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The Artist Formally Known as Prince

By Veronica Renaker

“Famously reticent and perennially controversial, Prince is one of the few pop superstars who remains, largely, an enigma. A fixture of the pop canon, Prince is widely held to be the greatest musician of his generation.” -Thorne

Prince Rodgers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958, in Minneapolis, Minn. to Mattie Shaw and John L. Nelson.

Both of his parents had a musical background which greatly influenced Prince at a very young age. His mother was a jazz singer, and his father was not only a lyricist but also a pianist for a band by the name of the “Prince Rodgers Trio.” Born epileptic, young Prince felt powerless and different from those around him.

Other children would constantly make fun of him for his name and height which in turn he overcompensated for by behaving very “extra” and “flashy.” During these lonely years, Prince taught himself to play piano, guitar, and the drums. Little did those children know they were messing with a future world renowned lyrical and musical genius.

Unfortunately, down the road, Prince’s parents divorced leaving him heartbroken and confused. He often had to travel back and forth which caused much turmoil and tension between his relationship with both his mother and father.

The relationship between Prince and his stepfather could best be described as tumultuous. This led to Prince running away from home and later he was adopted by his neighbors, the Andersons. According to an interview with Rolling Stone in 1985, Prince spoke a matter-of-factly regarding why he “toyed” with early interviewers in regards to his parents and adolescence.

“I used to tease a lot of journalists early on,” he says, “because I wanted them to concentrate on the music and not so much on me coming from a broken home. I really didn’t think that was important.”

“What was important was what came out of my system that particular day. I don’t live in the past. I don’t play my old records for that reason. I make a statement, then move on to the next.”

“Since his first album, Prince has delighted fans and defied expectations while pursuing his own creative imperatives,” Thorne said.

Shortly after moving in with the Andersons, Prince quickly became close friends with Andre Anderson who shared his love, passion, obsession, and curiosity for the music industry. In high school, both Prince and Andre preformed for the first time in their newly organized band Grand Central (later known as Champagne) which Prince would come to recall the feeling as “Electric.”

Champagne didn’t last long but the two later enlisted the help of Prince’s cousin Pepe Willie which was the start of a new group called 94 East. The group only lasted four years but not without success. After releasing his second album aptly named Prince, his star began its trajectory to the moon. The album quickly went platinum primarily due to the success of his two singles, “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” From there on out Prince’s fame and musical recognition only skyrocketed.

After releasing Purple Rain, which quickly became known as the world’s best album ever, Prince ran into some trouble. As a teenager, Prince signed with Warner Bros. in which the collaboration proved to be very influential for both parties involved. As Prince exploded with popularity and fame, his ideas never once faced a hindrance. Many have said that his work ethic was impeccable. 500 songs of Prince’s were not released despite his eager pleas to Warner Bros who claimed that releasing that many would only, “saturate the market and dilute demand for the artist’s music” (Rolling Stone).

This infuriated Prince and started what has been noted as one of the boldest career moves in Rock N’ Roll history. In 1993, Prince made headlines after telling the world that he would no longer go by the name of Prince, and that in place he would prefer to go by a “Love Symbol .” “It is an unpronounceable symbol whose meaning has not been identified. It’s all about thinking in new ways, tuning in to a new frequency,” he wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone Magazine at the time.

Mass media as we know it exploded, referring to him as, “The Artist Formally Known as Prince.” Following this bold display of what he referred to as a rebellion against slavery, Prince or “The Artist Formally Known as Prince” quickly started to detach himself from the label in order to make his point of not wanting his creative freedoms to be tied down in order to make quick cash.

“He felt that the contracts at the time were onerous and burdensome,” says John Kellogg, assistant chair of the music business management department at Berkley College of Music.

“He rebelled against that,” according to BBC News. During this time “Love Symbol” would perform with the word “SLAVE” written across his cheek in order to make a statement to the public that Warner Bros. and other labels were willing to use talent as pawns in order to maintain power and gain wealth.

After his contract with Warner Bros. ended, Prince went back to his originally acclaimed name and worked without a label to avoid restraints of the music industry. Prince went on to release several more albums that received world-wide recognition after going platinum. He also became the first artist to release an album online which granted him a Webby Life-Time Achievement Award for his innovative purposes of the internet to sell and advertise his music.

“I never really got off on awards so much,” Prince said. “I think it’s more for the people who give them and also for the fans. I get a lot of props from people in the street and a lot of love and congratulation, pats on back, so it’s a good feeling you know the after-effects.”

