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An emotional interview with Kim Berry, Prince’s hair stylist of twenty-nine years

An emotional interview with Kim Berry, Prince’s hair stylist of twenty-nine years

Breakaway Magazine
Kim Berry

Last month, Breakaway Daily joined people from around the world at Paisley Park in Minnesota as Celebration 2018 honored music legend Prince Rogers Nelson. The four day event marked Prince’s passing for the second year in a row, with the first being Celebration 2017. Since his untimely death on April 21, 2016, visiting Minnesota has become bittersweet. After all, Prince is what brought us here in the first place. We were fortunate enough to share Prince’s space at Paisley Park on three occasions before he left this earth, and each time was more amazing than the last. Paisley Park feels different to us now, but we’re still awestruck when we walk into that enormous white building. When we are overcome with emotion, we can’t begin to imagine how those closest to the man himself must feel. People that were in his life for nearly thirty years such as Kim Berry, Prince’s confidant and renowned hair stylist.

“It was the God in me that saw the God in him…”

We were honored to have an in-depth conversation with Kim as we toured the Prince from Minneapolis Exhibit hosted by The Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis. The exhibit features Prince inspired artwork and fashion, as well as some of his most stunning images that have been captured on film. As we viewed the profound art with Kim, she shared heartfelt stories about the man she got to know on a professional and personal level. We spoke about finding your calling, faith, friendship and what one of the most prolific artists of our time taught her in our exclusive interview.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Does it ever get any easier when you come back to Minnesota?

KIM BERRY: No. I thought it would with this being the second year, no. I told my assistant Tia that I hope I don’t go in here and get overwhelmed. I said that yesterday. I did a lot of interviews and I got right to the end and then I started crying. I said this is crazy. I thought I was over it, but you can’t be over thirty years. You can’t be over it. Most people don’t stay on a job thirty years, you know what I’m saying? Then a lifetime with an iconic artist is major, so yeah.

Kim Berry and Prince photographed by Steve Parke from his book “Picturing Prince.”

BREAKAWAY DAILY: I think that we all know a bit of the background about how long you had been with Prince, but tell me how did you end up working with him for as long as you did? That must be a record as far as Prince’s inner circle? Almost thirty years.

KIM BERRY: Absolutely. I had been dating his bodyguard and the bodyguard introduced me to his hairstylist. I was fresh out of high school. I told my mom I was going to take a year off, I was a straight A student; I was going to be a lawyer, a doctor. I was waiting to choose. I told my mom that I was going to take a year off and just chill out. So about the first or second month, she told me I needed to get a job, go to school, or get the hell out of her house! I said, “Wait a minute!” She said, “There’s only one queen that lives here.” I said “Oh my god!” So I went stomping off up the street, walking to Pacific Beauty College. I was just going in to browse around and see what was in there. Before I knew it, that man had me signing on the dotted line! “See you tomorrow,” he said. “Tomorrow? I said. “Wait a minute, I wasn’t told that!” So then I went home and gave my mom the school contract and I said “I hope you’re happy, I’m going to beauty school now.” She said, “I hope you’re happy” and closed her door. I didn’t know that she was actually pushing me into my destiny. Like who knew? The whole time I was there, for nine months, the teacher kept asking me, “Why are you here?” And I would say “I’m here because my mother is making me be here.” She said, “By the time you leave I am going to turn you into a hairstylist.” I said “No you’re not, and sure enough, six months into the program we did a two hundred kid statewide hair competition and I took first place. It was a two day competition and I came in there and whooped on everybody! All my mistakes, all my mess ups, I kept going back to the teacher saying, you’ve got to help me, you’ve got to help me. She said “No, I’m not going to help you. Go back to your book.” I was like what?! But when they handed me that check and that trophy and Ms. Cooper walked over to me she said, “Didn’t I tell you I was going to make you a hairstylist?” I said, “You know what Ms. Cooper? That isn’t fair!” People see in you something that you don’t even see in yourself.

