Prince was one of the most iconic and mysterious music figures in the industry. For decades he was known for his bizarre antics, his incredibly unique music, and a crazy, flamboyant personal style. That’s why it should come as no surprise that his home was just as impressive.
Paisley Place, his one-of-a-kind Minnesota abode, was as mysterious and legendary as Prince himself. Not many people got to see the interior, and those who did never shared the juicy details. After Prince’s untimely death, Paisley Park became a public attraction. Now everyone could peek into the unusual beauty of the singer’s hybrid home and recording studio.
Let’s take a tour of Prince’s luxurious Paisley Park.
Named After His Song, Paisley Park
Paisley Park gets its name from one of Prince’s very own songs, released by his band The Revolution in 1985. It happened to be one of the first singles from the album Around the World in a Day.
The tune was recorded just three months after Purple Rain was released, one of the iconic high points of the singer’s career. He was at the pinnacle of his career when the construction of Paisley Park began, so it’s only appropriate to name his home after his hit song – Paisley Park.
Purple Rain Was Being Filmed, While Paisley Park Was Being Built
The film Purple Rain, which includes the extremely famous Prince song of the same name, was shot in 1983. This was the same year that saw the construction of Paisley Park, a home hybrid and recording studio that shared a name with a Prince song as well as the name of his recording label.
Designed by a young architect, the compound was an interesting blend of personal, comfortable home and a luxurious artist space complete with a recording studio and huge sound stage rehearsal area. The house was designed to reflect Prince’s personality and his serious work ethic.
It Was Supposed to be a Commercial Recording Facility
Initially, the concept for Paisley Park was to be a commercial recording facility for the record label Prince owned, also named Paisley Park. Multiple notable artists recorded at least one track at the studio, and Prince produced the artists on his label at the facility.
In 1994, during a feud with Warner Brother Records, Warner Brothers ended their distribution deal for Paisley Park albums, effectively shutting down Prince’s studio. After the record label’s failure, Prince continued living in Paisley Park and produced his own music from home.
The Property Is Massive
While it may look relatively modest from the outside, Paisley Park is an enormous complex! With over 55,000 square feet, it’s basically the size of a large grocery store. It’s located on a large acreage in Chanhassen, Minnesota, a suburb of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.
The home includes everything Prince needed for his magnificent lifestyle, such as a luxurious recording studio, a gigantic sound stage and rehearsal area, and offices for his old record label Paisley Park which has since closed down.
A $10,000,000 Mansion
$10 million may seem like a hefty price for a vast complex nowadays, but in 1983, it was much more costly, even with the relatively low construction costs in Minnesota in comparison with somewhere like Los Angeles or New York City.
In today’s currency, the construction would cost almost $25 million – and that would be considered a bargain given the low cost of construction in Minnesota. Most of the money probably went into the impressive professional recording studio. Furthermore, every single room was wired with surround sound.
Paisley Parks Is in His Hometown
Chanhassen, Minnesota, is a pretty random suburb of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. It’s a tiny suburb in Carver Country, outside the Hennepin-Ramsey center of the Twin Cities, and has a tiny population. Even today, the suburb only has about 23,000 residents.
In his heyday, Prince could have built a home and resided literally anywhere he wished. But he had a place in his heart from his stomping grounds of Minneapolis which kept him in the Twin Cities metropolis. Chanhassen is also famous for being the home of the Temple of Eck, the subject of a religion discovered by Paul Twitchell in 1965.
An Ordinary Exterior
It can be pretty tricky to tell the difference between Paisley Park and several 1980 commercial complexes – at least from the outside. The home was constructed with glass and metal squares and looked like something out of a Minecraft build. While the building is usually covered with bright purple lights at night, during the day, it could easily blend into any suburban office park.
The only hint that something more unusual resides within are the glass pyramids that provide pops of eccentric to the otherwise basic exterior. However, once you pass the front door, it becomes abundantly clear that you’re not in Kansas anymore (or, in this case, Chanhassen, Minnesota).
A Giant Sound Stage
While it may seem extremely extravagant to us mortals, it actually makes a lot of sense for a professional musician to have a fully functional sound stage at hand for rehearsing and trying out new ideas. I mean, he had to practice for those elaborate stage tours somewhere.
