Wow, I can't believe it's already been 5 years since Prince Rogers Nelson, commonly known as Prince, has passed away.

It's one of those moments where you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. I was working at a radio station in Austin at the time. I was absolutely numb when word came down, then I frantically started working on a tribute to him to put on-air.

You see, Prince played such a huge part of my formative years. He taught me so much about music and how diverse it could be. He was a man who could drop a nasty R&B song on you one moment, then break out the flamboyant electric guitar he had and hit you square between the eyes with a rocked out version of something. It was Prince who taught me it was ok to enjoy several genres of music, I didn't need to be pigeonholed into just one. His ability to blend several sounds into one song was uncanny.

Prince also taught me it was ok to just be myself, I didn't need to put on a front about who I was to fit in. Prince certainly didn't do that. He had his own style, his own swagger...and everyone loved him for him, not for what they WANTED him to be.

I got a chance to see Prince make a guest appearance at a concert I was at before his passing. I can't even put into words the feeling I had when they announced him onto the stage. I froze, I may have even shed a couple tears. My eyes were just fixated on him as he ripped his guitar in a song with Mary J. Blige. Unfortunately, it was the only time I got to see him in person, but I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to watch him live in any capacity.

On this 5th anniversary of his passing, I'll spend my day cranking through my extensive Prince playlist and thanking him for everything he is to me, and to all of us. The world is a better place because of him and his music, and I miss him dearly.

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