The letter — and the legend — live on. Suzanne Vega opened up to Us Weekly and other reporters on Wednesday, April 27, about the time when Prince — who died last Thursday, April 21, at age 57 — wrote her a letter in the ’80s to thank her for her trademark single, “Luka.”
Vega, 56, tweeted out the worn, handwritten note from Prince on Monday, April 25, and received an overwhelming response from followers. In his letter to Vega, the late “Purple Rain” legend praises his fellow artist for her 1987 single, writing: “Dearest Suzanne, Luka is the most compelling piece of music I’ve heard in a long time. There are There are no words 2 tell u all the things I feel when I hear it. I thank God 4 u, Prince.”
— Suzanne Vega (@suzyv) April 25, 2016
The iconic musician signed the letter with a heart and a daisy sprouting from the bottom of the page.
“I never spoke to him directly and I never saw him directly and I never saw him face to face,” Vega recalled to Us Weekly and reporters at the ASCAP Awards in the Loews Hotel in Hollywood on Wednesday. “[But] I knew he was a fan of the song and I really treasure that letter.”
Though she wasn’t sure why the song resonated with Prince, Vega shared her own theory on Thursday. “After listening to some of his music — especially ‘When Doves Cry’ and after seeing ‘Purple Rain’ — you know, one can imagine there was probably a lot of turbulence in his household growing up so he probably had related to it in some way.”
Vega explained what inspired the haunting 1987 single, about an abused young boy, in the first place. “There was a boy named Luka in my building,” she recalled. “He was not an abused child but I kind of took his name and used it as a point of view that I wanted to get across … so that’s where that came from.”
The letter from Prince, meanwhile, is secured and tucked away inside her home. “I [had it framed] for 15 years and then I suddenly realized that it was fading,” she shared. “So, I took it down and put it in my scrapbook … It was on my wall for so long and a part of my life for so long that I don’t remember that actual moment when I received it. But it’s a treasure and its always been a treasure.”
Vega also mourned Prince and remembered his profound impact on the industry. “He was a genius, a maverick. He was driven to put his music out in anyway possible. I admired him for his stance in keeping his own freedom against the record labels,” she shared with Us. “He kind of foresaw all of that a long time before other people did. And he was just a thrill to watch on stage. It was like waiting for a lover to come out on stage, because he was always so beautiful and he always made you wait so long. So I just have very great memories of all of the shows that I saw him at.”
The two corresponded but never connected. “This was in 1987 so we didn’t have e-mail then. I’m sure I wrote him a little note that said, ‘Thank you so much, let’s get together.’ I probably said all of that stuff but we never met in person,” she shared. However, Vega felt that she knew him based on the contents of that one letter.
“It was a really moving expression of who he was as a person. Even the paper he sent it on, it was really beautiful paper,” she said. “It’s almost as though everything he did had a special quality to it. You could see it in his handwriting and how he expressed himself in every way. [There] was a flower and sort of a little cross that was sort of crossing his signature.”
Prince died at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minnesota on April 21. It was revealed on Wednesday, April 27, that the legend died without a valid will. His autopsy was completed last Friday, April 22, and it may take weeks for the results to be released.
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