Virtual Event: Neal Karlen on Prince

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In conversation with Dr. Steven W. Lewis, Curator, National Museum of African American Music, Nashville 

In partnership with The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Inc.

Recording available through December 1

A warm and candid biography of one of rock’s greatest talents: Prince. 

Neal Karlen was the only journalist Prince granted in-depth press interviews to for over a dozen years, from before Purple Rain to when the artist changed his name to an unpronounceable glyph. According to Prince’s former fiancée Susannah Melvoin, Karlen was “the only reporter who made Prince sound like what he really sounded like.”  

Long before they met as writer and subject, Prince and Karlen knew each other as two of the gang of kids who biked around Minneapolis’s mostly segregated Northside. Karlen eventually interviewed Prince for three Rolling Stone cover stories, co-wrote a rock opera with the musician, and remained a lifelong friend. 

Going back to Prince Rogers Nelson’s roots, especially his contradictory, often tortured, and sometimes violent relationship with his father, This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Odyssey, On and Off the Record profoundly changes what we know about Prince, and explains him as no biography has: a superstar who calls in the middle of the night to talk, who loved The Wire and could quote from every episode of The Office, who frequented libraries and jammed spontaneously for local crowds (and fed everyone pancakes afterward), and who was lonely but craved being alone. 

Neal Karlen is a former contributing editor for Rolling Stone and a regular contributor to the New York Times. The author of nine books, he lives in his hometown of Minneapolis. 


Public virtual ticket: $10

DMA and TBAAL Members/Educators virtual ticket: $7 

Virtual ticket + book with signed bookplate shipped directly to your home: $40 

We recognize these are challenging times, and we don't want price to be a barrier to your attendance. We have a limited pool of free tickets set aside for this event. Email to make a request as needed.