[bs-quote quote=”My dad used to tell me all the time that success is when preparation meets opportunity. When the opportunity presents itself will you be prepared? ” style=”default” align=”left” author_name=”Kim Berry”][/bs-quote]

A lot of people ask me if I knew I was going to be a hairstylist. Of course not. Honestly, I was on the road to being a doctor or a lawyer. I wasn’t thinking about being a hairstylist; let alone Prince’s hair stylist. So while dating the bodyguard, the bodyguard introduced me to the hairstylist and I’m on set talking to her. I was talking to her and she said, “I’m going to quit.” I said, “You’re not going to quit.” She’s like, “Yeah. I’m going to quit.” My dad used to tell me all the time that success is when preparation meets opportunity. When the opportunity presents itself will you be prepared? Sure enough, you know I’m watching her table. Being a hairstylist now, I’m looking like OK, she uses that hairspray, she uses that gel. So I was never thinking that I would ever be to her caliber, but I’m like at least let me be prepared. She said again, “I’m going to quit.” I said, “No you’re not.” My mother used to say life and death are in the power of the tongue; you be careful what you speak. Sure enough, the hairstylist and Prince went into the room one day and he was talking crazy to her, and you know he’s Prince so he’s used to talking crazy to you and you’re going to be there the next day. She said, “No, I’m done.” She packed her stuff and left and I kept telling her you got the best job in the world! She’s like, “Kim, it’s not what you think.” Until I walked a mile in her shoes I didn’t realize that it really isn’t what you think, because nobody has this one job. Even through my life as a cosmetologist, I wore a lot of hats you know? You’re a lawyer, you’re a sister, you’re a friend, you’re a doctor, you know what I mean? You’re the trash man sometimes. Prince would say, “Kim you see a piece of trash on the floor? Pick it up.” I’m like “That ain’t my job!” He’s like, “Yeah, it is your job!” So you know, you’ve got to do what you got to do. Especially if you want to stay around. So a lot of people, you know with me going through stuff, people would say, “Oh, if I was you I wouldn’t do this and I wouldn’t do that.” I said yeah, but you’re sitting at home on your mother’s couch and I’m in Switzerland. So really? Don’t tell me what you won’t do? Don’t tell me what you won’t do. I’m traveling around the world with one of the biggest artists in the world, so don’t tell me what you won’t do. You have to have thick skin. You have to want to do this, you know what I mean? I remember the first time I went up to him with my portfolio at the club one night. I said “Look, I know you don’t have a hairstylist. My name is Kim Berry, I do hair. He looked at me and said, “How did you even get to my table?” The bodyguard, because I was standing with the bodyguards, let me by. So he said, “Well, you got a salon?” I said “Yeah. He said, “Go set it up.” So I go set the salon up and I already knew how to black out the windows and do everything because  I was studying his former stylist the whole time.

Prince’s bike by Erik Noren of Peacock Groove. Won Best in Show and Best Theme Bike at the 2017 North American Handmade Bicycle Show and was commissioned by Anna Schwinn the great-great granddaughter of Ignaz Schwinn. Photo by Breakaway Daily.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: So you were ready? That was your moment?

KIM BERRY: I was ready, absolutely! So I got the salon ready and he called and he said, “Kim, this is Prince.” And I was like whoa! He said, “I’m not going able to make it.” I said “Ok, don’t worry about it. Next time you come to LA just know you’ve got a hairstylist.” Mind you, I’m only eighteen years old. He said, “Well, do you travel?” I said, “Yeah.” I’ve never been out of Inglewood, let alone California! He said, “Okay, well the flight leaves in an hour. We’re sending a car to come pick you up.” Now, talk about putting money where your mouth is. He said, “Is there a problem?” I said “No, no problem and I hung up” I called my mother and told her I just talked to Prince. She told me to stop lying! I said “No, I just talked to Prince! He said the flight leaves in an hour!” She said, “Girl, grab your curling irons and your hairspray.” Literally, I went to LAX with curling irons and hairspray. No clothes. Just got on the plane. Not a coat, nothing.

When the plane landed there was snow everywhere and it was my first time seeing snow. I was like, oh my God, Christmas lights and snow, wow! When they pulled up to Paisley Park, I said it does exist, because I only heard about it in songs. I didn’t know it was real. They escorted me upstairs to the hair salon. I get up there and I do his brother’s hair. There are about four women there in the studio hanging out. I said I get it. This is the audition. I get it You know I’m laying them out, head after head after head and his brother said, “I’ll be back.” In the salon, there’s a wide area. There are a makeup room and all kinds of stuff. I’m in there and you could see the Purple Rain jacket, the Raspberry Beret outfit is in there. They got a bunch of jewelry lying around and one thing my mom told me when I was growing up is when you go in somebody else’s house, you don’t touch anything that doesn’t belong to you. I sat right there for two and a half hours with my hands in my lap. I said, do they think I’m stupid? I know there’s a camera in here. I sat right there and I didn’t move. His brother stuck his head in the door and he said, “You didn’t steal nothing did you?” I said “Look, my momma ain’t raise no fools and second of all, I got to go to the bathroom. You play too much.” He was like, “Oh, you ain’t got to sit here. You could have gone to the bathroom.” I said, “I’m not walking around in this man’s house, no.” He said, “You could have gone to the bathroom.” I said, “No, I’m not going.” Then he said, “Okay, give me ten more minutes.” I said, “No, don’t you leave me sitting here for another two hours.” He’s like, “I’m not going to do that.”

