How The King of Funk – Prince! Got Fashion in Toronto !


Prince was in town in Toronto. I needed to see him live. I had never seen him perform live. Each time an opportunity came up I could not make it. I was on my bicycle, needing a desperate fix of caffeine. It was Thanksgiving weekend in the United States and everyone who I knew who could get me to the show was on holidays. I was not about to disturb anyone over Prince, Welcome2Canada, not when they are with families. I know how big Thanksgiving is in the United States, hell, one of my director friends Gurinder Chadha discovered at the Toronto International Film Festival years ago even made a film about it, Thanksgiving Weekend. I was just gonna go with the flow. An Idea, thumped into my brain as if Thor himself had hammered it in. My neural senses went on full alert. No I was not going to go to Clafouti to get my cafe first. I was going to go see two ladies, at Magpie fashion and she what they had that Prince or Andy Allo could rock on stage. I had my weapon of choice that would allow me to distribute my findings to the world. I had my iPhone. My office.

Walking into Magpie, the energy flowing through me was at new heights. I was playing what Mark Zuckerberg calls the hacking game. You are constantly evolving your plan, your path, as things emerge, you adjust, you experiment.

Cathy and Angela, partners, owners and designers of Magpie on Toronto’s Queen Street West, were busy doing what they do, designing and stitching. Both dressed in black, looked at me and Angela with her high energy greeted me with, “hello Timothy”, while Cathy calmly smiled her way of saying hello. I explained to the girls I was on a mission and I had this idea why don’t they give a shout-out to Prince, show him a few things that he or Andy Allo could wear, I am headed over to Air Canada building, and perhaps I can show it to him, (if I run into him), nevertheless I was going to YouTube it. Quickly the girls assembled a rolling rack, and I was recording the result you can watch here.

Having beamed the video onto YouTube while having my coffee, it was time to get back on the bike and negotiate the streets of Toronto, pot holes, tram tracks, taxi’s and within a matter of time I was at Air Canada Center at the security entrance. I chatted with a few security people various people came to talk to me, but no one really could help. A car pulled up. It was at this time the security told me if anyone could help me it was that man. That man was Sammy Wong.
Sammy Wong and and I talked he looked at a few emails that I had sent to some people in Los Angeles, that had come back with a respond, ‘on holidays will not be picking up emails’. I explained to Sammy, that I was not going to call anyone on the cell phone on a long weekend.
In the conversation finding out that Sammy had been a photographer on tour with the Rolling Stones, I knew the Rolling Stones, and Sammy said “what do you need”, “tickets”, I told him. Sammy took my business card, took out his iPhone, started tapping the keys on his screen, looked at me and said, “they will be at the will call window”. I was going to see my first live performance of Prince in my hometown to which I had returned from Los Angeles, knowing virtually no-one. The show, seven encores later, was out of this world.

A day later, I was again riding my bike having stopped for a coffee at another cafe. My cell phone rang, it was the girls of Magpie (correction it was Angela), “Prince’s assistant called she told us he saw your video, and wants us to send clothes to him in Montreal for the show”, “You’re screwing with me right?”, I said. Angela let me know it was for real. I jumped on my bike and raced over.

Arriving at the Magpie, (magical kingdom) as I like to call it, Angela gave me the number of Prince’s, assistant to call. Angela had already told Prince’s assistant about me, and how I know various bands. I called, and Prince’s assistant and I spoke, no this was no prank, it was real, she told me Prince saw the video, and if I could bring up some cloths to Montreal for Prince, and Andy Allo, she gave me the information where to take them, we exchanged contact information. I was going to personally transport them for Prince.

After the Montreal show, I was sitting with friends at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, bar drinking wine, Prince, Andy Allo, and his assistant were off to the after-party jamming session. The iPhone sitting on the bar, rang, I apologized to my friends, told them I was working. The voice on the other end was that of Prince’s assistant, “Tim, can you text me the telephone number of your designer friends, Prince loves everything, he wants to call them personally”.

