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Thread started 10/30/17 4:15pm

bigbrother

Talent in the genes or simply hard work?

It struck me with all the press here in the UK about the O2 exhibition and Tyka doing some interviews that although giftedness/genius may run in families, in Prince's case it didn't seem to. With both of Prince's parents being musical, why do none of Prince's family members (Tyka and step-brothers and sisters) not seem to have any of the talent that he had. I know Tyka has released some music but she doesn't seem to have an ounce of her brother's ability vocally or otherwise. Prince may have been gifted but it's becoming increasingly apparent how hard he worked at honing that gift as well as other factors, such as bullying, that fuelled his drive to be the best. Any thoughts?

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Reply #1 posted 10/30/17 4:59pm

NorthC

This surely is an interesting question. Nature vs. nurture... Prince and André Cymone shared the same basement, played music together, yet only one of them became a superstar... Why?
Bob Dylan arrived on the New York folk scene in the early 60s and he became a superstar while people like Phil Ochs and Dave van Ronk didn't...
Were Prince and Bob just the right people at the right time? Is success just a combination of talent, vision, hard work and just sheer luck?
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Reply #2 posted 10/30/17 5:21pm

Germanegro

Prince definitely had natural talent, given the accounts of his musical origins. He definitely worked very hard as well. He had a great nucleus of external support, too. He, especially moreso than his peers I would assume, also had a clear vision toward his objectives. These combination of attributes are a great fuel to success. His vision probably allowed him to achieve as much as he did, because if you can see a thing you can grasp it more easily.

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Reply #3 posted 10/30/17 5:30pm

PennyPurple

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Prince was gifted. Just look at all the instruments he could play. He wasn't taught to play any of them, he just picked them up and did it.


I think it's just a combination of both genes and hard work.

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Reply #4 posted 10/30/17 5:59pm

precioux

Both. Prince even stated this several times himself
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Reply #5 posted 10/30/17 6:16pm

PeteSilas

he was freakishly gifted TO WORK HARD, some people can work like that continuously, day in day out. He also had drive which was probably more from his background and need to compensate. And yes, he had talent but sometimes talent takes a ton of work to uncover. Most of the great men i've studied didn't show any early promise for their avocations but they did work hard and continuous.

also, a star isn't just about talent, it's timing, charisma, image, luck, connections and many other things. someone mentioned andre, andre didn't have the entire package from what I can see, he didn't have the charisma, he didn't have the same outrageous and far reaching drive.

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Reply #6 posted 10/30/17 6:18pm

PeteSilas

PennyPurple said:

Prince was gifted. Just look at all the instruments he could play. He wasn't taught to play any of them, he just picked them up and did it.


I think it's just a combination of both genes and hard work.

his hs music teacher always said that prince never stuck in his mind as all that talented. could be many reasons for that, many teachers really don't give the time of day to their students and don't spend enough time to even see what they have to offer. However, Prince's teacher seemed to be very involved and was the first to plant notions of crossover into Prince's head by telling him a number one on the black charts didn't mean anything businesswise.

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Reply #7 posted 10/30/17 6:20pm

PeteSilas

dupe

[Edited 10/30/17 18:20pm]

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Reply #8 posted 10/30/17 8:46pm

purplerabbitho
le

I don't recall that about P. But maybe we read different accounts. One teacher I read called him very intelligent and naturally gifted. The other teacher seemed to find him obstinate and hard to read (the tack on the seat lady) .

PeteSilas said:

PennyPurple said:

Prince was gifted. Just look at all the instruments he could play. He wasn't taught to play any of them, he just picked them up and did it.


I think it's just a combination of both genes and hard work.

his hs music teacher always said that prince never stuck in his mind as all that talented. could be many reasons for that, many teachers really don't give the time of day to their students and don't spend enough time to even see what they have to offer. However, Prince's teacher seemed to be very involved and was the first to plant notions of crossover into Prince's head by telling him a number one on the black charts didn't mean anything businesswise.