On April 21, Prince, only 57 was found dead at his Paisley Park apartment in Minnesota. Several weeks prior to his death his public relations firm stated that he was sick with influenza after his plane made an emergency landing.

After a four-hour, autopsy the cause of Prince’s death has yet to be released to the public. However, a statement by the chief medical examiner said that release of the full results may take several weeks.

The world mourned, stunned with the news of his death, and purple lights were lit in homage.

From being inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 to having sold more than 100 million records, receiving seven Grammys, an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe, Prince will be remembered in history as the one of the most talented musical geniuses of all time.

 



By Etelvina Castillo

PicMonkey Collage

With over 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant announced his retirement with a short poem last fall. The poem “Dear Basketball” is on The Players’ Tribune website. “I’m ready to let you go, / I want you to know now / So we both can savor every moment we have left,” Bryant wrote. “My mind can handle the grind / But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.” Bryant to many is considered a basketball legend. He has helped the Lakers win five NBA championships, and he has two Olympic medals.

Kobe Bryant waves to fans after scoring 60 points in the final game of his career against the against the Utah Jazz. April 13, 2016. Los Angeles, CA.Ê (Photo by David Crane/Southern California News Group)

Picture from insidesocal.com: Kobe Bryant waves to fans after scoring 60 points in the final game of his career against the against the Utah Jazz. April 13, 2016. Los Angeles, CA.Ê (Photo by David Crane/Southern California News Group)

Brant’s last game was April 13, 2016, at the Los Angeles Staples Center. Scoring 60 points in his final game, Bryant put on a show for all his fans. After the game was over, Bryant took a moment and kneeled down to sign his name on the hardwood floor panels.

Bryant’s last game became trending topic on all social media platforms such as instagram, twitter and Facebook. Fans from all over the world used the hashtag #MambaDay which was used 2.87 million times on the day of Bryants last game. “Black Mamba” is the nickmame Bryant gave himself a few years ago. A Black Mamba is an African snake feared by many and is said to be the fastest snake on land in the world.

His last game of his career was legendary. The legend of Kobe Bryant will live forever.



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Arts Week is upon us.
The Performing Arts Club will be hosting a variety of events in the quad during the lunch time hours of 11-1.
On Monday – the award winning TUHS drum line will be playing music from their 2016 show, That 80s Show. There will be other percussion played in the Quad as well.
Tuesday – express yourself in chalk
Wednesday – May the Fourth other wise known as STAR WARS day.  There will be a Star Wars costume contest at noon as well as a Shakespearean interpretation of some iconic moments in the Star Wars sage, done with puppets.
Thursday – open mic.  Come out and show your hidden talents.  The mic will be available for poetry, singing an music, comedy, etc.


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People-mourn-Princes-death

By Emily Davis

The iconic music legend Prince was pronounced dead on Thursday April 21st at 10:07 AM. People all around the world are mourning his death but also looking for an explanation. Many things happened in the few days before Prince’s death but the cause of death is still unknown.

The last time Prince was seen alive was around 8:00 PM on Wednesday, April 20th, when he was dropped off at Paisley Park, which was his home and recording studio in Chanhassen Minnesota.

A staff member found Prince unresponsive in an elevator and called 911. Paramedics tried to revive Prince but were unable to do so.

An autopsy was preformed on the day after his death but the results are pending and not expected to be released to the public for at least a week.

A local sheriff addressed the public and stated that there were no signs of trauma on Prince’s body and no reason to suspect suicide.

Sources say that Prince had been battling the flew for about a week before his death. Two concerts in Atlanta were cancelled because of Princes illness. Prince made up those two shows in one night later that week. A plane issued an emergency landing at Quad City International Airport on April 15th so Prince could receive medical treatment.

After this, Prince returned home and held a small concert at Paisley Park. Prince was also seen out in public in Chanhassen just days before his death.

There are many conspiracies about the cause of Prince’s death. Throughout his career, Prince was known for being clean and sober. Prince was also known for being apart of the religion, Jehovah’s Witness.

Jehovah’s Witnesses often decline medical treatment or only accept very little medical treatment. Some conspires believe that Prince did not accept the medical treatment he needed which may have resulted in death.

Other conspires believe that Prince may have taken too much medication which may have also resulted in death.

Fans and loved ones of Prince await to hear the true cause of his death and remember Prince’s legacy while they wait.

Unknown

Prince was a highly appreciated musician and was loved by many. The music industry will forever remember his music and everything he stood for.



mtv-movie-awards-2016

By Sandra Merino

The people have spoken.