This my friends is a story of magic, of going with the flow, of the hacking game of experimentation that through social media with social interaction can lead to potentially, unleashing the forces that create magic in this world.

Angela and Cathy of Magpie, ended up designing for Andy Allo, who now is out performing in Chicago her ‘Superconductor’album produced by Prince as well as the King himself, the master of funk, Prince.

These are the things that happen in life that makes it all worthwhile.

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‘Superconductor’ Andy Allo’s Magic Could Have Been At TIFF2012

So…. last weekend I hung out my friend Prince and he introduced me to the beautiful songbird, Andy Allo. I had the honor of hearing songs from her new album “Superconductor” produced by Prince. After 8 bars of the first song, “People Pleaser” which features the legendary Maceo Parker and my New Orleans brother Trombone Shorty, I realized I had stopped breathing for a minute.(laughing) That track was so funky my neck hurt afterwards from bobbing so hard.As I listened to more songs it began to hit me that I could not take this home and I began to beg for an advance copy.(laughing)Nothing worked so I have to wait like everyone else. Andy’s songwriting is refreshing and so needed in music. Her voice sweet, sultry with an edge. Vocally she does just enough gently gliding through melodies and her lyrics say it all. Her heart is all over her guitar. I can hear where Prince enhanced what’s already there.This collaboration is divine. The musicianship on this project reminds me why I fell in love with music. September 20th “Superconductor

-Ledisi Anibade Young

I consider myself very fortunate to be blessed by the magical powers of the universe that bestow upon me the talents of so many, especially but not limited to music. Music, those notes, riffs and lyrics that blend like a fine  rich tapestry in tone.

To watch Andy Allo play that guitar on stage with Prince in the Welcome to Canada tour was altogether one of the highlights of 2011. The magic was ever present on stage.

Prince and Andy Allo had some of their cloth’s designed by my designer friends in Toronto and Magpie located in the vortex of magic on Queen Street West. Andy Allo herself came in one day and cleaned out the story before retiring to the sanctuary of the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Andy Allo did not tour with Price on his Welcome to Australia Tour as she was working on her album. So what did I do? I picked up the phone called her attorney in Los Angeles and invited Andy Allo to Toronto to come and play a gig to help some of my friends who run a wonderful organization called Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF. All I can say what, (Oh yes baby, what an album launch that would have been) as the world of media and entertainment converges and changes the cultural landscape of the city of Toronto.

But alas the dates don’t work, but still if I was her manager I’d say give the world a tease in Toronto,  Andy Allo, but then again I am not her manager, no the man who produced her album has a lot of say in this and he is the master of music, the legendary Prince.

My man Prince reflect on this my brother you lived here you know it well, a song a tune can change so much and turn the lives of so many.  There is still time to come, you are invited.

Change the world through the creative power of imagination and talent of music and film.

Peace my brother and sister.


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A Princess for Prince in Purple !

Princess Diamonique has her tickets to the concert, a great concert, by an artist who has recognized women of talent and given them a shot, the master of funk, the ever talented Prince. There is one problem however. How to get to Seattle. The city in which billionaire Paul Allen the co-founder of Microsoft has a museum for the legendary guitarist Jimmy Hendrix and where now another a guitarist with riffs to twist will put on a display of his works in the magical fashion, in style, glitz, fashion fused with lighting to enhance the experience as only Prince can. This is a show not to be missed. This is not about a fan, it is however about a person who has been like so many others inspired by Prince, to challenge themselves and evolve as a singer songwriter. Princess Diamonique has demonstrated to me her tenacity to keep plugging away and it is artist’s such as her that always prevail or write those magical words that put to music could change the world or someone’s life. Something Prince know’s all too well how to do. So how did this all start. Here in her own words is her story.