The 12,000 square foot soundstage also occasionally doubled as an area to host lavish parties thrown by the extravagant and talented musician. These days, you can rent out the sound stage for private events like weddings and parties to give guests a touch of Prince’s magic.
So Many Beds!
Prince had a reputation of being a bit difficult to work with. The singer reportedly had extremely high demands and an intense schedule. The artist had an insatiable need to create, and you could call him a workaholic. In fact, he would often separate himself from those who didn’t work as tirelessly as him.
It is hardly surprising then that Paisley Park is filled with beds. The complex was designed in such a way that Prince could wake up in the middle of the night to record a new song or rehearse a new set and then find a comfy bed to nap in before his next jam session.
Prince Loved the “Twin Cities”
Prince was born and raised in Minneapolis and sometimes referenced the area in his songs. In fact, a character in Purple Rain attempts to purify herself in Lake Minnetonka’s waters, a popular tourist attraction in his hometown. His endless love for Minneapolis is why Prince chose to build Paisley Park there.
Thanks to his fame and fortune, Prince truly could have lived anywhere in the world, so it is incredibly endearing that he chose the unassuming suburb in the bland and simple metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
He Was Fascinated With Pyramids
The one exterior hint of the glamourous luxury that lies within Paisley Park’s giant complex is the handful of glass pyramids dispersed throughout the roof of the building to allow sunlight in. Apparently, Prince was a huge fan of pyramids and ancient Egyptian history, so he decided to include some.
Upon his death, Prince’s bookshelf included numerous books on ancient Egyptian mythology, history, and lore, providing more clarity on why the strange glass pyramids were included in the otherwise dull construction.
The Interior Was Famously a Secret
Prince was known to be a notoriously private person. He didn’t often speak about his personal or romantic life. Even after he reportedly lost a child, he downplayed the question on Oprah and completely changed the topic of conversation.
During Prince’s lifetime, those admitted to Paisley Park never said a word about what they saw inside. Reportedly, guests were asked to surrender their phones as well as other recording devices during their stay at the iconic home and were requested not to blab about the reclusive artist’s home/recording studio.
A 23-Year-Old Designed Paisley Park
Imagine being a 23-year-old unknown architect just beginning your professional career and being contracted by the superstar to design a $10 million project that included non-traditional items like a 12,000 square foot sound stage and professional-grade recording studio. At the height of his stardom, Prince hired the aspiring architect.
I know it sounds unlikely, but Prince approached Bret Theony. To make things a little more challenging, Prince didn’t know how to read blueprints and had no interest in learning, so Theony had to bring architectural models from California to Minnesota for his review and approval.
He Even Had Doves at the Entrance
For a man whose greatest hits include a track entitled “When Doves Cry,” it only makes sense that his palatial home includes a couple of pet doves. The artist kept two doves, Majesty and Divinity, at the entrance of Paisley Park.
Prince’s sister Tyka explained that the two doves stopped cooing after the artist died. They only started singing again when Prince’s music was played somewhere in the area. Majesty, the male dove of the duo, has passed away since Prince’s death.
There Is a Private Nightclub in Paisley Park
The NPG music club was a private nightclub venue within Paisley Park! Yep, it was a club too, which allowed concertgoers to get an up-close, intimate experience of the artist’s music and stage presence. It sounds like a necessity for all musicians!
The club got its name from Prince’s band, the New Power Generation, which was also the name of Prince’s website back in the mid-2000s. Now, the music club operates as a private venue for events and allows guests to recapture some of the Prince magic in an intimate venue.
The Unreleased Documentary
Kevin Smith, the noteworthy filmmaker behind movies like Clerks and the Jay and Silent Bob franchise, worked very closely with Prince and filmed a documentary about his life in Paisley Park – but it was never released. After Prince died, Smith shared the strange experience of working on the film at the singer’s request.
After becoming a Jehovah’s Witness, Prince wanted to release an album focused on faith and titled The Rainbow Children. He asked Smith to film a documentary about religion and the reaction to the album. Smith was not paid, however. After just one week of filming, he was kicked out of Paisley Park without even a goodbye.
There Is a Galaxy Room!
