Kelly Price Remembers Becoming a ‘Prince Girl’ at ESSENCE Festival
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Like the rest of the music world, Kelly Price is mourning the loss of the legendary Prince on April 21. The veteran R&B diva remembers seeing the Purple One perform live for the first time when he headlined the ESSENCE Festival in 2014.

“He wanted everyone in purple, and I was an obedient fan in all purple,” recalls Price, who also played the Festival herself that year. “I was down there on the floor, and all around me were my peers because we all were Prince fans. Those of us who were performing on that night had to run and make sure we didn’t miss anything. Twenty-four years in the business, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that. It was amazing.”

Rest in Power, Prince: In Memoriam of the Man and the Music

But Price—who will return to perform and continue her “For the Love of R&B” talent search at the Festival this July 4th weekend—had an even bigger Prince “fan-out moment” when she met His Royal Badness at the ESSENCE extravaganza. It all went down before she took the stage to help fill in for Luther Vandross after he’d suffered a stroke.

“There was a section of VIPs on the side of the stage, and Prince was seated in that section,” Price remembers. “So I’m standing there, trying my best not to turn my head all the way around, and before I know it he’s right next to me and he’s in my ear. His voice was so deep and sexy, and he said to me, ‘I just want you to know that I think you have a beautiful voice and I love you.’ 

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A Rare Prince Interview from the ESSENCE Archives

“And I was like, ‘Oh Jesus, am I supposed to sing after that?’ I had to get my life together! The man was in my ear, I could feel his breath on my neck, and then he told me he loved me. And I know he didn’t mean it like that, but just for that moment I wanted to believe that I was going to be a Prince girl, ’cause we know he had the baddest chicks. So Prince, I love him.”

And we love that story, Kelly.

Purchase your tickets for the 2016 ESSENCE Festival here and make sure to check back for more updates.