The previously unheard track Hot Summer arrives the same day that The Prince Estate has launched a new season of its Webby awarded official podcast.
The Story of Welcome 2 America takes listeners on a journey into the studios of Paisley Park and out onto the road with Prince in 2010-2011, when he recorded his political and poignant album Welcome 2 America and then archived it, choosing to focus instead on creating unparalleled live concert residencies in cities around the U.S.
In the first episode, the Minneapolis music journalist Andrea Swensson and Prince’s long-time vocalist and collaborator Shelby J. share the backstory of how the Welcome 2 America sessions began, when Prince enlisted the young bassist Tal Wilkenfeld to help him form a live trio and record a series of improvisational compositions with the drummer Chris Coleman.
Once the instrumental tracks were recorded, Shelby and her fellow NPG vocalists Liv Warfield and Elisa Fiorillo were brought into Studio A to record their harmonies, melody lines, improvised jokes, and even a rap with Prince.
Accentuated by exclusive previews of many of the Welcome 2 America tracks, the singers recount on the podcast how close they became with Prince during the sessions and how they would all get into his black Mercedes SUV after their recording sessions to listen to the new creations together.
After recording Hot Summer, Prince even took them for a drive past the beach while cranking the new tune. “All those people were outside and I’m thinking it’s broad daylight, they’re gonna see him. But we didn’t care,” Elisa Fiorillo shares on the podcast. “We had the windows rolled down and we were playing ‘Hot Summer.’ There’s nothing like driving in a car and listening to music and I think he agreed.”
Shelby J. addS: “It makes me think we’re all at the beach doing the twist, like Annette Funicello. That’s just what I feel when I hear that song. So I say it’s going be a Hot Purple Summer!”