[Edited 10/30/17 20:56pm]

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Reply #9 posted 10/30/17 8:55pm

purplerabbitho
le

Both. Also, the contention that P might have had some kind of acquired autism due to his epilepsy--if that is true, it might account for both his talent and his ability to focus. What bothers me about P's family is that none of them seemed to have jobs outside of being P's family and unsuccessful attempts at music careers. Alfred--I have complete sympathy for. John--I know nothing about. Lorrine had musical aspirations and sued her brother. Sharon had musical aspirations and didn't seem too knowledgable about her bro's music. Tyka had some musical aspirations but wouldn't take P's help in the studio, but seemed to take his monetary contributions when he offered them.. HIs family seemed almost lazy compared to him. P reminds me of my dad in some respect. He came from a family of 6 siblings (full siblings...catholic family) and only my dad aspired to be anything other than just a laborer. He worked two jobs (one was owning his own business and one was working for a certain sports franchise). Also, there was a big history of alcohol and drug problems with his siblings.

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Reply #10 posted 10/30/17 9:48pm

blizzybiz

This is an interesting question. My opinion? I'm not a religious person, but I truly believe that Prince was gifted, touched, however you want to describe it, and was meant to do exactly what he did while here on Earth. Plain and simple. I don't know if you would call him a conduit for something, an old soul, a soul that has been on this earth before and intuitively knew and understood what his purpose was, but when I look at the totality of Prince, the only answer I can come up with is that he was truly gifted. He definitely had what was required to bring his dreams to fruition, i.e., being disciplined, driven, etc., but so are lots of other artists out there. But I don't think I've been in awe of someone as much as I am with Prince. I don't worship him or anything, but there is nothing in my life that gives me pause and think that, yes, there is a higher power, and some people are simply more in touch with that power than others. Or it's something we are all capable of, but someone like Prince somehow understand something that allowed him to tap into that "thing" and have that singular focus to literally "become" art. Everything about him is anathema to what I grew up with as far as music. His style, his mannerisms, the music he played. But he was like a magnet that forced people to at least acknowledge him and his talents. Even his size in my mind was part and parcel of the fact that Prince was simply meant to do what he did. Hell, I look at pictures of Prince and understand that he himself was art. And he knew it. THis really hits me when I listen to the "Deliverance" EP. Again, I'm not religious, don't go to church, own a Bible, etc., but listening to it, I almost feel like I'm getting the Holy Ghost or something at times. Anyway, just my .02.

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Reply #11 posted 10/30/17 11:13pm

PeteSilas

it was his music teacher, i think his name was hamilton. and yes, i've read other accounts by other teachers, prince seemed to have made a pretty big impression, i doubt that many teachers would have had anything to say about most of their students 10 years later.

purplerabbithole said:

I don't recall that about P. But maybe we read different accounts. One teacher I read called him very intelligent and naturally gifted. The other teacher seemed to find him obstinate and hard to read (the tack on the seat lady) .

PeteSilas said:

his hs music teacher always said that prince never stuck in his mind as all that talented. could be many reasons for that, many teachers really don't give the time of day to their students and don't spend enough time to even see what they have to offer. However, Prince's teacher seemed to be very involved and was the first to plant notions of crossover into Prince's head by telling him a number one on the black charts didn't mean anything businesswise.

[Edited 10/30/17 20:56pm]

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Reply #12 posted 10/30/17 11:41pm

MD431Madcat

avatar

cool

PeteSilas said:

he was freakishly gifted TO WORK HARD, some people can work like that continuously, day in day out. He also had drive which was probably more from his background and need to compensate. And yes, he had talent but sometimes talent takes a ton of work to uncover. Most of the great men i've studied didn't show any early promise for their avocations but they did work hard and continuous.

also, a star isn't just about talent, it's timing, charisma, image, luck, connections and many other things. someone mentioned andre, andre didn't have the entire package from what I can see, he didn't have the charisma, he didn't have the same outrageous and far reaching drive.

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Reply #13 posted 10/31/17 2:35am

maceoparker007

My thoughts...

He was a true visionary.
He far more emotionally aware and connected, this was expressed through his music.
He worked damn hard day and night. He didn’t learn all those instruments by luck, it was serious hard graft and dedication.

