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The 2 Words of Advice That Prince Gave Shanice That She Still Lives By

Aired on 06/30/2016 | CC tv-pg
Shanice Wilson-Knox is no novice to the music industry. In fact, she has been working as a musician since she was only 9 years old, when she was cast in a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial alongside the "Queen of Jazz" herself, Ella Fitzgerald.

Shanice hit her groove as a solo artist in the '80s and '90s, during which time she had been signed to various prestigious labels, including A&M and Motown. In 2005, however, the songstress started a label of her own. "My husband and I started our own independent label, and I just put out my own music," Shanice says, referring to her record label Imajah, a portmanteau of the names of her children, Imani and Elijah.

Competing within the music industry as an independent can be challenging, Shanice says. What has helped has stay true to her art and her label was an unforgettable interaction she once had with the rock and R&B legend Prince.

"We ran into Prince, and Prince told me, 'Stay independent,'" Shanice says.

Flex and Shanice were attending the Essence Music Festival one year, and they saw two empty chairs backstage right next to Prince. As Flex recalls, Shanice was not keen on the idea of taking the seats. "She was like, 'No, no, we can't sit next to Prince!' I'm like, 'Why not?'" Flex says.

"It was Prince! I can't sit next to Prince!" Shanice says, grinning and remembering the nervousness and excitement she felt when the couple finally did take the seats.

Flex, attempting to play it cool, pretended not to notice when he saw Prince look over at him a few times. Eventually the musician recognized Flex as a television actor and started up a casual conversation with him and Shanice. Elated, Flex gripped his wife's knee.

"I lost circulation in my knee because he was squeezing it so tight!" Shanice says, laughing.

Prince then admitted that he and his wife had been talking about Shanice the night before, a revelation that Shanice was thrilled to learn. The group talked and laughed for about an hour and a half, during which time Prince advised Shanice to always maintain her independence with her music.

"I hear Prince telling me that: 'Just hold on; stay independent,'" Shanice says. To this day, it continues to inspire her. "Prince told me to stay independent, and he did it successfully, so I know it can be done."

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