The 2016 MTV Movie Awards were hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Heart. It was the 25th anniversary of the awards, which honored actors with golden popcorn trophies. These awards were selected by the fans.

Johnson and Hart both arrived in huge trucks with loud music playing and fire coming out of  each truck’s exhaust  It was a tribute to the movie Mad Max: Fury Road. They were both very hilarious constantly poking jokes at each other.

There were many memorable moments in this award show. For example it had great performances by Arianna Grande and Halsey. Grande performed her new song “Dangerous Woman.” She wore a pink gown inspired by Marilyn Monroe and looked like old Hollywood glamour.

She belted out the song in her beautiful voice and stunned the crowd. Halsey sang her song “Castle” which is a soundtrack in the movie Snow White and the Huntsman: Winter’s War. She had snow and a castle on stage while performing her song.

Awards were given but the highest honors went to Will Smith and Melissa McCarthy. Smith was honored with the MTV Generation Award for having a successful career. McCarthy was honored with the Comedic Genius Award. She made history because she was the first woman to win in that category.



By Cameron Hertzog

On April, 6 2016, country music lost a legend,  Merle Haggard. Born in Bakersfield, California, specifically Oildale, he pioneered the Bakersfield Sound alongside fellow country music legend Buck Owen.

Merle’s parents came from Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl to look for a better life and settled in Bakersfield, California. Merle was born in a rail road car that his father had converted to a house on April 6, 1937.

Both of his parents were very musical. Merle really got into music after his father died. His brother had given him a guitar, and Haggard taught himself how to play.

His music reflected his values and his life. He earned a reputation for representing the working man. His music featured lyrics that explained and testified to the hardship of the blue collar man.

Haggard was a rebellious in his youth and was in and out of jail and juvenile hall. This got in the way of his musical career. It was not until he went to a Lefty Frizelle concert and went backstage and sung a few songs with Frizelle did he realize his true passion for music.

Haggard began playing in local Bakersfield clubs while trying to support his family working manual labor jobs. He and his family moved into the old renovated box car that he grew up in. They soon fell on hard times, however, and Haggard turned to robbery and ended up with a 15 year sentence in San Quintin.

Things didn’t go well for Haggard in jail either, his wife became pregnant by another man, and Haggard began acting out in prison. After spending some time if isolation for bad behavior, he turned some things around. He was allowed to play in the prison country band.

He was released from prison and moved back in with his wife. Due to the recent hits by Buck Owens, country music really started to take off in Bakersfield.  After that things were starting to look up.

Tracks like “I Think I Will Just Sit Here and Drink” landed Haggard number one on the charts with “Bar Room Buddies” a close second. These two tracks would be Haggard’s top hits.

By 1985 a new type of artist was taking country music by storm, a country artist that was strongly influenced by  Haggard’s sound.

In 1994 Haggard released his last relatively popular track “My Next Life.” By the 2000s, Haggards career had plateaued as a new sort of country music was on the scene.

That didn’t tarnish Haggard’s fighting spirit. He continued to release new music and play shows until late into his life. He was always sure to play a show in his hometown Bakersfield.

In 2013 he got his honorable doctorate in music awarded to him by Cal State University Bakersfield. Below is a picture of Haggard accepting the doctorate at the 2013 graduation ceremony.

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Haggard moved to the Shasta area in the 1980s to his ranch in Palo Cedro where he is now laid to rest. It was a private and simple service for family and friends, a fitting funeral for just a simple working man.

But Haggard wasn’t just a simple working man. He was legend. A legend that will be missed for years to come, a legend who left a lasting legacy through his music.

“My Merle passed away this morning peacefully surrounded by his loved ones after a long hard battle with his health. Today April 6, 2016, which was his 79th birthday. He left to go to a much better place. He was the best singer, songwriter and performer I’ve ever seen.  Not only did he write the songs he sang, he was the music.” –Teresa Haggard (his wife)



By Emily Davis and Jonathan Celiz

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The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra played in Taft this past Sunday, April 17th. The Bakersfield Symphony is conducted by Stilian Kirov. This show included some of the music of John Williams.

The show opened with John Williams arrangement of the National Anthem and followed up with the score from the Harry Potter film series then the Indiana Jones theme as well as the theme to Jaws and finishing off with the score to Star Wars such as the Love Theme from Empire Strikes Back and the Imperial March.

The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra did an excellent job at performing these beautiful songs. As local Taft residents, it was nice to have this form of entertainment in our town. We look forward to seeing more of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, and hopefully in Taft.

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