He literally did die for us.
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Reply #14 posted 10/31/17 4:20am

rogifan

I think he definitely was naturally gifted but worked really hard too. I remember a story from a pizza delivery guy who got a job doing odd jobs at Paisley. One night while he was cleaning up after an event Prince happened to be around and this guy got up the nerve to ask Prince a question. He said Prince’s guitar playing looked so effortless and wondered how he did it. Prince replied that as a kid he would practice the guitar in his bedroom until his fingers bled. At one of the Paisley P&M shows Prince mentioned how late at night he would sit at the piano playing for hours. I’m actually amazed he didn’t have major arthritis in his hands (maybe he did).
Paisley Park is in your heart
#PrinceForever 💜
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Reply #15 posted 10/31/17 4:23am

PeteSilas

rogifan said:

I think he definitely was naturally gifted but worked really hard too. I remember a story from a pizza delivery guy who got a job doing odd jobs at Paisley. One night while he was cleaning up after an event Prince happened to be around and this guy got up the nerve to ask Prince a question. He said Prince’s guitar playing looked so effortless and wondered how he did it. Prince replied that as a kid he would practice the guitar in his bedroom until his fingers bled. At one of the Paisley P&M shows Prince mentioned how late at night he would sit at the piano playing for hours. I’m actually amazed he didn’t have major arthritis in his hands (maybe he did).

i'm sure he had some hand issues, i do and i'm only a mediocre pianist, you take all the instruments he learned and played and usually age too will catch up to you.

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Reply #16 posted 10/31/17 4:38am

oscarchristio7
77

bigbrother said:

It struck me with all the press here in the UK about the O2 exhibition and Tyka doing some interviews that although giftedness/genius may run in families, in Prince's case it didn't seem to. With both of Prince's parents being musical, why do none of Prince's family members (Tyka and step-brothers and sisters) not seem to have any of the talent that he had. I know Tyka has released some music but she doesn't seem to have an ounce of her brother's ability vocally or otherwise. Prince may have been gifted but it's becoming increasingly apparent how hard he worked at honing that gift as well as other factors, such as bullying, that fuelled his drive to be the best. Any thoughts?

People have compared him to his siblings and Andre in terms of potential talent.

I think the other point can be is that possibly music was more meaningful to Prince than it was to those others, possibly music was something he totally and completly absorbed himself into , a world he could escape to from the unpleasant things in his life as much as something he could genuinly luv and be inspired by, for him I think music gave him a spiritual connection , he was a sensitive and hence this sensitive force was also a factor that made him into a marvelous musician.

Otherwise I see "drive" as being a unique quality he had, not too many people seem to have that type of drive and especially at the young age that he did, but as people already said his sense of drive probably came from many directions.

But it wasnt only drive to prove himself and be competitive, he was truly creative and driven to make music , he really gave music his everything and this ability to entirely devote himself to his art was

another factor that I think made him succesful.

He was most likely gifted for music meaning it was something that didnt come too hard for him but

he certainly woked hard at it , there was possibly many others that were equally gifted at music but perhaps were not as devoted and driven as Prince was.

But in adittion to having lots of talent, drive/.ambition and creativeness as well as his own charisma that he probably honed even more as his sucess and musical character developed...I think Prince had quite a bit of luck too, he was fortunate to have a run of connections that helped put him in the places he needed to be , so definitly he had timing on his side.

Maybe his sucess was fated in the sense that all the right combinations of things came together at the right times.

But he made his own luck to an extant in the way that he had such strong single vision and as he said he believed and dreamed it into reality.

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Reply #17 posted 10/31/17 4:56am

PeteSilas

maybe he was fated, there are men who seem to have been fated from out of the gate, elvis, ali, i couldn't imagine those guys not existing, i just couldn't. Ali believed he was used by god for his people, he always believed that. But, whether by fate or chance, there was always hard work involved at some point for any of these people. It's very rare for any one to show huge promise right out of the gates, it does happen and it doesn't always work out, prodigies are usually tragedies as they mature, mainly because they can't deal with real setbacks and dissapointments, MJ was an exception in that regard.

oscarchristio777 said:

bigbrother said:

It struck me with all the press here in the UK about the O2 exhibition and Tyka doing some interviews that although giftedness/genius may run in families, in Prince's case it didn't seem to. With both of Prince's parents being musical, why do none of Prince's family members (Tyka and step-brothers and sisters) not seem to have any of the talent that he had. I know Tyka has released some music but she doesn't seem to have an ounce of her brother's ability vocally or otherwise. Prince may have been gifted but it's becoming increasingly apparent how hard he worked at honing that gift as well as other factors, such as bullying, that fuelled his drive to be the best. Any thoughts?