[bs-quote quote=”You’ve got the job. But you’ve got to leave those nails at home, I’m tender headed.” style=”default” align=”right” author_name=”Prince”][/bs-quote]

About ten minutes later, sure enough, Prince stuck his head in the door and said, “Hello!” I’m like he is so small. I didn’t realize because on video he’s bigger than life. So he stuck his head in the door and I said he’s a little bitty man and I said “Hello!” Prince said “You’ve got the job. But you’ve got to leave those nails at home, I’m tender headed.” I had those long, curved SWV nails. I said “OK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK” and snapped those nails off! He started laughing and said “You’re funny. Let’s go to work. Go back to the hotel we’re going to Miami in the morning.” I said “Huh? No, I’m eighteen years old. So we’re going to Miami in the morning?” He said “Yeah. I’ll see you in the morning.” I said “Ok.” I go back to the hotel. When I get up in the morning, my mother sent me some money, I went to Target and got a duffel bag and threw some clothes in it. I was like okay, what’s happening right now? Sure enough, we go to Miami, we stay a few days. We’re there and I never see him. All he did was call me, “Kim, we’re going on to the next city” and hang up. “Kim, you’re good?” “Order what you want. We’re going to the next city.” Atlanta, Chicago, we’re traveling. I call my mother and I said “I don’t know what’s going on. Who lives like this?” My mother said, “You do.” That’s when my reality shifted to oh, you’re a celebrity hairstylist now, wait a minute. It was just amazing. I get to New York, we set up his hair salon. His brother said, “Don’t touch his ears. Don’t look him in the face. Don’t put color on him. Don’t waste water on him.” I said look, there are too many rules. I can’t work like that. Everything it seems like they told me not to do on the first appointment, I did. Prince took it all in stride and he would laugh. I was like, “Kim, just relax, you got this. You’re good, you got this.” I hooked him up. Color. Perm. Cut. Everything. I said “Kim, this is what you do. You got this. It’s just another client. Don’t worry about it.” He got up, looked in the mirror and he was like, “Cool. Thank you very much. Your car is waiting for you downstairs.” Then he turned around on those little bitty heels, and he disappeared. I said “Do I got the job or what?” What just happened? I looked outside and the limo driver was waiting for me outside the window. He’s waving at me like whenever you’re ready. And I said “A limo? Waiting on Kim Berry?”

Prince photographed by Afshin Shahidi from his book “Prince: A Private View.” Read our interview here.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: You have arrived.

KIM BERRY: Yeah, I have arrived and basically the rest was history. Traveling with him for twenty-nine years.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: We know in the course of those twenty-nine years Prince had some iconic hairstyles as we just saw in the gallery. Were those always his ideas or your ideas? Were there ever any hairstyles that you said no, we are absolutely not going to do that?

KIM BERRY: Oh no. Everything was a collaboration, so thank goodness for that. He was pretty easy. He was open. You know, he was easy to talk to. I was telling people about this one gorilla coat he had. That fur that just stuck out like this and he was like, “I want little ponytails. Can you make my hair look like this coat?” And I said “Oh no.” So we had to put all these little ponytails all over his head so his hair and his coat could match. My friends were calling when that picture hit the waves and people are like, “Kim, what’s going on down there?” I said, “You got to give the people what they want, you hear me?”

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Exactly. I was a fan of that hair. It was awesome. I was a fan of the braids.

KIM BERRY: I call it the buckwheat braids.

Prince photographed by Steve Park from his book “Picturing Prince.”

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Exactly. When everyone else gave the look the side-eye, I said: “I like it.”

KIM BERRY: I liked it. We did that and he said, “I want some braids.” I was like, “Okay, good. I’m going to part it off and make it really neat.” Prince said “No. No, just braid it.” I said, “Oh, you’re not going to do me like that!” He said, “Kim, just braid it.” It wound up being one of his most iconic looks. We would come out to the concert and all the women in the front rows would have that. I was telling people, don’t encourage him! Stop wearing the hairstyle! Then he told me, “Run upstairs and get me some ribbons to put on my hair.” So I had to go run upstairs to wardrobe. I’m like, he wants ribbons to match the outfit he got on. They said “What?” It was just crazy! Every outfit after that he had to have matching ribbons to go on every outfit. I said you’re going to wear this for a while? But he loved those braids. He did. I was like oh no!

