Plectrum Electrum and Prince 2014 tour latest
Warner Bros. to release re-mastered Prince albums
In what is without doubt the most significant (and utterly tantalising) development since Prince's acrimonious split with Warner Brothers in the mid-nineties, 18th of April 2014 saw a surprise joint announcement from Prince and Cameron Strang (Chairman & CEO) of Warner Brothers Records. It confirms a series of releases which involves the reissue and re-mastering of Prince's albums recorded during his time under the Warner Brothers label, from 1978 to 1996, in which encompasses all his biggest hits. Prince reunites with past nemesis Warner Brothers to reissue under this label the re-mastered delux editions of these albums - as well as the inclusion of various out takes and previously unreleased tracks. The deal acknowledges the 30th anniversary since the 1984's 25th of June release of Purple Rain which is to be the first reissue from this re-mastered series, which, therefore, looms fairly imminent. Significantly, the deal involves Warners' return to Prince the master recordings of all his albums - the catalyst which led to his bitter and eventual separation from the label in 1999. News of Prince's rekindled relationship with Warner Brothers comes within a fortnight of his founding of NPG Music Publishing to administer the commercial licensing of this music. Prince, therefore, marked this rather unexpected announcement, with the release of a brand new single, The Breakdown – which was available on iTunes hours after the announcement and is under the Warner Brothers label. Welcome 2 The Dawn, Prince. Your fans salute you.
NPG Music Publishing to oversee Prince's music legacy
Prince has created his own in-house publishing arm for his music legacy. Formally managed by Universal Prince has created NPG Music Publishing to independently administer key songs from Prince's huge back catalogue in order to include them into movies, television, video games and other commercial mediums. The new outfit will administer the fees and grant rights for others to use his songs commercially. The deal will not cover all songs, but mainly the hits, some of which include the most familiar songs of the 1980s and 90s. The first job of the new arm, announced on 4 April, was to grant rights to Fox to feature the song Fallinlove2nite in the New Girl television show what was aired on 2 February. Prince promised that the team behind NPG Music Publishing will be headed "by some of the best talent in the industry."
New album to be released by Epic Records?
Could the deal to distribute Plectrum Electrum through Kobalt Music Group now be dead? There has been much gossip during and since the hit-and-run shows in London in February that the Kobalt deal has been kicked into the long grass because that a dissatisfied Prince returned to Hollywood to shop for a new distribute, hence the long silence over the album's release. Having been previewing the album to the press in recent weeks, and getting their hugely positive reviews as well as promotional traction, the album is clearly finished so why the delay? Well on 17 March Prince will release his new single Fallinlove2nite, which was the song premiered in the 2 February showing of 'New Girl' episode featuring Prince's cameo. This release, which is noteworthy for two reasons, 1) its extremely radio-friendliness (as well as features Zooey Deschanel), and 2) raises questions about a possible deal with Epic for the album itself. This new single joins the dots to the topic of Prince's meeting with Epic's CEO, L.A. Reid, during the album's listening party in NYC at the beginning of February.
The distribution for Plectrum electrum is likely to remain with Kobalt, since it is essentially a 3rdEyeGirl project, however, if the deal with Epic holds true for his next solo album’s release Prince’s return to a major label raises hope for its broad promotion and potential success. And what a prospect that would be.
Prince's London tour unfolds
Details about the London shows are, were to put it mildly, a little too 'organic', adding to much confusion, and if to make matters worse, entry to gigs are purchased only at the door, and a max of one ticket per purchase applies; rather than booked even if a few hours in advance. It might sound chaotic, because it is, but other more larger venues being looked at included the 4,000 capacity Brixton Academy, but chaos is exacerbated by the lack of information. Prince said he will stay for as long "people like us", so a more structured series of shows is hoped to evolve. He is looking at playing at landmarks too, with Trafalgar Square one of those looked into. With fans waiting outside in the rain since for several hours and with excessive queue jumping occurring, many are questioning the wisdom of the management coordination and hope they improve for later shows. Indeed, tickets were available for the two Manchester shows. These and other dates are listed on the dedicated 2014 tour page. A 'secret' show was announced at 8pm on the 14th of February, giving fans only minutes to race to the venue, where Prince played an acoustic set and it was confirmed he would be widening the tour to include Manchester. On the 19th Prince and 3rdEyeGirl appeared at the BRIT Awards to present the award for best female solo artist, which they handed to a stunned Ellie Goulding.
After then playing the two shows in Manchester the tour concluded. Although Prince is expected to return to the UK after the release of Plectrum Electrum when it is slated he will be headlining two shows in London's Hyde Park in the summer.