People have compared him to his siblings and Andre in terms of potential talent.

I think the other point can be is that possibly music was more meaningful to Prince than it was to those others, possibly music was something he totally and completly absorbed himself into , a world he could escape to from the unpleasant things in his life as much as something he could genuinly luv and be inspired by, for him I think music gave him a spiritual connection , he was a sensitive and hence this sensitive force was also a factor that made him into a marvelous musician.

Otherwise I see "drive" as being a unique quality he had, not too many people seem to have that type of drive and especially at the young age that he did, but as people already said his sense of drive probably came from many directions.

But it wasnt only drive to prove himself and be competitive, he was truly creative and driven to make music , he really gave music his everything and this ability to entirely devote himself to his art was

another factor that I think made him succesful.

He was most likely gifted for music meaning it was something that didnt come too hard for him but

he certainly woked hard at it , there was possibly many others that were equally gifted at music but perhaps were not as devoted and driven as Prince was.

But in adittion to having lots of talent, drive/.ambition and creativeness as well as his own charisma that he probably honed even more as his sucess and musical character developed...I think Prince had quite a bit of luck too, he was fortunate to have a run of connections that helped put him in the places he needed to be , so definitly he had timing on his side.

Maybe his sucess was fated in the sense that all the right combinations of things came together at the right times.

But he made his own luck to an extant in the way that he had such strong single vision and as he said he believed and dreamed it into reality.

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Reply #18 posted 10/31/17 4:56am

lemoncrush19

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apparently he was gifted and of course he worked really hard. harder than most people do. but there’s one thing that made the huge difference: his mindset. he knew what he wanted and nothing in this world could make him give up. he didn’t let others define him - neither the media nor anybody else. he never accepted a “no” as an answer. he never let anyone or anything set limits for his visions. he never lost his faith - in god, in himself, in his abilities and his goals. he stayed genuine and true no matter what. he didn’t let himself stick to the past ... if something he wanted didn’t work out he tried exactly 2 times ... then he moved on without looking back ever again. he never talked bad about others, stayed humble and grateful, made his own decisions and took the consequences. oh I could go on for days ... this man had a wisdom even as half a kid ... it’s still blowing me away every single day listening to him ... u may have talents and the will to work hard but if u don’t love and trust urself enough and stay focused on ur own thing instead of worrying about others and what they might think u won’t succeed ...
the only love there is is the love we make heart
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Reply #19 posted 10/31/17 5:41am

oscarchristio7
77

lemoncrush19 said:

apparently he was gifted and of course he worked really hard. harder than most people do. but there’s one thing that made the huge difference: his mindset. he knew what he wanted and nothing in this world could make him give up. he didn’t let others define him - neither the media nor anybody else. he never accepted a “no” as an answer. he never let anyone or anything set limits for his visions. he never lost his faith - in god, in himself, in his abilities and his goals. he stayed genuine and true no matter what. he didn’t let himself stick to the past ... if something he wanted didn’t work out he tried exactly 2 times ... then he moved on without looking back ever again. he never talked bad about others, stayed humble and grateful, made his own decisions and took the consequences. oh I could go on for days ... this man had a wisdom even as half a kid ... it’s still blowing me away every single day listening to him ... u may have talents and the will to work hard but if u don’t love and trust urself enough and stay focused on ur own thing instead of worrying about others and what they might think u won’t succeed ...

I have always admired Prince's courage and braveness to do things his way despite the fact that

he potentially could recieve a lot of criticism for it.

There are sooo many artists and bands that really wouldnt have that type of nerve I feel.

He stayed true to his artisitic visions and he had to be one of the hardest working performers if not the hardest working in his generation.

I agree he had a unique mindset , I may have slightly preferred certain era's of his career over others, but I think his level of devotion to his art and his mindset towards his work was consistant all through his career.

