Rain star, detailed to TMZ on the one-year anniversary of his April 21 death that Prince once told her directly that plans were in place to push the music inside of the vault to the outside world sometime after his eventual death.
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“His music will be released,” Shelby shared with the site, “because it is something that he [ultimately] wanted.”
“I sometimes asked [Prince specifically] about the [music] in the vault,” she went on to share, “and he [would] say, ‘that will be released when I’m gone. Somebody will make that decision [for me].'”
Relatively, those decisions are now being made by the estate of the late Prince Rogers Nelson; currently co-run by music industry advisers Charles Koppelman and L. Londell McMillan, according to Billboard, who have, to date, only authorized the release of just one song: “Moonbeam Levels,” a 1982 ballad that appeared on the 2016 Prince compilation disc, 4Ever.
Speaking with Billboard regarding their positions and their dealings with the estate, Koppelman and McMillan expressed that as with most thing in life, time is of the utmost importance when it comes to the complete works of Prince seeing the light of day.
“What I am most thrilled about is taking this great body of work, and working with the family and others in the industry to determine how it will be re-introduced to generation Y and Z [to] continue [his] legacy,” McMillan admitted.
“Prince has amazing content beyond the music. [For example], there are [filmed recordings of] the most amazing performances that we haven’t even begun to discuss [releasing yet].”
Koppelman mirrored his partner’s enthusiasm for the Prince music and video vault releases and solidified the necessity of releasing them slowly over time, rather than all at once.
“That’s the [best] way [to] introduce Prince to a younger audience,” he surmised, “or [to] an audience that didn’t really know him that well, That’s why the time frame is important. For example, to have a documentary for the younger [and] older generations to reacquaint [them with] and understand his incredible talent, [can’t] happen three years from now. [The impact is] not the same.”
Incidentally, a 5-song EP of recordings Prince worked on with producer Ian Boxill between 2006 and 2008 entitled Deliverance, was recently blocked from being released by the singer’s estate one day before their scheduled release — April 21, the first anniversary of Prince’s death, as noted in a separate TMZ report.
“The estate [claimed in court that] George Ian Boxill signed a confidentiality agreement when he recorded the tracks with Prince, all recordings would remain [the singer’s] sole and exclusive property.”
Boxill was reportedly told back in March to hand over the music to Prince’s estate, which he refused to do and instead, compiled them for sale on streaming music services, iTunes and Apple Music. The brand, which was not named in the suit, have not commented on the matter.
“Currently things are on a schedule,” McMillan further detailed to Billboard regarding Prince’s unheard music in the vault, “and there is not an active search [of] that material [happening at this time], because of some of the things Charles spoke about regarding different interests.”
Shelby, meanwhile, believes that Prince would’ve been fine with Deliverance and any other recording of his being out there and heard by his beloved fans.
“He really wanted that music out there for the world [to enjoy],” she relayed, “and I know that because that’s what he told me. I was with him for 10 years and there’s music we recorded that I’ve never heard that’s just sitting there.”
Prince’s estate could not be reached for a response on Shelby’s knowing of the recordings in the music vault.
[Featured Image by Chris Graythen/Stringer/Getty Images]