Over the weekend was the 20-year anniversary of Songs In A Minor, the breakout debut album from Alicia Keys. She marked the occasion over by joining Ebro Darden on Apple Music Hits to discuss the album. Since the release contains a cover of Prince’s “How Come You Don’t Call Me,” they talked about The Purple One (who would have celebrated his 63rd birthday today, June 7), including the specific demand Prince had of a young Keys before letting her perform at Paisley Park.
Keys told the story:
“He takes me to Paisley Park, and this place is like a dream. And he’s walking me through Paisley Park, [I’m] 18 years old. He has like 900 pianos. ‘This is the piano from Purple Rain. This is the piano when I wrote ‘When Doves Cry.’ This is the room that we sit on the floor with the purple things, and we write songs.’ I could not believe it. Then he says, ‘This is the stage. We want you to perform a little set for my closest people.’ He would invite them to Paisley Park every whatever he did. He had his own universe going. And he was like, ‘One thing: You can’t curse.’ And I was like, ‘Well, he must not know me, because I curse.'”
Keys was there to request Prince’s approval of her cover, which she eventually got. During a Tonight Show appearance from 2017, Keys spoke more about her first phone call with Prince, the first step in getting his blessing for the cover:
Watch the full Apple Music Hits interview here. Also revisit Keys’ cover of “How Come You Don’t Call Me” below.