[Edited 10/31/17 5:43am]

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Reply #20 posted 10/31/17 6:20am

PeteSilas

that's right, the man had brass balls, an easy quality to overlook when someone is as colorful as he was. Here's a guy who unflinchingly turned his back on one of the biggest of all commercial projects with Purple Rain, he could have milked the album for a tour in europe and could have released music in the same vein, instead he cuts his audience down with a concept album which purposely alienated lazy listeners. Like i said, it's more than one quality, it's always a combination of things when you get a figure like Prince, it's always the obvious things people think of though. I'll use Ali as an example again, people would say his speed made him great but a lot of things made him great, his size, his chin, his courage and more.

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Reply #21 posted 10/31/17 7:43am

paulludvig

Already in his teens he had thaught himself to play a number of instrument on a high level. Of course he was unusually gifted.

The wooh is on the one!
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Reply #22 posted 10/31/17 8:31am

databank

avatar

PennyPurple said:

Prince was gifted. Just look at all the instruments he could play. He wasn't taught to play any of them, he just picked them up and did it.


I think it's just a combination of both genes and hard work.

It's actually more than that. Just to stay in Minneapolis, quite a number of other musicians in the Prince camp were also multi-instrumentists who could record a whole record more or less by themselves. Others were more knowlegeable than Prince regarding music theory and/or the history of music. Prince's genius went far beyond those things, in the sense that there are hundreds of musicians in the US alone who are technically capable of doing what he was doing, yet aren't considered geniuses the way Prince was. An artist's talent (or genius) is more than the sums of its parts: technical skills and theory are an element, hard work is another, but none of it matters without what some would call inspiration, or a vision, as in the capacity to render a very idiosyncratic perception of the world through one's work. Prince's work is remarkable because it's a self-contained world, a pretty unique subjective rendition of reality. Skills and hard work will help you achieve that, but they're almost a mean to an end, which is the creation of this self-contained world.

.

As to how much of it is innate and how much is acquired, I really have no answer to that. I don't think anyone has, neither geneticians nor philosophers, but it's obviously a bit of both.

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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Reply #23 posted 10/31/17 1:09pm

Germanegro

I wouldn't know what any of his teachers had said about him, but from my own understanding of his "type" from my own school days, I'd imagine that he did what he needed to get by in classes and everthing else he did onhis own in terms of his learing and creativity. The people who he felt he needed to learn from were not in the school classroom. He didn't have much time to devote to reading sheet music, obviously. But his knowledge went beyond merely reading charts.

purplerabbithole said:

I don't recall that about P. But maybe we read different accounts. One teacher I read called him very intelligent and naturally gifted. The other teacher seemed to find him obstinate and hard to read (the tack on the seat lady) .

PeteSilas said:

his hs music teacher always said that prince never stuck in his mind as all that talented. could be many reasons for that, many teachers really don't give the time of day to their students and don't spend enough time to even see what they have to offer. However, Prince's teacher seemed to be very involved and was the first to plant notions of crossover into Prince's head by telling him a number one on the black charts didn't mean anything businesswise.

[Edited 10/30/17 20:56pm]

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Reply #24 posted 10/31/17 1:21pm

Germanegro

databank said:

PennyPurple said:

Prince was gifted. Just look at all the instruments he could play. He wasn't taught to play any of them, he just picked them up and did it.


I think it's just a combination of both genes and hard work.

It's actually more than that. Just to stay in Minneapolis, quite a number of other musicians in the Prince camp were also multi-instrumentists who could record a whole record more or less by themselves. Others were more knowlegeable than Prince regarding music theory and/or the history of music. Prince's genius went far beyond those things, in the sense that there are hundreds of musicians in the US alone who are technically capable of doing what he was doing, yet aren't considered geniuses the way Prince was. An artist's talent (or genius) is more than the sums of its parts: technical skills and theory are an element, hard work is another, but none of it matters without what some would call inspiration, or a vision, as in the capacity to render a very idiosyncratic perception of the world through one's work. Prince's work is remarkable because it's a self-contained world, a pretty unique subjective rendition of reality. Skills and hard work will help you achieve that, but they're almost a mean to an end, which is the creation of this self-contained world.

.

As to how much of it is innate and how much is acquired, I really have no answer to that. I don't think anyone has, neither geneticians nor philosophers, but it's obviously a bit of both.