BREAKAWAY DAILY: We loved the braids, so it was ok! I heard you talk a little bit in the previous interviews about the Super Bowl.

KIM BERRY: Oh yeah, that was my favorite.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Tell our readers a little bit more about that. Did panic strike when you saw that the rain was falling after you had done this beautiful beautiful hairdo?

KIM BERRY: Absolutely.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: At what point did he just say I’m going out in the rain with this du-rag on?

KIM BERRY: No, he literally didn’t want to go outside in the rain because it had been clear all day. Then all of a sudden, right before it was time for him to go outside, it started pouring down rain. Prince was like, “Kim, they are not going to make me go outside in the rain are they?” I said “Bro, this is live. Yes, we are going outside in the rain.” He said, “Oh no, oh no.” So we’re panicking. He’s telling me, “Let me go find a scarf.” I knew where the scarves were. I was tucking and hiding them and I’m like no, this hair is beautiful, no. What’s going on? He said, “Kim, give me a hat.” I said “OK.” So I ran outside going to his limo to find a hat. By this time they got him on the cart taking him over to the stage. He comes out underneath that elevator. When he came up I said, “No, he has the du-rag on! Oh my God! What are you doing?” When he did that show, everybody was like was there an umbrella over the stage? No, this is the coolest man in the world! Prince is the only man who can dance underwater and not get wet!


KIM BERRY: And killed it while pouring down rain, but baby that was magic. That was music magic. It was amazing and they acted like there wasn’t a drop on them and they did that show. When he reached up and took that du-rag and threw it in the audience, I was like that’s show business baby! That’s how you do it! He came off stage and he said, “How did I do? How did I do?” I said you know you killed it.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: That’s the reason why it’s considered the number one Super Bowl performance. Looking back, is it experiences like the Super Bowl that prompted you to write a book?

KIM BERRY: Definitely.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Were you solely Prince’s hair stylist or you work for others in the camp?

KIM BERRY: No, I did everybody. The women that came through his life, I worked on all of them as well as every band member. You know at one point we had almost eleven women on tour with us, so the backup singers, anybody who was there. The vocalists, the guitar players, everybody. Candy Dulfer, Rhonda Smith, Kat Dyson, everybody I had to do. I would be running from one end of the arena to the other getting the whole band ready. I had to go with the clippers and I cut the brothers hair. Michael Bland back in the day, Tommy Barbarella, everybody. Then, Prince would get mad at me sometimes because I would be so busy attending to them. I would be late getting to him. He would be like “Really? Whose show is this?” I would say, “You told me to get everybody ready.” So yeah, it would be very stressful sometimes. At some point he allowed me to have an assistant, but the accountants would always come back and cut the crew short. It would just be me running back and forth through that arena, but you know, I just learned how to do it. I learned how to bob and weave.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: That means you have magic hands. You made that happen.

KIM BERRY: Absolutely.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Well, you have a lot there that you can write about and I look forward to reading the book.

KIM BERRY: That’s why I said I am not going to talk about the rockstar Prince. In my book, I want to tell about the loving man, the philanthropist, the dad, the brother, the son. You know, we’re going to talk about that Prince. As he grew I grew. Because like I said, most people don’t stay on a job thirty years let alone be in a relationship or anything else. People are like, “Were you in love with him?” No. “Were you a fan?” No. I believe that’s what allowed me to stay around him for so long. I knew that it was the God in me that saw the God in him and that would make me stay there for so much longer. I cared about him and I took care of him, you know what I’m saying?

*We briefly paused the interview because Kim started crying*

Prince photographed by Randee St. Nicholas.

KIM BERRY: I said I wasn’t going to cry.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: It’s ok. I teared up yesterday during Sheila’s performance and I can’t imagine what it’s like for people like you that actually have history, as opposed to being someone on the outside looking in. Is there anything that you’ve been apprehensive about putting in the book?

KIM BERRY: No, because I  know that I’m just going to tell the loving story, so I don’t have time for anything else. Whatever else is out in the universe, God will deal with it. I’m going to tell the parts about the joking, the pranks, the fun stuff. You know what I’m saying? The stuff that people don’t know about unless you were there. You would know that Prince was that type of person. You know what I’m saying? The fun, easy going, loving gentleman. That Prince. People can tell me all day about the rock star, so I don’t need to tell that story. I’m going to tell the story about the man, the living legend you know?