One day I heard ‘When Doves Cry’ by Prince. It is safe to say I was hooked. I played the vinyl until I needed to buy a new one! But my mum was cool saying “He rocks like no other.” But then I found the album ‘Soft and Wet’ and ‘Dirty Minds.’ My mother banned Prince from the house and forbade me to listen to him. I hid all my records of Prince under my carpet under my bed from that moment on. I also crept out to attend concerts.  I was taking as many singing lessons as I secretly could and upon leaving school took evening classes for Music Production and Recording. At some point Robert Biknall was my singing teacher and Point Blank Studio’s ( then in Greenwich, London) for studio engineering.

I continued to Listen to Prince attending all concerts that came to London. But it was the Tour of 1989 in Wembley arena, 20 Silk Purple Roses that I found my passion and style for writing songs. I kept up my skills enrolling into Production Courses and Musical Theaters, Drama Classes and the like. During all this time I kept being told I would get no where and that my songs were rubbish. However I was determined to succeed and so pushed myself to continue moving forward. I was also now married and was blessed with 3 children, 2 girls and 1 boy. All of whom are all round performers and my youngest Daughter gaining additional skills as a Chef, training with Jamie Oliver. I was not prepared for the death of my husband in 2005. It was Prince’s music which helped me through. Listening to Emancipation, and the single ‘So Dark’ from the album ‘Come’ was my company for many months. Musicology was my climbing frame back if you like.

But I was still remained unnoticed until 2007 when Prince came to London with the Earth Tour for 21 Nights. By then my music was beginning to take shape and I had found a style I liked. I attended all 21 Nights, and all aftershow parties except for the VIP After Show Party as it was sold out! My experience with Prince on that last night led me to write ‘Purple Roses’ and ‘Prince.’ You see, Prince came close to the side of the stage. I had the chance to talk to him and yet I froze. The words were there in my head, I could hear them, but they just wouldn’t come out. I kicked myself to say the Least for a whole year. It was then when I had placed my music up on myspace that I was contacted by my now manager Sharon Brown of A4PA.com. Sharon had heard my music and decided she wanted me and booked me an audition. I had convinced myself however that I would be no good and so did not bother going. Then Sharon phoned me to ask where I was and didn’t take no for an answer. Promptly sending a car, I had 20 minutes to get ready. So I went, auditioned, and was taken on by A4PA. My single ‘Prince’ is her favourite one to date, of which I performed at #1 Leicester square, SOUND. I am continuing to write music and record when I can get studio time at Xcess Studios Brick Lane. They are always busy but they are the only ones I trust. Prince and his music admist an ever changing world. Prince’s songs touch you. My love and passion for Prince comes from his tenacity and his ability to stay true to himself. I continue to write to my own style, despite being told to do covers. But I prefer my own. In this business, being true to yourself is what gets you through the endless knock backs you receive before finding the right door. So don’t ever give up on your dreams.

I asked Princess Diamonique her thoughts on Andy Allo:
Andy Allo is a breath of fresh air with her music taking a well deserved place in the Music charts. Her Cameroonian Roots are definately heard within her music and is a joy to listen to.

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What’s Cooking In The Hood !

Prince and his Welcome 2 Canada Tour is winding it’s way through Canada, Gun’s and Roses’s are zigzagging through the United States, while Cold Play will blow into Paris in two days. Waiting in Toronto to catch up with Prince’s last two show’s in Vancouver what is one to do except relax, eat, drink some great wine and that was the order of the day in my old hood, where I had grown-up. It was truly like going home at Richlee Ristorante resurrected by Chef Suthan Rasa. Richlee Ristorante is not a place where you are going to find long-haired, exotic, lonely well toned women to whom everyone is darling. No this is a place, that is a cozy sophisticated, comfortably warm that invite’s locals as well those visiting for the first time as if they are family. The restaurant has a rich selection of wall to wall wine to go with a variety of dishes created by Chef Suthan Rasa. Everything is prepared by the Chef in a small kitchen, reminding one that some of the best kitchens in the world are small kitchen’s such as in Malino, Rome, Shanghai, or New York. Would Frank Sinatra have dined here? This is so Frank Sinatra, and reminded me of one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Santa Monica frequented by Bono and Edge, same style, same feel, great food, great wine, and most important of all the people at Richlee have personalities which allow you the luxury to enjoy a meal in a leisurely manner. It was good to be in the hood after many years absence yet Chef Suthan made me feel like I had never left at all.

