The opening passage of Prince’s memoir The Beautiful Ones was released in its audio book form, read by co-author Dan Piepenbring.

The sequences featuring Prince’s own words are read by jazz singer Esperanza Spalding and actress Adepero Oduye, and the audiobook is available now, accompanied by a download of related archive material.

You can listen to the introduction below:

“Prince wanted to explain how he emerged as the synthesis of his parents,” Piepenbring wrote. “Their conflict lived within him. In their discord he heard a strange harmony that inspired him to create. He was full of awe and insight about his mother and father, about the way he embodied their union and disunion.

‘One of my life’s dilemmas has been looking at this,’ he told me as I sat on my floor, scribbling away. ’I like order, finality and truth. But if I’m out at a fancy dinner party or something, and the DJ puts on something funky…’ ‘You’ll have to dance,’ I said. ‘Right. Like, listen to this.’ He held the phone up to a studio monitor and played a few bars of something that sounded boisterous, brassy and earthy, like a house party from many decades ago. … ‘We need to find a word,’ he said, ‘for what funk is.’”

Producer Laura Wilson told Rolling Stone it had been an “amazing experience” to work with Spalding and Oduye, adding: “We were looking for strong women’s voices… in part because Prince himself was a powerful mentor to a number of different female musicians. … Ms. Oduye is a remarkable actress who was able capture some of the immediacy of Prince’s stories from his young adulthood. Both actors were struck by Prince’s genius, and how much he still has to teach us about music.”


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