London tour begins with living room press conference and surprise rehearsal gig
A closed press conference was held at La Havas' flat in Hackney, what Prince earlier billed 'The Living Room Experience', where Prince made an exclusive announcement of a tour of London venues. Two songs were performed by the band: acoustic versions of Pretzelbodylogic and Funknroll. It was anticipated the ticketing information was then to be given at an open sound check where the band decamped to Camden's the Electric Ballroom. Instead the band played a short set until about 2am and although initially invite only,it was later free to all that braved the wind and wet weather that waited outside. The series of shows, which are to mark the release of Plectrum Electrum, began with two nights at Camden's Electric Ballroom. Capacity at this and other venues on the tour are small and demand for the mere £10 entry is therefore likely to be extremely high. Whether there will be advance confirmation of further dates, because it is apparent the shows are being organised on the hoof, will be known only as and when. A full tour schedule announcement is thereby unlikely.
Plectrum Electrum listening party in NYC unveils (part of) new album
The Plectrum Electrum listening party began at 11:30 on the night of February 2nd, at The Darby, 244 West 14th Street, New York City. Right after the Super Bowl it was also the after party for the airing of the New Girl episode which featured Prince. Filmed on December 12th Prince appeared as himself in the sitcom as a cameo, imparting relationship advice to characters Jess (played by Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson). The listening party after the showing also marked the release of the first single from the album, Prezelbodylogic, which was made available on iTunes on the stroke of midnight. A notable detail about the new album is that it's recorded in analogue and with all the band performing together, rather than tracked individually, to hark back to the same listening experience of the rock LP's of the 70's.
Donna, Hannah and Ida, Prince's 3rdEyeGirls were present at The Darby, later joined by Doug E. Fresh to DJ. Prince himself showed up at 2am and a second song from the album FunkNRoll was also played. The group did not perform live and left the party past 4am to catch a plane to London for that all important announcement of a UK tour he was anticipated to make on the 3rd. Probably due to the flight no announcement was made, but is expected in the evening of February 4th instead.
London Prince tour to kick off after 3 February press conference
Prince, who is set to make his debut US sitcom appearance in New Girl, on Fox on 2 February, is on the 3rd to appear in London no less for a press conference about the launch of the new album Plectrum Electrum as well as the tour to support the release. Prince, in a press release issued on 24 January, said he will be performing at a number of "iconic venues in and around London" backed by 3rdEyeGirl. The details of which he will announce at a press conference from the flat of soul singer Lianne La Havas.
Prince had met 2012 Mercury Prize nominee Lianne La Havas during his tour of America in 2013 and invited her to perform at Paisley Park Studios. She in return invited Prince to make the announcement from her living room in London, which to her surprise he accepted. "It's pretty unbelievable that Prince is coming to my house but it is true!", remarked a stunned but very excited La Havas. More details about the shows are expected to be announced at short notice. Prince earlier in the week scotched rumours of an appearance at Glastonbury.
Prince sets stage with three arena shows ahead of Plectrum Electrum release
Three resounding shows at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on 27th, 28th 29th December closed off 2013 in as typical purple fashion as we can come to expect with Prince. Performing along with a staggering 21 member strong NPG (11 of which on horns) and of course the 3rdEyeGirl trio, he showcased the full range of his catalogue, in a full 7,500 seat arena. The set list included old and new as well as many from his side projects from The Family, The Time, Vanity 6 and Sheila E. The full setlist from the first show was: Days of Wild, 1999, Mutiny, The Sweeter She Is, Something in the Water (Does Not Compute), Let's Go Crazy, She's Always in My Hair, Musicology, Extraloveable, Nothing Compares 2 U, We're a Winner/Satisfied, Housequake, The Bird, Jungle Love, The Glamorous Life, When Doves Cry, Sign O' the Times, Hot Thing, I Would Die 4 U, Let's Work, U Got The Look, before rounding up with Purple Rain. The support was Janelle Monáe.
If these shows were anything to go by 2014 looks to be a full-on year in the purple calendar, in what promises the new album, Plectrum Electrum, London concerts, and even a very rare TV appearance. Yes Prince is to put in an appearance on the Fox sitcom New Girl which is set to air on 2 February ('Super Bowl Sunday'). Although billed as his debut appearance in a sitcom, it is not strictly his debut TV guest appearance; his last surprise slot was alongside Kermit the Frog on Muppets Tonight back in 1997.
If that is not enough, Prince is to headline the Essence Festival in New Orleans which is held across the weekend of 3rd to 6th July. Prince's appearance is to mark the 20th anniversary of the event, for which the tickets for the entire weekend range from $130.50 to $2,700 although day tickets will be available nearer the time.
Plectrum Electrum is to receive a full CD release early on part of the year. Stay tuned for updates and the track listing will be shown here when known.
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