Prince could have played a concert in Singapore recently, but his schedule was too tight

Prince could have played a show in Singapore, but a tight schedule prevented it from happening. PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - It was so near, yet so far. Prince could have played his first show in Singapore recently, but, in the end, his schedule was just too tight.

And now, the music legend will never grace Singapore with his many talents.

Prince, who died on Thursday (April 21) at age 57, was still touring until April 14, when he did his final show at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.

The gig was part of his intimate Piano & A Microphone Tour which, like its title suggests, features him singing and playing on a piano.

While most tour dates were for North America, several concert promoters in Singapore tried to bring him in while he was performing in Australia and New Zealand in February.

Live Nation Lushington was one of the promoters keen on getting him to play and it was a shame that it did not work out, says its managing director Michael Roche.

"I think he looked at the offers and he looked at the schedule and said it was not going to happen.

"We've been trying to get him to play in Singapore for years - he is one of the greatest live artists, a genius," says Mr Roche.

"But he was slightly eccentric. He didn't work in conventional ways. He didn't have a big management company and he didn't have agents. You don't go through an agent for Prince. You just had to find him in Paisley Park or somewhere. People would speak to him and he'd say, 'I'll do it', then it doesn't happen."

Prince was as sexual as he was eccentric. He paved the way for artists such as Madonna to use sexuality in their music, says singer and radio DJ Chris Ho, also known as X'ho.

"He was very visual. He became such a sexual symbol in pop music."

Ho says it was important to note Prince was pushing boundaries in the 1980s, a time when Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) - the American committee behind the enforcement of Parental Advisory stickers on risque music releases - was trying to regulate and "clean up pop music".

"He sensualised pop music again at a time when it was not a thing to do to get on the radio."

Because many of his 1980s and early 1990s songs were banned in Singapore, Ho resorted to buying them when he travelled overseas or getting friends who did to buy them for him.

Warner Music Singapore general manager Simon Nasser also says Prince stood out because he "had a unique way of using sensuality in his music".

"He was short in stature, but tall in sexiness."

Veteran club band Jive Talkin will do a Prince tribute at Hard Rock Cafe Singapore on Friday night (April 22).

Frontman Raffy Aspier, 59, says the band have had plenty of requests over the years for Prince songs such as When Doves Cry, Raspberry Beret and The Most Beautiful Girl In The World.

"His music is unique, each of his songs has its own distinctive style and that's what makes me such a big fan.

"It's not easy to sing his songs. He's got this really weird range that goes from very low notes to a falsetto. His music is everlasting."

More Prince stories here.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.