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Kiowa Trail Home Studio

Prince purchased a two-storey ranch at 9401 Kiowa Trail, Chanhassen, during late 1980. Such was Prince’s appetite to record around the clock, the property provided a larger space for his home recording studio than the property he was previously renting (between 1979 to 1981) at 680 North Arm Drive, in Orono, Minnesota, and lived at until early 1981 until the conclusion of the Dirty Mind Tour and awaiting the completion of his studio at Kiowa Trail. That his basement studio at North Arm Drive proved too small even to keep a piano, and, sat on a hilltop with views opening out to the eastern shore of Lake Riley, Minnesota, in the far outskirts of Minneapolis, the Kiowa Trail property afforded also greater seclusion. To augment his privacy even further, Prince bought its adjacent lot, #9411. So much did Prince like the area, he built his later home Paisley Park Studios a mere 3-miles distance away, within the same district. It was his idyll and safe space to spend countless hours in what was his first proper home studio setup.

If people wish I would sound like I used to sound, then it says more about them than it does me.

The property’s bland beige exterior was repainted purple and became known locally as the Purple House. Prince had the ground floor family room converted into a luxurious studio and fitted out with the 16-track console transferred from North Arm Drive. By January 1981, the studio was complete and boasted a live room and two small recording booths, plus a control room complete with a purple shag-pile carpet. The recording unit was upgraded in May 1982 to a 24-track Soundcraft 3B console – the first task for his first full-time sound technician Susan Rogers. Prince’s bedroom was likewise located on the ground floor so that the studio was close at hand, the living room was relocated upstairs where visiting band members were given bedrooms.

The first album recorded here was the debut project for The Time, during April 1981. Later that year, Prince recorded Controversy as well as albums for Vanity 6 and Apollonia 6. Prince lived at the house during the height of his Purple Rain fame, and after having recorded many of his iconic albums here either in full or in part – 1999, Purple Rain, Roadhouse Garden and the early sessions for Sign O’ The Times (then known as Dream Factory), in November 1985 he purchased larger premises, at 7141 Galpin Blvd. to accommodate a larger recording studio.

Prince had the Kiowa Trail property razed to the ground following the death of his father in 2001, but kept hold of the land up until his own death in 2016, when his estate sold the site to a local couple in 2017. All that remains of the original property is the perimeter fence and main gates – embellished with the heart and anti-nuclear symbols from the Sign O’ The Times era.

Albums recorded at Kiowa Trail

Sign O' The Times (1987)

Sign O' The Times

March 1987

Apollonia 6 (1984)

Apollonia 6

October 1984

Purple Rain (1984)

Purple Rain

June 1984

1999 (1982)

1999

October 1982

What Time Is It? (1982)

What Time Is It?

August 1982

Vanity 6 (1982)

Vanity 6

August 1982

Controversy (1981)

Controversy

November 1981

The Time (1981)

The Time

July 1981

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