Anna Scally / Cornerstone Media, Inc. / Healdsburg, California / firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna Scally has lead youth ministry seminars on mainstream music for over thirty years in Catholic parishes all over the country. She is a longtime friend and co-laborer with us at interlínc. We often say that “she has forgotten more about mainstream music than most of us have ever known.” We asked her to give her thoughts on Prince’s impact on high school kids over the years. She even took time to speak with some students yesterday and include their thoughts. Check out more from Anna’s ministry at Cornerstone Media.
“You saw it in his eyes.” This came from Owen Husney, the agent who signed Prince for his first album contract. When he was brought the demo he asked Chris Moon what the name of the band was. He said, “This is one person, an 18-year-old who is playing every instrument.” Husney knew at that moment he had never met anyone with this kind of brilliance. During an interview this morning he was obviously deeply saddened and in shock. He shared that there are so many songs never released, also commenting about the work that Prince left for all of us is ready to be discovered.
Born on June 7, 1958 to musical parents, as early as age seven he was a self-taught pianist, then guitar, followed by drums. He lived, ate, and breathed music.
Like many teens, he had his own sources of inspiration. (This would be a great question to ask the young people you work with.) Certainly, Stevie Wonder was one of his key inspirations because he had a great connection to the spirit. Prince thought that his own music was from the heart; he had a gift and it needed to be guided.
What is so wonderful to me personally is that he is/was a towering figure in global culture, and his music has been the soundtrack for untold numbers of people. I personally believe this is why so many people of different ages identify with his songs. Not only being a seven-time Grammy winner, an Oscar winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, and claims to have sold over 100 million records, he wanted to have his music have an impact on society. Last year he performed an original song at the Rally for Peace in Baltimore – “Baltimore” for Freddy Gray, the young man killed by police.
This morning I had the honor of talking with several teens around the country (the ones I could connect with – after all, it is a school day). I asked them how or if he affected their life, and if they happened to have a favorite song. Great responses! Some were very expected. Tasha from Northern California chose “Let’s Go Crazy.” “I’m a senior in high school this year and this is what I feel like.” Another teen, Josh from Atlanta, did not really want to go into details, but he said it would have to be “Controversy.” If one song could sum up his life right now, this would be it. My favorite and most touching response might be from 15-year-old Josh from Denver. He spoke in a low voice and said, “Okay, this may sound weird, but it would be ‘When Doves Cry.’ I never even thought about doves crying – but I bet there are lots of them in the heavens right now!” Wow, that hit the heart!
Many spoke of the fact he seemed fearless, brave, driven, crossed many barriers, and not afraid of what others thought of him.
I’m sure many people today have different thoughts and feelings about the loss of his life. A I listened today and did a little searching around, I discovered many common threads that could connect with our ministry. He said that along with himself, teens need more God in their lives. He spent much time talking with band members about his relationship with God and opportunities to make a difference.
The final image that Lisa Cox, a CNN reporter, had after being at the final concert/performance in Atlanta last week was of him and the piano on stage, giving his all, talking to the audience and standing strong.
I pray to live this way through my life as well – maybe minus the piano, if you know me.