Prince was an extremely spiritual and, eventually, a religious man. Part of his spirituality was having a galaxy room installed at Paisley Park for the singer to meditate in and just relax. In true ‘80s fashion, the room includes a light set-up that casts galaxy-like bright lights on the walls.
The place is also equipped with appealing asymmetrical furniture, purple ceiling lights, and various instruments that keep up the creative vibe. Also, on-trend for its construction era, there are those cool curved walls and recessed ceilings.
The Knowledge Room
Prince was largely famed for his lusty and pretty erotic songs and performances. In 2001, the singer decided to convert to a famously strict and austere religion, Jehovah’s Witnesses. Larry Graham, the bassist of Sly and Family Stone, studied for years with Prince before finally converting the famous singer.
The devout practitioner dedicated an entire room in his home, the knowledge room, to his religion. But does that come as a surprise? I mean, he did participate in evangelism as part of his faith’s commitment to witnessing. If he spends his time preaching the gospel, a knowledge room seems just as important as a recording studio.
Graceland Holdings Took Over the Property
Graceland was the famous house-turned museum that belonged to singer Elvis Presley. When Prince passed away, many wondered what would happen to the notoriously reclusive singer’s home. His wishes were unspecified, but his family gave the blessing to turn over the operations of Paisley Park to Graceland Holdings – the company that operates Elvis’s former home.
Given Graceland’s nature, it is no surprise that Paisley Park is now open to the public. There are tours and even private rentals for weddings and other events. However, recording devices are still not permitted, and the living quarters upstairs are off-limits.
It Could Have Been a Restaurant
One of the more unique features of the Paisley Park compound is the bizarre, rounded dome outbuilding just off the main compound. Looking almost like a gigantic igloo, the building is a covered parking garage as well as a storage area.
Because of his insanely private nature, rumors continue to swirl about the nature of the outbuilding. For a time, it was widely believed that the building was where Prince actually lived. Others thought it was meant to be a restaurant. I guess we’ll never know for sure.
Kesha Snuck In
One of the stranger events in Prince’s life filled with bizarre antics is the time Kesha trespassed onto Paisley Park. She just wanted to deliver a demo tape. During an interview with Jimmy Fallon, the young songstress said that she paid a gardener to let her in, and she saw Prince sitting down, playing the guitar.
She said that Prince didn’t say a word to her. She just put the CD on the table and left the room before being thrown out by a security guard. Kesha went on to explain that regardless of her later fame, she had fond memories of sneaking into the iconic home.
Prince’s Ashes Remain in the Home
Prince loved Paisley Park. It was his home for three decades, and his ashes now lie in a miniature replica of the building, mounted within the house itself. In addition to the musician’s remains, it also contains a model of his famous purple Yamaha piano.
As you might imagine, the model also lights up with purple lights that you can see during a tour of the facility. The unique urn was 3D printed by a company specializing in customized urns and other vessels for cremated remains. Prince’s sister, Tyka, partnered up with Foreverence to create the one-of-a-kind urn.
A Legendary Ping Pong Game
What could possibly be more iconic than two of music’s biggest legends, Prince and Michael Jackson, doing something as ordinary as playing ping pong. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during that legendary match-up.
Not only did Prince beat Michael, but he reportedly went so far as to taunt him for his ping pong skills. Despite his rather slender frame, Prince was apparently excellent at ping-pong as well as basketball. The superstar was extremely competitive at both.
Prince Loved Playing Basketball
If you were a fan of the Chappelle Show skits that included a trash-talking Prince playing basketball, you might wonder where that concept came from. Well, as it turns out, the inspiration came from Prince’s behavior and real-life personality.
As shown by his trash-talking Michael Jackson during a friendly game of ping-pong, Prince was very competitive. Not only did Prince possess some basketball talent, but he also had an indoor court at Paisley Park and played quite often. As a former high school basketball player, I wish I had grown up at Paisley Park.
Love Symbol #2
There was a phase when he avoided the name Prince. Instead, he decided to call himself “Love Symbol #2.” Many fans commonly referred to the singer as “the artist formerly known as Prince.”