BREAKAWAY DAILY: The private Prince is way different than what the public knows?

KIM BERRY: Right, absolutely.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: I also see that you own two salons. How were you able to balance being a businesswoman on your own with being on call for a rock star?

KIM BERRY: Right. He was always asking everybody around him what I can do to empower you? What can I do to take you to the next level? So being a hairstylist, of course the hair salon was the next level. He said “Let’s get a salon opened.” He and I went through the motions. We have traveled all over the world, seeing some of the most beautiful salons. When I opened the doors of my salon he said, “Kim, you know we’ve been a lot of places. We’ve done a lot of things, right?” Yeah. He said, “This is the most beautiful salon I’ve ever seen.” To get the nod from the man himself, that was major, and I put it in the middle of the neighborhood in Los Angeles, California because I wanted to bring the beauty to the hood. The stuff that they had never seen before, you know? It was a great experience. I had a great team of people because you can’t do nothing by yourself, so you got to have a great team of people to have your back to make sure that even in your absence that it can still run. That’s one thing that I learned from him you know? So how we’re doing it now, even in his absence, we’re still making it run. Shelby J has a great hashtag, “#WhatPrinceTaughtUs.” We are all doing now what Prince taught us. Some people, you’re hearing them say, “Well, we shouldn’t be doing this and we shouldn’t be doing that.” You get the negative naysayers, but Prince wouldn’t have wanted anyone to stay stagnant and not do what we’re supposed to do. He taught us how to grind and now we are all grinding, you know what I’m saying? We’ve got to keep moving. We’ve got to keep going and make sure that his legacy stays alive. So I’m excited to be a part of the PRN Alumni Foundation which is making sure that his legacy continues to go forward. Keeping kids motivated with music and coding. He took care of homeless shelters. Prince was so much bigger than what people knew about and that’s what I’m looking forward to telling the people about. Who he was. That man that nobody knew about. He moved in silence and he got things done, but it took a team of people to get it done for him. I was glad to be a part of that team, and be a part of that journey.

Prince Exhibition
Prince mural by Rock Martinez. Photo by Breakaway Daily.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: That’s great to hear, but does it ever get tough sometimes? I mean, when you hear the background noise from the onlookers? Obviously they haven’t been in the circle. Does that get hard sometimes when you hear negative stuff from the fans?

KIM BERRY: Oh yeah, and even with him he would look at the negative press. At one point he went looking for it just to see what he could do to make himself better. So he would go looking for the negative, “Let’s see what they are talking about today”, to the point that he literally became so interactive with the fans online. But, he was critiquing them as they were critiquing him and it was making him a better artist, so it works. They say pressure makes diamonds, so it works for me. I’m going to let them keep talking because while they keep talking, I’m going to keep shining. It’s all good.     

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Great. Do you have an expected release date for the book that we can look forward to? You’re still putting the finishing touches on it?

KIM BERRY: Yeah, finishing touches on it. I hope it by the first of the year.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Are you self publishing?

KIM BERRY: We’re working on that, the deal is coming through, so in the meantime. So the book, it will be called Diamonds & Curlz: My 29 Years of Rolling with Rock Royalty.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: I love the title.

KIM BERRY: Yes, so we’re looking forward to that. Also working on the hair care line as we went through the years. Prince would always see me mixing this and mixing that and putting this together. He was like, “We need to do our own line.” Because what I would put in his hair worked for him. He said “We’ve got to figure out how to make this work for everybody else so we’re going to do a line.” So everyday he was about taking it to the next level. “What I can do to help you get to the next level?” So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to make sure that we manifest this, that we bring it to fruition. Everything. His thoughts about me, his dreams about me. We’re going to make it and it’s going to be a Prince inspired hair care line and it’s going to be beautiful and cover all spectrums. You know, fine, thick, medium hair, everything. It’s going to be beautiful. I am looking forward to bringing it to the masses. Also, we’re doing a hair extension line, so that’s going to be really cool. We had a party last night at the Chanhassen Rec Room and some of the extensions were featured there. So yeah, so it’s going to be really great and we’re looking forward to doing some great things. I tell people to please be patient with me because God is not through with me yet.

