ST. PAUL, Minn - A lot of things can be said about Prince.
One of those things is this: Prince had an eye for talent.
Local talent, for certain.
So it’s no wonder he noticed music writer Andrea Swensson back in 2013.
She had been writing seriously about music for less than a decade but his eye, no matter, found her.
“(I was) at this Dakota show and there were no cell phones, no cameras; everyone was just being in the moment in this tiny little room with Prince, being in it together," she said. "So I brought my notebook to document this and I did a little drawing of him onstage with his band."
Prince must have caught a glimpse of it, that drawing, from the stage.
Prince's people called Andrea that night.
The artist, it turned out, wanted to buy her doodle art for his next bootleg music cover art.
That's how the mutual professional admiration of Prince and Andrea began.
"Then after that I started getting personal invites to all kinds of stuff, and by the next year, I met him in person,” she recalled on Monday.
Over the next two years, Prince would invite her to hear his new cuts, or she would cover his countless dance parties.
It was well known that he knew, that she knew, he read everything she wrote about him.
All the more notable, as she was a relative nobody in the national music scene.
But she has a theory as to why he chose her so often, and it’s one that adds up.
“I always gave him a fair shake, even when I was writing critically about him," she said. "I think I was just always willing to listen to his music and write about it from an honest place, and I think he appreciated that someone was actually listening and not thinking about the spectacle and not thinking about the more tabloid parts of his life.”
Andrea's work was flourishing when she wrote about Prince.
She became, to many, the go-to writer to learn about what we now know were his final acts.
“I absolutely think that in the process of writing about him, and knowing that it was this circuit of him reading and then being invited back and writing more, it made me want to get better and better,” she said.
Her reviews were emotional and raw and her writing was never better.
But if she has one regret, it is this: She never formally got to say thank you.
Read Andrea's farewell to Prince: Good night, sweet Prince.
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