Prince Rogers Nelson (1958 – 2016) was an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, and actor. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. Prince was born in Minneapolis to jazz musician, John Nelson, and jazz singer, Mattie Shaw. His parents separated when Prince was about 10. From then he alternated living with both of them, even after his mother remarried. Hayward Baker, Prince’s stepfather, took the boy to see James Brown, an important influence on Prince’s songwriting and performing.
Prince became good friends with Andre Anderson (to become known as Andre Cymone), a newcomer to Prince’s school at around age twelve. After Prince became tired of moving between his mother’s and his father’s house, he ran away and moved in with Andre and his family. Prince was still in his teens when he signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. His second album, Prince (1979), sold more than 1 million copies.