Nice summation. smile

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Reply #25 posted 10/31/17 2:36pm

stpaisios

Prince's parents were gifted musicans, so def. potential was written in his genes, but like everything in this life there is no instant miracles -- there is always a combination of both - genes and working hard. Some painter said (think it was Picasso) inspiration is there but it needs to find you at work. And Prince was always at work, and he was open for channeling that energies and transforming them into sonic pieces. While talent is inherited (you have a lot of familes were their kids are gifted in some way), the genius is not. Genius is always individual. And that is obvious in Prince case. Peple who can't make a diffrence between virtuoso and artist usually are missing the genius of Prince

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Reply #26 posted 10/31/17 3:19pm

pdiddy2011

lemoncrush19 said:

apparently he was gifted and of course he worked really hard. harder than most people do. but there’s one thing that made the huge difference: his mindset. he knew what he wanted and nothing in this world could make him give up. he didn’t let others define him - neither the media nor anybody else. he never accepted a “no” as an answer. he never let anyone or anything set limits for his visions. he never lost his faith - in god, in himself, in his abilities and his goals. he stayed genuine and true no matter what. he didn’t let himself stick to the past ... if something he wanted didn’t work out he tried exactly 2 times ... then he moved on without looking back ever again. he never talked bad about others, stayed humble and grateful, made his own decisions and took the consequences. oh I could go on for days ... this man had a wisdom even as half a kid ... it’s still blowing me away every single day listening to him ... u may have talents and the will to work hard but if u don’t love and trust urself enough and stay focused on ur own thing instead of worrying about others and what they might think u won’t succeed ...

Nice eulogy. Such an inspiration.

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Reply #27 posted 10/31/17 3:36pm

luvsexy4all

precioux said:

Both. Prince even stated this several times himself

yep...he wouldnt have been as proficient with out all that time put into playing

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Reply #28 posted 10/31/17 4:05pm

214

blizzybiz said:

This is an interesting question. My opinion? I'm not a religious person, but I truly believe that Prince was gifted, touched, however you want to describe it, and was meant to do exactly what he did while here on Earth. Plain and simple. I don't know if you would call him a conduit for something, an old soul, a soul that has been on this earth before and intuitively knew and understood what his purpose was, but when I look at the totality of Prince, the only answer I can come up with is that he was truly gifted. He definitely had what was required to bring his dreams to fruition, i.e., being disciplined, driven, etc., but so are lots of other artists out there. But I don't think I've been in awe of someone as much as I am with Prince. I don't worship him or anything, but there is nothing in my life that gives me pause and think that, yes, there is a higher power, and some people are simply more in touch with that power than others. Or it's something we are all capable of, but someone like Prince somehow understand something that allowed him to tap into that "thing" and have that singular focus to literally "become" art. Everything about him is anathema to what I grew up with as far as music. His style, his mannerisms, the music he played. But he was like a magnet that forced people to at least acknowledge him and his talents. Even his size in my mind was part and parcel of the fact that Prince was simply meant to do what he did. Hell, I look at pictures of Prince and understand that he himself was art. And he knew it. THis really hits me when I listen to the "Deliverance" EP. Again, I'm not religious, don't go to church, own a Bible, etc., but listening to it, I almost feel like I'm getting the Holy Ghost or something at times. Anyway, just my .02.

And a beautiful one, thanks. In my opinion it was both but mostly that he was gifted.

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Reply #29 posted 11/01/17 3:24pm

Bodhitheblackd
og

PeteSilas said:

he was freakishly gifted TO WORK HARD, some people can work like that continuously, day in day out. He also had drive which was probably more from his background and need to compensate. And yes, he had talent but sometimes talent takes a ton of work to uncover. Most of the great men i've studied didn't show any early promise for their avocations but they did work hard and continuous.

also, a star isn't just about talent, it's timing, charisma, image, luck, connections and many other things. someone mentioned andre, andre didn't have the entire package from what I can see, he didn't have the charisma, he didn't have the same outrageous and far reaching drive.

Dear Pete: I love your entire, beautifully crafted response...especially the last words. Your overview, from a musicians' perspective, is much appreciated.

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