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Prince's All-Time Best Proteges

Updated September 9, 2019 1.5k votes 375 voters 28.9k views13 items

List RulesVote up your favorite musicians and celebrities mentored by Prince

Prince was known for not only his musical genius and talent, but also for his love of working with lesser-known musicians that came to be known as Prince's proteges. Here's a list of the most successful musicians who were mentored by Prince or received guidance from him. 

While the amount of people The Purple One inspired with his legendary music and iconic presence cannot be counted, there are a number of musicians prince mentored that went on to become stars, including Apollonia, Vanity, and Carmen Electra. As many of the celebrity Prince proteges have expressed, he was obsessive about creating music and loved fostering new talent (if you don't believe us, just check out this list of songs written by Prince for other artists).

Prince revived a number of careers, including Sheena Easton and Sheila E. Bands formed or mentored by Prince include The Time, a group that featured some of Prince's most successful proteges like Jesse Johnson and Morris Day. 

While Prince has left us, his talent and inspiration will live on through not only the proteges he worked with directly, but also through the musical legacy he created.  Now it's time to leave your mark on this list by voting up your favorite musicians and celebrities mentored by Prince. And if you're a fan, be sure to cast your vote for the best tracks in our list of Prince's hit songs and best albums.

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    According to SF Weekly, The Time "was created as Prince's alter-ego band to appeal to 'black' audiences." The band was made up of Minneapolis musicians including Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and guitarist Jesse Johnson.

    In Johnson's recollection, though, playing under Prince was "hell." According to Johnson, the band was so strong that Prince grew jealous, strictly dictating what they could and could not do. The guitarist claimed Prince sometimes insisted that The Time play live shows from behind a curtain.
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    As Alicia Keys told the audience at Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom on April 21, 2016, "We lost someone very special. Prince showed me what it means to be an artist...how to be bold and brazen.” According to Billboard, Keys went on to talk about how her and Prince had had a phone conversation early on in her career, saying, “I was scared!” she recalls.

    “He was a very cool dude - the swaggiest that there ever was.” She covered Prince’s ballad “How Come U Don’t Call Me,” in her 2001 debut album Songs in A Minor

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    Apollonia Kotero might be one of Prince's most well-known proteges. She co-starred with Prince's hit movie Purple Rain, and as she describes in this video from OWN, her role in the movie allowed her to do what she does today - manage talent.

    In her own words, she and Prince were a "platonically and romantically involved." 

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    When SwaysUniverse interviewed Janelle Monae in late 2013, she told Sway that Prince actually reached out to her following the release of her EP Metropolis. She said he was like a mentor to her and that it was an organic process collaborating with him.

    She explained that Prince was always there for her when she had questions about the business or anything else. 

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