Artists of the caliber of Prince only come a few times in a life time. He’s a part of that cohort of 80’s stars, like Michael Jackson and Madonna, who have had a significant impact on modern American culture and have become global brands. But Prince was different.

Prince was a true musician. Over the past few decades we’ve seen a number of recording artists whose musical talents have been lost behind gimmicks, antics and personal shortcomings. We often forget Lady Gaga is a talented pianist and has an excellent, almost operatic, voice. We often forget Justin Beiber is a talented self-taught drummer, guitarist,and pianist; some would say he was a child prodigy, picking up these instruments at 2 years old. Although Prince wore loud clothing and had a unique way of expressing himself, you never got the impression he was trying to be something he wasn’t and you never forgot that he was one of the most talented guitarists on the planet. His musical talents were always front and centre.

Here are some lessons that we learned from Prince’s life and career:

1. Be free to be yourself: Whether it was through his clothing and physical appearance, or his public declarations of his faith, Prince was comfortable in his own skin. There was a sense of exploration and discovery about him. You can tell he was on a journey through out the 80’s and 90’s, but eventually found his true north.

2. Stand up for what you believe in and speak your mind: Prince wasn’t afraid of standing up for what he believed in. As mentioned before, he was vocal about his faith and never shied away from sharing his opinions, whether they were controversial or not.

“It’s fun being in Islamic countries, to know there’s only one religion. There’s order. You wear a burqa. There’s no choice. People are happy with that.” Prince

3. Don’t lose yourself or forget where you come from: Until the end, Prince still lived in Minnesota; he never forgot where home was. He epitomized American contemporary culture, but at the same time was so disconnected from it. He even spent time living in Canada. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Prince’s life and career were void of major controversy, which means he was one of those rare artists who didn’t need it to be relevant.

Prince is a legend and the living definition of a Shifter. He lived life his way, left his mark on culture, and used his talents and influence to serve others. RIP, Prince.