The saying goes, “Never meet your heroes.”
The premise is when you have placed someone in the “hero” category it’s hard for that person to live up to your expectations. How can they live up to the lofty expectations? They will surely disappoint. Since moving to Minnesota 15 years ago, I’ve in fact gotten to meet some of my heroes. They have yet to disappoint.
The joke among my friends was that I was moving to Minnesota to be close to Prince. That’s how big of a fan I am of him. And I speak of him in the present because to me (and millions of others) he is present. His music and legacy certainly remain omnipresent. And while I didn’t get to “meet” Prince, (I do have a Prince encounter that I shared on stage at the recent MinnPost Festival) I got to meet those who he helped birth in a musical sense (Jamecia Bennett) and those who, if it weren’t for them (Walter “Q Bear” Banks, Jr.), we wouldn’t have the worldwide phenomenon that is Prince… and the Minneapolis Sound.
So to be able to share the MinnPost Festival stage with the likes of Bennett, Banks, Pete Rhodes (founder of Black Music America, Comcast/Xfinity 937), Andrea Swensson (host of the official Prince podcast) and Nikki “DJ D.I.M.E.” White (a DJ to Paisley Park) was truly living a dream. Not only was I able to meet my heroes, I was able to introduce them to our MinnPost Festival attendees.
And the reason we were able to have this conversation is because like Prince, many of the artists of the Minneapolis Sound remain in Minnesota. Why?
“It’s the seed. It’s the seed that keeps you here. It’s the seed of the music and the seed of the sound that keeps you here,” explained Bennett, a three-time Grammy award winner and lead singer of the iconic Sounds of Blackness. “[The Minneapolis Sound] is different than any other type of music. We have the Minneapolis Sound and people around the world want that, but unless you’re here you won’t know the feeling of that.”
For those in the room at MinnPost Festival we all got to feel that wonderful feeling… That wonderful feeling of the Minneapolis Sound. And we got to meet a few of our heroes.