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My Weekend With Marilyn and Prince !

My Name is Khan began this year to do things on it’s own terms, my life , my time, my way. So leaving the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth where once the man who wrote My Way for Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka also has resided I began the adventure of discovery my way. Through the streets of Old Montreal. I walked, on a sunny day crisscrossing tree lined avenues onto meandering footpaths, in search for the cappuccino. It’s never where is one going to have this cappuccino but what the people and the energy in the cafe or the restaurant that makes drinking a cappuccino at the selected destination more enjoyable. Curious about a restaurant with large windows allowing the morning shaft of light to gently pour in, I turned the corner to investigate further. A door opened and it forever changed the rhythm of my day. As in the film My Weekend with Marilyn a young mans life is changed with a meeting with Marilyn and for me this was no different, Nat King Cole, Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, wardrobe for Prince a painting of Marilyn in the gallery window all on my way to this refuge Communion. The alluring girl appeared in the door with a delicate tone, elegantly lithe with a spirit that was artful and magical stopping me in my stride. This is the magic of the accidental discovery, people and place’s. Lydie and I stood in the doorway talking and luxuriating in the sunlight yet none of my charm was successful in my attempt to get her to say a shout out to Prince, just getting a pose for a portrait was a lot of work but enjoyable. Entering Communion, I discovered it possessed all the elements I had been looking for, light, sun, flowers, wine, character to match of Lydie, great music that took you back in time of Marilyn Monroe, and a sandwich the Monte Cristo. Lydie as if by the wave of a magic wand would later introduce me to another discovery. This other discovery you will have to wait for, it was time for me to get back to Fairmont Queen Elizabeth and get ready for the madness. The adventure never stops at My Name is Khan.

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Rag’s for That Sexy MF Prince Welcome 2 Canada

As a little boy growing up I always had the protection of my grandmother E and the Queen E II not to mention that my friend the critically acclaimed director Shekhar Kapoor directed a brilliant film with a sterling cast the Oscar winner Elizabeth. So where would one go with the most valuable commodity for any live performer, the rag’s for the stage, especially for the critically fashion aware artist the iconic Prince Welcome 2 Canada show in Montreal? To the sanctuary of the Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, off-course. After all it was at the Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth that HRH. Queen Elizabeth II came prior to her visit with my grandmother, it was at the Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth that hosted the man who’s voice you will hear in the film My Week with Marilyn, the great Nat King Cole, and it was at the Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth suite 1742 that John Lennon and Yoko Ono celebrated Bed-in for Peace.

Like my grandmother and HRH Elizabeth II the two ladies the cutting edge designers of Magpie fashion house of Toronto’s hippest area Queen Street West are the most amazing women. However much was happening at Magpie fashion the day I went to pick-up the garments for Prince and his band. The ladies of Magpie fashion were busy with last minute alterations for garments being prepared for Canada’s Got Talent Show and everything at Magpie that day was so very Canadian. The rolling rack was being readied for Prince Welcome 2 Canada Tour while Kevin Hearn of the Canadian band Barenaked Ladies was considering a jacket for his show at the Great Hall on Queen Street. The garment bags where ready for the Transporter the Audi waiting to zip the valuable’s to Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth Montreal till they could be securely placed in the hands of the legendary rocker, the king of funk, the master musician Prince. It was a day of Queen, Prince and everything Canadian. The adventure never stops for My Name is Khan.

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