Five Things You Should Know About Prince's Childhood

We take a look at Prince's legendary extracurriculars, "Queen Bernie," and the concert his step-father took him to that changed his life.

Five Things You Should Know About Prince's Childhood


Aaron Chan & Kayla Vickers

4/19/2021 12:00 PM

Prince’s dad was a musical genius too.

John Lewis Nelson who also went by the stage name of Prince was driven to constantly create music. Prince became enamored with his father’s piano at the age of three and used it to write his first song called “Funk Machine” at seven.

The real learning curve seemed to be progressing from being intimidated by his father’s talent to being inspired by it. When Prince’s parents divorced, the absence of his father gave him the courage to hone his piano skills more, learning via TV show themes by ear in his living room and eventually moving onto the guitar and drums.

He was born epileptic and had seizures throughout his youth.

Prince stated, “My mother told me one day I walked in to her and said, ‘Mom, I’m not going to be sick anymore,’ and she said, ‘Why?’ and I said, ‘Because an angel told me so.’”

Prince’s high school extracurriculars were extensive.

This is to the point of legend and caricature.

Prince’s career as a junior varsity basketball player was impressive despite being five feet and playing for Bryant, who were top state ranked at the time. He made the football and baseball teams as well. According to family and friends, sports and music gave Prince’s adolescent life stability when his family situation remained uncertain.

He also trained in ballet which led to a lifelong interest in dance with advocacy and support for different ballet institutions.

Prince’s parents divorced when he was 10 and he HATED his new step brother.

Omarr (not a typo) was the son of his mother’s new husband Hayward Baker. They did not get along causing Prince to switch homes repeatedly.

He had trouble adjusting to his new step father as well, however Prince admitted that Hayward, a successful community man greatly improved his family’s finances and ended up taking Prince to a James Brown concert that changed his life.

Prince credits Bernadette Anderson as the woman who made him who he was.

She was friends with Prince’s mom. Their families knew each other through church and both included abusive patriarchs. When Prince left home he moved in with the Andersons, occupying their basement throughout high school. He called her “Queen Bernie” and intended to dedicate a whole chapter of his book to her. Prince credited her with keeping him in school and shaping his work ethic.


Spencer Railton