Prince’s New Power Generation backing singer Shelby J. has shared what it was like working on Welcome 2 America with Prince in 2010.
Prince was in “such good spirits” recording his lost album Welcome 2 America.
The Purple Rain hitmaker’s estate and Sony’s Legacy Recordings have released the posthumous LP, which was recorded by the late music legend in 2010 and features previously unheard gems from his Paisley Park vault.
Backup singer Shelby J. has shared how the “Raspberry Beret” musician — who passed away in April 2016 at the age of 57 from an accidental fentanyl overdose — was in good form and full of energy when they were in the studio.
She told “Entertainment Tonight”: “He was in such good spirits during its time. I remember that as I look back at photos because I take a lot of photos and just remembering where he was with his energy and how that helped us.
The New Power Generation star added how the eerily timely collection — which includes the singles “Hot Summer” and “Born 2 Die” — ”speaks to what we’re dealing with right now,” with themes including social justice, social media and disinformation, and celebrity culture.
Shelby — whose vocals can be heard alongside fellow NPG vocalists Liv Warfield and Elisa Fiorillo, backed by bassist Tal Wilkenfeld and drummer Chris Coleman — said: “He really cared about the world. And you can really hear that he’s a poet. He’s a storyteller. When you listen to the songs on this album, you’ll be able to hear that.
“During that time, we had conversations about Black Wall Street, social media, of how things would have to get worse before it got better, where he saw the future going. Everything. He always had his finger on the pulse. He was so far ahead of things.”
Shelby continued: “So when you listen now, it’s like, how could he be talking about this stuff?
“He’s always been ahead of the curve and everything. But this album really speaks to what we’re dealing with right now. In our country. And in the world. I think it’s going to help people heal. I think it’s going to make people excited about what they can do to make the world a better place.”
Welcome 2 America is out now.