MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Grammy-winning producer and Minneapolis native James "Jimmy Jam" Harris spoke with WCCO-TV Thursday afternoon for nearly an hour following the news that his friend, the iconic Minnesota musician Prince, had died that morning.
The Purple One passed away at his Paisley Park recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota, officials said. He was 57.
The interview, which was done over the phone with WCCO-TV anchors Frank Vascellaro and Amelia Santaniello, is in the videos below.
In the first segment, Jimmy discusses what it was like to meet Prince at Bryant Junior High in south Minneapolis and play music with the young artist.
"As a young, early teenager, he could pick up any instrument and play it better than someone who was supposedly accomplished at that instrument," Jimmy said. "Pretty easy for me to tell, at that point, that he had it."
Growing Up With Prince
Anyone who worked with Prince understood that his work ethic was unstoppable. Jimmy compared the musician to the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan.
"With the amount of talent that he had in him, he didn't need to work that hard," Jimmy said. "But he worked harder than anybody."
Knowing The Artist
Jimmy recounted where he was when he first heard the news that someone had died at Paisley Park.
He said he was on his phone in Los Angeles when the website TMZ texted him about the story. Moments later came a barrage of texts and voicemail messages.
"I've never experienced anything like that," Jimmy said. "It was crazy."
Hearing The News
Jimmy said that Prince's immense impact on music and culture was evident across the world on Thursday. Even when Jimmy picked up his son from school, the teenager told him that Prince's death was all anyone was talking about.
"It's obviously worldwide news – shocking and devastating news," Jimmy said. "But it speaks to what we've been talking about, the influence he has had, and you can believe it will continue to have, on people's lives."
He noted that for those in Minnesota, the day of Prince's death will never be forgotten.
A Lasting Influence
for more features.