Behind the Scenes Exclusive: Jamming with Prince - KMSP-TV

Behind the Scenes Exclusive: Jamming with Prince

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Only a few lucky fans were able to get tickets to see some impromptu shows by Prince, but FOX 9 News went behind the scenes at Paisley Park for an exclusive interview with his new backup band.

Over the years, Prince has played with a variety of female musicians, and his new band is made up of three talented women from Denmark, Toronto and Kentucky. The trio had never played together before meeting in Minnesota, and they discussed their experience with FOX 9's Maury Glover.

"Excited -- extremely. It's going to be a lot of fun," said bassist Ida Nielsen.

Nielsen, drummer Hannah Ford and guitarist Donna Grantis say they have all been Prince fans for as long as they can remember.

"One of my favorite songs is 'Alphabet Street' -- since I heard it the first time," Nielsen said.

None of them ever imagined they would share a stage with the living legend.

"I didn't believe it at first," Ford admitted. "I didn't believe it was real. I was so excited."

All three musicians have bands and followers of their own. In fact, Prince was so impressed with their videos on YouTube and MySpace that he contacted each of them to invite them to jam.

"I was at church," Ford recalled. "I ran out and found my husband. I was like, 'Look at this e-mail! I don't know if it's real, but check it out!'"

Grantis said all sprung at the chance to play with an artist she calls "a musician's musician."

"He's such a phenomenal musician," she said. "He's an incredible entertainer."

Since they met at Paisley Park, Prince and his new band have been getting to know each other on-stage and off -- playing ping pong and sharing laughs.

"He's really funny, just hilarious," Ford said. "One of the funniest people I've met."

Fans can expect something a little funny at the impromptu jam sessions too. The trio told FOX 9 News that the shows at the Dakota Jazz Club -- which sold out in less than an hour -- were set by Prince, who preferred the small venue to an arena so the group could experiment with their musical chemistry and get feedback from a live audience.

"They shouldn't expect a show like you see at a stadium or concert," Nielsen explained. "In those, there isn't much room to stretch things. In a small environment like this, this is what we are able to do -- especially with Prince, who is a master at improvisation and directing. That's what's going to happen a lot. You are going to see some jamming."

Grantis says the group fully expects to stretch themselves over their shows -- and if all goes well, they may be sharing the spotlight with his purple majesty for years to come.

"Expect a lot of improvisation. We'll really be stretching it a lot -- especially at a venue like the Dakota that is known for having real players stretch out," she said. "That's what we'll be doing."

While the band won't be with Prince on Wednesday, they will share the stage on Thursday and Friday night.

"We're super excited for this," Ford said. "This year has been just: Everyone, be prepared for the ride. It's going to be a crazy one."

Fans who missed out on snagging tickets to the Dakota shouldn't fret. Prince's promoters told FOX 9 News additional shows may be announced at Paisley Park in the spring or summer to prepare for a larger tour later in the year.

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