The stylized, unique Love Symbol #2 became immortalized during a Paisley Park renovation. The symbol was literally cemented into the flooring of the entry foyer. The emblem included the Venus and Mars gender symbols and is tiled in black on the white floor. It’s a true tribute to an exceptionally memorable and creative time in the singer’s career.
Purple Is a Running Theme in the House
Prince is widely associated with the color purple. Aside from his song Purple Rain, Prince also often wore loud, flamboyant outfits in various shades of purple. He commissioned a famous purple Yamaha custom-made piano.
Purple is also a running theme throughout Paisley Park, from the exterior lights that make the whole compound glow purple at night to the purple furniture and accent running through the home. Many of his iconic purple outfits are on display. You’ll certainly notice the purple furniture and décor appear throughout the space, especially in velvet fabrics.
The Inside Can Be Disorienting
Because of his love of privacy and desire to make a truly well-insulated and professional recording studio environment, Paisley Park has very few windows. Most of the inside is apparently quite disorienting; there is no sunlight or even external landmarks to orient one’s sense of direction.
In a cave-like experience, the complex is filled with hallways that lead to large, lush rooms with common visual elements that can make a person feel lost. For someone who truly valued privacy, this disorienting effect was just another way to help maintain his privacy. It’s hard to tell secrets about such a confusing house.
Every Room Is Wired for Sound
What could be more heavenly than having every room in your house wired for high-definition sound? It’s an easy investment for the dedicated musician. I mean, with a $10 million price tag, surround sound is just a small feature of Paisley Park.
No matter where he was in his home, he could put on some high-quality audio or listen to his own music. Whatever inspired him at whatever moment. We mentioned how his pet doves reportedly stopped chirping after his death and only started singing again when they heard Prince’s music over the speakers.
Take a Tour of Paisley Park
Suppose you happen to end up near Chanhassen, Minnesota. If that’s the case, you can now take a tour of Prince’s Paisley Park yourself! Well, the publicly viewable parts. Thanks to the work of Graceland Holdings, the managers of Elvis’s famous former home.
You can get yourself a general admission ticket for just $38.50. You can view the main floor of the complex, including the sound stage and private NPG music club where Prince used to host those small and incredibly intimate concerts. The tour is about 70 minutes long, so you’ll probably see a great deal of the lavish home. If you have a little extra cash, you can splurge on VIP tickets for some fun perks!
Prince’s Living Quarters Are Banned
In a fitting tribute to the notoriously reclusive and private singer, there are still parts of Paisley Parks that are completely off-limits to the media and to ticket-buying visitors. He originally created the main floor as a commercial recording studio.
Now, the view is widely available for anyone with an admission ticket. However, the area upstairs where Prince once lived remains a secret. It’s actually surprising that Prince’s family gave access to the Graceland Holdings, given how secretive the star was. But the tours are supposedly very respectful of his legacy and desire for privacy.
Prince’s Incredible Wardrobe
Some of Prince’s iconic, custom-made stage costumes are on display on mannequins in Paisley Park. I can picture it now: his sparkling bell-bottom pants, suede boots, and ruffled shirt – all in flaming cherry red! No one but him could pull that off.
Among other outfits with historical significance, let’s take the long purple coat from Purple Rain, for example. More of Prince’s clothes and accessories are wrapped in special tissue paper and packed away with their original sketches. There was even a mannequin made in Prince’s size because the singer refused to do fittings.
Apparently, Prince Was a Hoarder
After Prince died, archivists found handwritten notebooks, scribbles on the backs of envelopes, and scraps of paper notes from his career, such as the lyrics from his first album or his movie Purple Rain. They also found his Walkman cassette player, which he used to record himself. Also, I can’t believe I’m old enough to know what a Walkman is.
Every pair of shoes he owned had a three-inch heel. This includes sneakers and flip-flops. He also had entire suitcases dedicated to makeup, which comes as absolutely no surprise. He was certainly an extravagant character.
But No Casual Clothes
Prince also made sure that every room in Paisley Park included candles in every shape, size, and smell. I’m with Prince on this one; scented candles are very important. In his basement, they discovered more than 120 guitars, and some of them didn’t even work. All that without mentioning the underground bank vault of music he left behind.