Prince Exhibition
Le Petit Prince art gallery by Troy Gua. Photo by Breakaway Daily.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: No, not at all. After working with Prince in that capacity, did he confide in you? Do you feel like you reached a level where you were friends?

KIM BERRY: Yeah, I mean thirty years being with somebody. If somebody put their head in your hands you’re going to talk to them and you’re going to release to them. So that’s why I said all those stories will be in the book too. You can’t help but, you know when you go to the hair salon and you’re talking about your husband, your lawyer, and your daddy, your baby daddy and everybody else you know?  If you spend that much time with people you’re going to learn a lot about that person, that individual that’s sitting in your chair, so yes.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Ok, and I understand now you’re touring with Katt Williams? You haven’t slowed down.


BREAKAWAY DAILY: You haven’t stepped away from the going back and forth and going around the world. You love it I take it?

KIM BERRY: Absolutely no. Yeah, I love it. That’s what I said, and Kat is so much like Prince. Same work ethic, same drive and he is an amazing individual. I said Prince is a boss in the pop world, Kat is a genius in the comedic world. It’s their work ethics, and Kat is a Prince fan too. So when Prince left here, that’s the first thing Kat said, “Let’s go”. I had been working for him for about ten years on and off, but this was my first major tour rolling around the world with him so this has been incredible. We’ve had a great time.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: You certainly still have a lot on your plate.

KIM BERRY: Absolutely.

Prince and Kim Berry in front of the iconic music wall mural on the side of the old Schmitt Music building in downtown Minneapolis. Prince photographed by Robert Whitman.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: I think that that’s  impressive. How you have incorporated your faith into what you do, and you’re building steadily off of that. Is that something that you’ve always done?

KIM BERRY: Yeah, instilled from birth. Momma didn’t play that, you know? You’re going to have you some Jesus if you don’t do nothing else. You have to be grounded in this industry because there are so many challenges and so many levels, and if you don’t have faith and you don’t have a prayer life, you’re not going to make it. You’ve got to be tough, you’ve got to be strong as nails. That’s one thing I can say about every client. I anointed their heads with oil as I work with them. That is a must you know what I’m saying? That we pray together, that we do things together and grow together. That was one of the beautiful things with Prince. We literally grew up together, you know what I mean? He studied every religion in the world.A very spiritual man, a very grounded man and that’s another thing people don’t know about him. They want to lock him in this box. You can’t lock that kind of spirit in a box. He was so deep and he went in so many different directions, so you can’t lock nothing like that. That’s force. That force was to be reckoned with and that force was God himself, so he knew God for himself. Just like I said, I was  glad to be around and to see him grow into this massive energy that he was. It was just beautiful and you can’t help but be affected by it. You had to grow with him or you would get dismissed by the wayside. So like I said, people ask “How did you stay around so long?” You had to be able to roll with him.” So my book is twenty-nine years rolling with rock royalty.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: That’s probably going to be a thick book?

KIM BERRY: Absolutely.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Well, I will ask you one last question. What I notice about band members and various associates is that you all seem to be really close. Is that a closeness that came about because of tragedy or has it always been that way? Even when people may have left the camp? You guys seem like family.

KIM BERRY: Yes, it’s a must. They call me the momma of the group, so I was always fixing stories and putting fires out and doing this and doing that. So it was a must that we had to be close because we knew we had to keep him protected.We had to keep our circle tight. Prince would say, “I don’t have celebrity friends. You guys are my friends. You guys are my family.” So we had to make sure that we stay close to take care of him. Like I said, people who used to work for him will see me and they’re like, “You still work for him?” I’m like yeah. They’re like, “Wow” because the time and the days can be grueling. You have to be up all night and then sleep during the day when you could and then on another bus. On another plane and on another train and on another… So it was so grueling, but we had to take care of each other and just learn how to do that with each other. There would be band after band, tour after tour where there would be a whole set of new people, but everybody wound up being just as loving as the last people that we met. So it was just something that came with the territory. We have to be family. Literally, we all became family. That’s why I tell everybody, he was a client when I first came on board, but we turned into family. Everybody. The main thing was to make sure we took care of Prince and got him to the stage. That was the main thing, get him to the stage.

A painting representing city walls covered with flyers and graffiti by the Turkish painter Burhan C. Dŏgançay. Photo by Breakaway Daily.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: We thank you for it because we were able to bear witness to decades of greatness. We know that was a well oiled machine, so we appreciate the people behind the scenes. Thank you so much for your time.

KIM BERRY: Thank you for having me. Thank you.

For more information on Kim Berry visit her official website at

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