Hawaii entertainers remember pop sensation Prince

Peni Dean remembers Prince (Sunrise interview)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Many are remembering Prince and how his music intersected with their lives and memories. There are some of Hawaii entertainers that have had first-hand experiences with Prince.

On Instagram, Bruno Mars posted a message given to him by Prince. It reads, "Bruno, may your only heroes be God and yourself - Peace and Be Wild."

Mars wrote in his caption, "You're one of my Heroes and no one can tell me otherwise, not even you. I'm so fortunate to have witnessed your greatness. Your music will live on forever and ever and will always have a special place in my heart. Thank You."

Peni Dean is a Hawaii recording artist who, about 10 years ago, was the lead singer of the Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning group Natural Vibrations.

In a live interview on Hawaii News Now Sunrise, he explained the story of how Prince was in the back of the room where the group was playing, felt the vibe and told his bodyguard he wanted to join the group and play on stage. The group said yes, and it not only emptied the bar of the establishment they were in, but also the one across the street as word spread.

According to Dean, It was one of the most "awesome-crazy" experiences on stage. Dean got to talk to Prince in the VIP/green room after the show and said about Prince, "What a nice guy, what a nice man; unreal, humble, down to earth, just really family-oriented, unreal."

Hawaiian artist Willie K had a deeper relationship with Prince in that the two were friends for a long time.  Prince would come to see Willie K. At one occasion over the years, Prince played in concert on Maui then brought the whole crew over to Willie's club to cruise, enjoy and play.

Prince had showed up knowing Willie K. was playing in Lahaina. Willie K. described how Prince had joined him and jammed on stage, playing every single instrument on stage during the course of one song, just switching off and jamming.

Willie called Prince "one-of-a-kind, unique, no other one like him." He added, "He crossed barriers, he broke down barriers soul and rock music, combining them both and creating his own sound.  The guy is like the Thomas Edison of funk."

Willie K played at the King Kamehameha Gold Club Thursday night and played a couple of Prince songs, including "Purple Rain" in tribute.

Prince has been an influence in the music of the world and has touched the lives of many here in Hawaii as well.

Prince died Thursday at the age of 57.

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