There is one thing Prince didn’t own, though: leisurewear. “Prince didn’t seem to have any at-home wear,” Marchese told The Times. “Prince was Prince.” As comfy as pajamas are, I don’t think this comes as much of a surprise to anyone.
His Underground Music Vault
As we just mentioned, one of the most incredible things Prince left behind was an underground bank vault of music. He didn’t want to give the recording companies some of his best work, as he mentioned in an interview, so he saved it for himself.
When it was last checked, the vault consisted of 385 unreleased, finished recordings. The safe is locked in a trophy room with Prince’s awards, gold records, Grammys, and an Oscar! The floor is covered with flower petals while scarves hang from the ceiling.
Prince’s Decade-Spanning, Award-Winning Career
Prince was nominated for an astonishing 38 Grammy Awards throughout his career, including the 2017 nomination. Out of those, he won seven. 1985 was a lucky year for the singer as he took home three awards.
Two were for Purple Rain, of course, but the third was for the Best R&B song, “I Feel For You.” He won again two years later, but then, it would be another 18 years before winning his next Grammy. In 2008, his album “1999” was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame. Purple Rain was added to that list in 2011, and in 2017, Sign of the Times became the latest addition.
Prince Was a Ladies’ Man
When she was just 16 years old, Mayte Garcia met Prince. She managed to sneak his people a video of her dancing, and Prince hired her to work as a dancer. When she turned 19, they mixed business with pleasure. After a whirlwind romance, the couple got married on Valentine’s Day in 1996.
That October, they had a son together, but he tragically passed away six days later. The couple split up in 2000. In 2001, Prince married Manuela Testolini, but they got divorced in 2006. Then he began dating Bria Valente until 2008, but they continued to record music together even after the break-up.
Paisley Park Is Expensive!
Prince’s estate is currently valued between an astonishing $200-$300 million, but despite his massive success and wealth, the superstar didn’t leave a will behind. Not leaving a will can cause a lot of family issues.
Because of the situation, his heirs were left struggling to settle his estate after his untimely demise. Current estimates on the legal bills are approximately $10 million, while taxes are estimated to be about 40% for the federal government and another 16% for state taxes.
Major Stars Used the Paisley Park Studio
At Paisley Park, there are two 48-track recording studios, a 24-track studio, a twelve-thousand-foot soundstage, a rehearsal hall, a dance hall, editing studios, and a bunch of offices, making it the perfect place for a recording artist to live.
The studios offer a range of multimedia production suites. Many notable musicians took advantage of Paisley Park’s significant resources – names you’ll definitely recognize, including James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Aretha Franklin, Kool, and the Gang, Patti LaBelle, and of course, Prince himself.
Paisley Park’s Domain Name
Paisley Park Enterprises had to submit a complaint to the National Arbitration Forum in December 2004 about the domain name “paisleyparkstudios.com.” Network Solutions Inc. had registered the domain name in 2003 but hadn’t used it since. Therefore, the reviewer panel concluded that it was evidence of bad faith registration.
But did they actually need to use the name to register? Either way, this didn’t last long. By February 2005, the domain name was transferred back to Paisley Park Enterprises – as it should be!
Prince Was Released From Warner Brothers
When he was at the ripe age of 18 years old, Prince signed a contract with Warner Brothers that required him to come out with an album every eighteen months. He felt like the requirement stunted his creativity since he “could release a record every seven months.”
In 1996, eighteen years after initially signing the record deal, Prince was finally released from the label, but not until he protested. He would write things like “SLAVE” on his cheek during concerts and changing his name to a symbol known as “Love Symbol #2,” originating his other nickname, “the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” But his antics worked.
Prince Had Multiple Alter-Egos
During an interview with Oprah, Prince expressed how he had “another person” inside him that created music under various aliases. Alexander Nevermind is the identity he used to write songs for artists outside of Minneapolis, like Sheena Easton’s “Sugar Walls.”
Camille, otherwise known as Prince’s most famous alter-ego, can be heard on vocals in songs like “U Got the Look,” “Housequake,” and “If I Was Your Girlfriend.” Other alter-egos include Jamie Starr, Christopher, Joey Coco, Tora Tora, and Gemini. There are likely a few more we don’t know about.