Remembering Prince: The Music Legend's Most Inspirational Quotes

PEOPLE looks back at some of the icon's best words of wisdom on life and art

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty


Music legend Prince has died at 57.

As fans and friends celebrate his vibrant life and iconic work, we remember the immeasurably influential artist in his own words:

On confidence
“Cool means being able to hang with yourself. All you have to ask yourself is ‘Is there anybody I’m afraid of? Is there anybody who if I walked into a room and saw, I’d get nervous?’ If not, then you’re cool.”
– to Rolling Stone

On why he attracted such a diverse fanbase
“I think from the beginning, as I was coming into my own persona and understanding of who I was, I never talked down to my audience. When you don’t talk down to your audience, then they can grow with you. I give them a lot of credit to be able to hang with me this long, because I’ve gone through a lot of changes, but they’ve allowed me to grow, and thus we can tackle some serious subjects and try to just be better human beings, all of us.”
– to Tavis Smiley

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On the state of the music industry

“Like books and black lives, albums still matter.”
– at the 2015 Grammys

On freedom
“I find freedom sexy. I find freedom so sexy, I can’t even explain it to you. You wake up every day and feel like you can do anything.”
– to NME

On handling criticism
“I don’t really care so much what people say about me because it usually is a reflection of who they are. For example, if people wish I would sound like I used to sound, then it says more about them than it does me.”
– to Tavis Smiley

On letting the music speak for itself
“I don’t want to get up on a soapbox. My view of the world, you can debate that forever. But I’m a musician. That’s what I do. And I also am music. Come to the show for that.”
– to The Guardian

On feeling at peace
“I feel at peace. I knew it would take time, and I had to deal with a lot of ridicule. But this feels like peace right now. Spiritually, I feel very different from the way I used to, but physically? Not at all. I don’t look at time that way, and I don’t believe in age. When you wake up, each day looks the same, so each day should be a new beginning. I don’t have an expiration date.”
– to Rolling Stone

On his love for people
“I’m no different to anyone. Yes, I have fame and wealth and talent, but I certainly don’t consider myself any better than anyone who has no fame, wealth or talent. People fascinate me. They’re amazing! Life fascinates me! And I’m no more fascinated by my own life than by anyone else’s.”
– to NME

On identity
“Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people.”
– to Rolling Stone

On conventions
“A strong spirit transcends rules.”
– in The Guardian

On the importance of teachers
“That’s what makes the world go around. We all need each other, and again, it’s about good mentoring and good teachers. I had a lot of good people around.”
– to Tavis Smiley

On aspiration
“I had a massive ego. Massive. But that’s not such a bad thing. Because at least you’re aspiring to be something, you consider yourself great because you want to be great.”
– to NME

On making music a priority
“My greatest musical education I think came from listening to records. And I think that should be integrated into the school system, that kids learn and hear from the musicians themselves why they got into music in the first place. It’s a God-given gift and when a musician gives back onto that glory, it’s a wonderful thing.”
– on MTV

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